Writing Systems of the World

This week, I’ve got a slightly different post for you. As I’ve mentioned on my Instagram, I’m fascinated by how we write languages down. This fascination is what led me to take a GCSE in Russian and learn Arabic at university because I loved the idea of ‘decoding’ a different alphabet. I found that the ‘alphabets’ (we’ll explore why that term does not apply to all languages later) were actually fairly easy to learn and wondered if I could learn more. Fast forward to last week. I just randomly posited to my husband that I would like to learn all the writing systems of the world. He laughed and said that he thought that would be very difficult and I thought ‘challenge accepted’. So I have set myself the task of learning as many writing systems as I can across my life. I already know the Latin alphabet, the Cyrillic alphabet and the Arabic abjad and last weekend, I started learning the Tifinagh abjad, which is used for the Berber languages of Northern Africa. I decided I wanted to share my journey with you all (I secretly wish someone would pick up on this and commission me to write an accessible book on writing systems haha). So you can expect more posts like this in the future!

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My Work Morning Routine

In my post on my 2021 work goals, I talked about wanting to keep up with the work routines that I implemented at the end of 2020. A few of you requested to hear about them, so I thought I would share them with you. However, I have a number of routines I follow, so I thought I’d start by introducing you to my morning routine.

Wake up
I aim to wake up at 8am every day, but in all honesty it depends on how well I’ve slept the night before.

30 minutes of ‘me time’
I always start the day with a cup of tea and 30 minutes of ‘me time’. During the winter, as it is at the moment, I sit at my desk, because I have a SAD lamp, but the rest of the year I just stay in bed. If I’m reading a particularly good book, I read for half an hour, but usually I just watch some youtube videos. I also use this time to do some pelvic floor exercises – always a good practice!

Once I’ve had my cup of tea, I head downstairs and do ten minutes of yoga. This usually includes hoovering the living room beforehand, because we have four guinea pigs who we allow to roam in the living room during the day in the winter. I just do my yoga in my pyjamas because they give me enough freedom of movement and I don’t have to bother getting changed twice.

Feed the guinea pigs and get them out

Get dressed

I make sure I eat breakfast every day. I have IBS and if I don’t eat regular meals, it makes my symptoms worse. If you want to know more about my journey with IBS, check out my lifestyle blog or my lifestyle instagram page.

Washing up
I hate doing the washing up after dinner, because I work ’til 6pm and tend to eat in front of the TV and don’t want to interrupt my downtime. So I leave it until the morning and it’s one of the first things I do. It’s such a quick and easy task and makes me feel like I’ve achieved something first thing in the day.

I try to do 5-15 minutes of meditation every day. As someone who has depression, anxiety and IBS, it’s super important for my health, both mental and physical.

30 minutes of translation
The first work task I do is to get straight into translation. This is something I recently added to my morning routine, because I found it boosted my motivation and mood to feel like I’d made a start on whatever translation task I’m working on first thing.

Regular work
I have a regular job that I do that takes about 10 minutes every day, so I get it done early in the morning.

Vocabulary practice
As a translator, it’s super important to keep up with my language practice. I use flashcards, Duolingo and memrise to practice Arabic, French and German for about half an hour every morning.

Social media
I don’t log onto my work social media until later in the morning. This helps me to avoid ending up in a social media rabbit hole. I also set a timer for five minutes for each social media I have to check to make sure I don’t spend too long replying to messages and commenting on posts.

The final thing I do in my morning routine is to check my emails. I always get back to clients within a couple of business days, but I find not having my emails on my phone and only checking them at certain times of the day stops me from getting distracted while I work.

What’s your morning routine like? I’d love to hear from you on my instagram page about how you spend your mornings, as I’m always looking to improve me routines!

Review of 2020 Work Goals

As we are fast approaching the end of the year, I thought it was high time to address how I’ve done with my work goals this year. I love setting myself goals each year, but I don’t stick rigidly to them, as my priorities can change over the year. However, they act as a guide for how I want my year to go. Without further ado, here is my review of how my work goals went this year!

  1. Earn 15k – I earned 10k in 2019 and would like to improve on this!

I’m on track to earn about £13,500 by the end of the year, with a profit of about £12k. I think this is pretty decent considering we have experienced a global pandemic this year that meant that I didn’t have any work come in for about a month. Also, mental and physical health issues have meant that my words translated per day rate has gone down, so that has affected my earning potential too.

