Freitag, 31. Januar 2014

SEPA et al.

Sorry, this post is a bit frustrated, but I just had to get this off my chest...

If you live in Europe, you surely have heard of the Single Euro Payments Area, also known as SEPA. As treasurer of the BDÜ LV Bayern, I have the "honor" of collecting the membership fees twice a year. As an association, we are required to use the SEPA process to do this from tomorrow on, meaning our wonderful office person, Ms. O., and I have been working these last months to get everything set up in time for the next collection, which is happening in two weeks.
I can understand that people are somewhat irritated with the whole thing, since they've been getting notices from everywhere about SEPA and what needs to be done, and the BDÜ is no exception. Unfortunately, there are always some members who seem to forget that all the people holding positions at the BDÜ are serving in an honorary capacity, and that includes me as well. Usually I don't mind the work, but having to remind people over and over to please get their bank data changed and checked and send in all required paperwork, and then having to justify this extra work, sometimes having to respond to less than friendly e-mails or calls.... well. Let's just say: with over 1400 members, we've had our hands full (and without Ms. O., this would have been an insurmountable task for me, so thank you!!!), even with all the reliable and cooperative members helping us.
Today, I spent several hours getting things ready for the collection - and I hope it works without problems! And there are still a few members, who have either chosen to ignore the change (and all it entails) or have dropped off the face of the earth... in any case, they cause extra work for Ms. O. and myself, so we'll have to spend more time and effort on them in order to make sure that everything regarding the membership fees is in order. More hours of work that could be reduced to look forward to....

Donnerstag, 23. Januar 2014

Stress, Stress, Stress

Eigentlich wollte ich, wie jedes Jahr um diese Zeit, diese Woche ausgiebig über den diesjährigen Neujahrsempfang des BDÜ LV Bayern berichten, der am 12. Januar wieder in München stattgefunden hat. Davon, was es leckeres zu essen gab (zum Beispiel köstlichen Gemüsestrudel, feine geräucherte Würste und deftige Schmalzbrote), wer alles dabei war (Ehrengast war Norma Keßler, die für den FIT-Kongress im August geworben hat) und was alles besprochen wurde (zum Beispiel eine bayerisch-internationale BDÜ-Band!). Oder dass ich die Ehre hatte neben dem (inzwischen nicht mehr ganz so) neuen Leiter meines alten Ausbildungsinstituts zu sitzen, mit dem ich mich hervorragend und anregend unterhalten habe. Oder davon wie ansprechend die neue alte Lokalität war. Oder, oder, oder.
Aber leider fehlen mir momentan so um die zehn Stunden am Tag, und mit meiner aufgrund der Vertretungsstunden inzwischen auf eine Teilzeitstelle angewachsenen Dozentenstelle (Notenschluss für die Zwischenzeugnisse in zwei Wochen), einem vollen Auftragsbuch (der größte Brocken ein Reiseführer), der ehrenamtlichen Tätigkeit als Schatzmeisterin des BDÜ LV Bayern (anstehende Kassenprüfung und Jahresabschluss) und diversen Fortbildungen und Konferenzen weiß ich kaum noch, wo mir der Kopf steht.
Deswegen also nur dieses kurze Lebenszeichen - aber ich glaube schon das Licht am Ende des Tunnels zu erahnen (und es ist kein Zug!), und so geht es dann doch immer noch einen Tag weiter mit wenig Schlaf und viel zu tun.

Donnerstag, 16. Januar 2014

How to protect your translator CV

The wonderful Marta Stelmaszak over at WantWords has recently blogged some excellent tips on how to protect your CV as a translator. I had written about this topic before, but a reminder/refresher never hurts, plus, she has some great points in her list I had not thought of before (e.g. Nos. 8 and 10). I'll have to revamp my CV, too, now!
So here it is, Marta's excellent list - enjoy (and apply)!
1. Research the sender

When you receive an email with a potential project or an offer of collaboration, even basic research can help you establish if it’s a genuine opportunity. Start with verifying the website, then ask your colleagues or professional circles if anybody has worked with them before. Try looking them up on all translation forums and boards. Call them, or add them on Skype. Joao Roque Dias recommends looking up the sender’s IP and running a geographical search just to be sure this person is a genuine representative of an agency. If something’s just not right, don’t send your CV.

2. Use common sense
If an offer looks suspicious, it’s better to be careful than fall for a scam. Unprofessional offers, free email accounts, too few details in a signature, too high rate or poor English (or the other language) should raise an alarm. If you’re not sure if this is a genuine offer, you can always exchange a few emails with questions before supplying the sender with your CV.

3. Keep records
Set up a simple spread sheet where you can keep records of who you’re sending your CV to, when and with which result. By doing that, you’ll not only have a better control over who has received a copy of your CV, but you’ll also be better at following up.

4. Encourage clients to contact you on skype with a webcam
As recommended by Joao Roque Dias and others, you should encourage your prospective clients to confirm each other’s identify on Skype via video chat. To do that, you should place an up-to date photo on your CV.

5. Remove personal details
As I mentioned before, don’t add your date of birth, place of birth, full address, or marital status. This is way too dangerous.

6. Include information specific to you
To protect your CV from being used by others (changing your name and surname in the headline), include bits of information specific to you that can easily be verified online, for example awards or published translations.