2. Work with 5 direct clients (including an NGO) – I worked with a couple of direct clients last year but would love to expand this area of my business in 2020. I would especially love to work with an NGO because I am passionate about helping others.

I have only worked with one direct client this year, but I have worked with a number of new agency clients, which has been great. I would still love to be directly involved in International Development and may be involved in a project with an NGO next year. But I have continued to volunteer with Moroccan Children’s Trust, which has been so rewarding.

3. Write 50 blogposts & complete #ThatTranslatorCanCook – I’m on week 11 of this blogging series and would love to see it through to 52 weeks!

I ended up having to give up on #ThatTranslatorCanCook due to COVID and the effect it had on the food market in the early days. I would love to bring out some more blogs on this in the new year. I also didn’t manage 50 blogposts, because I realised that fortnightly blogposts were much more achievable.

4. Connect with 60 new people on LinkedIn – You can find me here.

I haven’t actually kept a record of this, but I now have over 700 hundred connections, so I think I probably achieved this!

5. Attend a conference – If you have any recommendations let me know.

This was impossible this year due to COVID. However, I did attend two online webinars and got a chance to chat to likeminded translators.

6. Complete Deutsche Welle German course

I think I severely underestimated how long this would actually take me. I’ve made good progress with it and have got into a routine of dedicating an hour a week to it, but I’ve set a much more attainable goal for next year (which you can read about here).

7. German learning trip? – If I have money and time and am ready, I’d love to go to Germany for two weeks and take a C1 qualifications.

This was impossible this year for two reasons. Firstly, COVID. Secondly, I am nowhere near being ready to take a C1 qualification. This is something I would like to do in the next five years.

8. Have fortnightly Arabic sessions with my Moroccan friend – I am committed to doing more CPD this year.

Again, COVID kind of put paid to this as both of our motivation for this waned. I’ve realised that speaking isn’t necessarily a priority for me right now and I am focusing on improving my ‘passive’ skills in Arabic.

9. Expand Translators in Norfolk with regular monthly sessions – If you work in the translation sector and live in Norfolk, you can join our group here.

Yet another goal that COVID made difficult…we haven’t done monthly sessions, but we have had a couple of online meetups this year.

10. Work for 5 new agencies.– I earned 10k in 2019 and would like to improve on this!

I think I worked for 3 new agencies this year, which I consider a win under the circumstances!

How did your goals for 2020 go? It’s certainly been a tough year and a lot of goals needed to be reevaluated! If you’d like to work with me in the new year, you can reach me on verity.roat@cantab.net.

2021 Work Goals

As the year is drawing to a close, I thought it was high time to set my goals for next year. I do this every year to give myself an idea of what I want to achieve in the next year, but these goals are not rigid and can be changed. So without any further ado, here are my business goals for 2021!

1. Earn 15k
Money can be such a difficult topic to talk about, although I have seen lots of translators opening up this year about fees and how much they earn. While it might not seem like a lot, I will finish this year with having earned around £13k, which is a little under what I was hoping for this year, but given we experienced a pandemic this year, I’m amazed that I managed to get it up this much. I’d like to beat this next year, but also want to be realistic!

2. Make 6 YouTube videos
I have loved watching YouTube since I was a teenager and, as someone who has been performing since the age of 7, I would love to give YouTube a go, especially as I know it can be so lucrative. However, I’ve been waiting for inspiration to hit as to what I would put in my YouTube videos. At the beginning of this year, I’d like to spend sometime planning some videos and really think about what I’d like to put online, probably relating to languages and literature.

3. Write 6 Veritea blogs
You might not know that I have a lifestyle instagram focusing on books (Veritea.blog) that I have been trying to build this year. I love reading and I would love this hobby to turn into part of my job, as a book reviewer. I’m also trying to expand my accompanying blog and would like to write more regular content next year.

4. Do one hour of voluntary work per week
I am on a committee for a charity called Moroccan Children’s Trust, who I volunteered in-country with in 2016. I love the work I do for them, but often find that I don’t make enough time to work on their projects during the week. I’d love to regularly schedule some pro bono work into my working week.

5. Stick to work routines
In the last few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with a morning work routine, lunchtime work routine and end of day work routine. They’ve really helped keep my grounded and plugging away at work and CPD and I would like to continue them into next year. If you’d like to know more about them, let me know in the comments and I’ll write a blogpost on them!

6. Make plans for doing a PhD
I’ve been harbouring a secret…*whispers* I would love to do a PhD in French literature…I think I’ve found the perfect programme and would like to get started on it part-time in the next few years, so I’d like to spend some time planning it next year.

7. Write 24 blogposts
When I started this blog, I wanted to write weekly, but work commitments haven’t allowed this. Instead, I would like to write fortnightly blogposts for 2021.

8. Finish the Deutsche Welle A1 and A2 courses
I would love to eventually add German into the rosta of languages I translate from, having studied it to ‘A’ level, but I have to admit my German is now very rusty. As such, one of my CPD goals for next year is to complete Nicos Weg on Deutsche Welle.

9. Finish Spanish textbook
I recently bought myself a Spanish textbook after becoming interested having watched Money Heist. This one is really just for fun, as I don’t see myself using Spanish in my career.

10. Finish reviewing al-Kitaab 1
It might seem very basic, but at the moment I’m working through the first textbook I used to study Arabic at university. A lot of it I have retained, but I want to make sure I have a perfect grasp of the basics before moving on.

11. Finish the book translation in the first quarter
I am currently working on a mammoth project – a 140k word novel – and it is taking longer than expected. I am hoping to finish it within the first quarter of the year to allow me time to take on other projects throughout the year.

What are your goals for 2021, either personal or work-related? I’d love to hear them in the comments! If you want to get in touch with me about translation projects, my email is verity.roat@cantab.net

Homestretch Business Goals

As we are hurtling towards the final month of 2020 (where did all the time go? Does anyone else feel like 2020 has gone by in the blink of an eye?), I thought now would be a good time to look at some homestretch goals for the last four weeks of the year. By ‘homestretch goals’, I mean goals that I can do in the homestretch of this year. I find that planning for the last little bit of the year enables me to keep on track and as I have been unwell this year and my motivation has dipped in the last couple of months, this feels even more important. So, without further ado, here are my homestretch goals for 2020!

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Tips for going into lockdown 2

This week the UK has entered into a month-long lockdown again. With a few key exceptions (i.e. schools and universities being kept open), it will be a very similar experience to March to May of this year. This may be very daunting to a lot of us, as we’d just got used to life being a bit more normal again. I think there are some things we can learn from last time around and, as a freelancer and someone with mental health issues, these are the tips that I will be following myself this time around, both professionally and personally.

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French series on Netflix

Thanks to the weird situation that is the world during a pandemic in 2020, a lot of us are spending a lot more time at home and watching a lot more television. I can confirm that this is the same for me and I have been desperately searching for new things to watch on Netflix. I was delighted to discover there is a myriad of foreign language drama on Netflix, including loads of French TV shows. As I said in my post on how to learn a language, one of the best ways to learn a language is to up your exposure by watching TV and films, listening to podcasts, etc. So if you’re looking to learn French or just fancy a change from your usual viewing, here are four French Netflix series, available on UK Netflix, that you can stream now.

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How to Learn Vocabulary

This week, I’m tackling the tricky topic of how to learn vocabulary. For a lot of language learners, memorising vocabulary is one of the most difficult and least fun aspects of learning a new language. It’s time consuming, dull and repetitive. That being said, if you do it right, you can lessen the amount of time you need to spend on it. So in this post, I would like to share some of my top tips for language learning!

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Best Way to Learn Arabic Online

As you may know, I am a tutor of French and an Arabic and French to English translator. So, it can definitely be said that I know a lot about learning languages and especially about learning Arabic. My Arabic learning journey began in 2013, when I started my BA at Cambridge University and I continue to practise my Arabic to this day. Language learning is a lifelong process and you never stop learning!

Especially during these uncertain times, you may not be in a position to pay for language lessons, access them in person or online or find a tutor. As such, I would like to share the best way to learn Arabic online for free! I have found some free resources that you can utilise for your Arabic learning journey.

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Translation FAQs

As you will probably already know, I am a translator of Arabic and French into English. You may have come across this page because you are looking for someone who can perform this service. However, you might have a few questions before you embark on your translation journey and I want to help!

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