7. Add links to external URLs
To fight CV theft where your name and surname is replaced, include links to external URLs directly pointing to you, for example your website, published translations, articles or online mentions.

8. Time and name stamp your CV
Adding a line saying: „© Marta Stelmaszak. Sent to Sample Agency, London, 01/04/2013. Void after 01/06/2013. Not for further distribution or reproduction without consent.” (as suggested here).

9. Add a watermark
As suggested by Rose Newell and in a few other sources, you may want to add a watermark to your document, for example containing your logo. More info from Microsoft here.

10. Include an email statement
It is advisable to include a short statement along the lines of „Only the following email addresses are genuine and authorised: and I will never contact you from any other email address. If you receive an email from another address, please do contact me as it may constitute a potential scam.” You may want to add this line to your website, or as an annotation on your CV.

11. Save your CV using your name and surname
As simple as that, don’t save and send your CV as „resume” but add your name and surname to the file.

12. In Word, add your name and surname in the author box
When working on your CV, check the Properties of your document and make sure that your name and surname are added in the author box (more info).

13. Save your CV as PDF
It is now possible to convert documents into PDFs in MS Office with just a few clicks and we should be doing that with our CVs. This is the most basic form of protection. If you’ve added your name and surname in Word, the same properties will be carried over to the PDF. (more info)

14. Save your CV as a non-editable PDF
If you’re using Adobe Acrobat Pro (and if you’re not using it yet, you may want to consider investing in it), you can save your CV as a non-editable PDF and change the security settings, restricting editing and printing of your document.

15. Password-protect your CV saved in PDF
It is not a bullet-proof method, but password-protecting your CV saved in the PDF format can increase your security. You can distribute the password only to vetted recipients, for example genuine enquirers, separately from your CV. You can do that in MS Word, no need to buy Adobe Acrobat Pro.

16. Remove your CV from online platforms
Don’t make your CV easily available through online platforms or on your website (I’ve been guilty of the latter until recently). It’s better to upload another document inviting clients to contact you, or even a bold statement explaining you’ve removed your CV for security reasons (like Rose Newell does here).

17. Use brochures or leaflets online
Instead of a full CV, you can always prepare a short brochure or a leaflet and upload it instead. They will be more secure, and can even help your marketing!

18. Set viewing only but no download
You can ask your programmer to change settings on your website allowing visitors to view content, but prohibiting them from copying or downloading it.

19. If your website is WordPress-based, use protected download
WordPress users can use password-protected download of their CVs. Here’s a video explaining how it works and how to set it up.

20. Make clients aware
Raising awareness of the issue among our clients can help our efforts. If our clients know about this issue, they will be more careful and alert themselves. You may want to blog about the issue, or just add a short statement explaining the problem on your website.

Freitag, 10. Januar 2014

Entspannen – ohne schlechtes Gewissen

Und schon sind wir wieder mitten drin im neuen Jahr. Irgendwie ging es diesmal sehr schnell, und der Sprung zurück in den (Arbeits-)Alltag schien mir nach den vielen Feiertagen diesmal nicht so leicht wie sonst.
Vielleicht lag es ja daran, dass ich trotz eines bis zum Heiligabendmorgen reichenden und im neuen Jahr gleich weitergehenden Großauftrags mal wieder so richtig entspannen konnte.
Das ist in der heutigen Zeit ja gar nicht mehr so selbstverständlich wie man meinen könnte.

Abschalten, so richtig, die Arbeit Arbeit sein lassen, ausschlafen, den Computer auslassen, die spontanen Sonnenstunden im Freien genießen – das traut man sich oft gar nicht mehr, und wenn, dann nur mit einem schlechten Gewissen. Aber warum eigentlich?

Die Woche besteht ja aus einem Grund nicht nur aus Arbeitstagen (die Ausnahmen bei gewissen Jobs mal nicht mitgerechnet), und auch die Feiertage und Ferien sind nicht zum Arbeiten gedacht, sondern eben zur Erholung. Und trotzdem habe ich manchmal das Gefühl, dass viele es nicht wagen, mal loszulassen und nicht an die Arbeit zu denken. Die wartet natürlich immer, aber lasst sie doch mal warten! Weglaufen tut sie schon nicht, aber wir machen uns nur kaputt, wenn wir uns keine Chance geben auszuspannen und Luft zu holen.

Der Jahresurlaub ist ja leider oft auch nur bedingt geeignet, weil der meist so voll gestopft wird mit Aktivitäten, dass die Entspannung sich da eher in Anspannung umwandelt. Und ich kenne Kollegen, die selbst beim Strandurlaub mit der Familie das Smartphone dabei haben und immer erreichbar sind. Das mag ja in Ausnahmefällen mal nötig sein, aber die Regel sollte es m.E. nicht darstellen.

Bis jetzt ist es mir glücklicherweise noch immer gelungen im Urlaub auch wirklich "weg" zu sein. Kunden und Kollegen werden natürlich vorgewarnt, so dass ich wirklich ruhigen Gewissens das Büro zuschließen kann. Aber das zahlt sich dann auch aus!
Und selbst wenn ich nicht wegfahre, habe ich inzwischen gelernt, dass ich auch zuhause im Urlaub sein darf, und dass ein freier Tag auch wirklich Arbeits-frei sein kann - ohne schlechtes Gewissen!