Podcasts for translators

by Claire Harmer

When it comes to new technology I’m a little apprehensive. When my friends and family started listening to podcasts (about 3 years ago!) I didn’t know what all the fuss was about. Now I’m hooked! What’s great about podcasts is that you can listen to them on the go – while travelling, exercising or even taking a break. When I have my lunch break I try to go out for a walk so I can get away from my computer. Recently I’ve been listening to podcasts on my walks (some translation-related and some not) to inspire and motivate me in my work. I thought it might be good to share some of them with you… so here are my favourites:


Marketing Tips for Translators


These insightful podcasts are recorded by Tess Whitty, an English>Swedish translator specialising in the marketing sector. The episodes are interviews with other successful translators, packed full of practical advice on how translators can market their services and run a successful translation business. This week, Tess celebrates the release of her 50th podcast with a recording that summarises the episodes she has released so far. Congratulations, Tess!

Speaking of Translation


Eve Bodeux and Corinne McKay have a wealth of translation experience and share tips on a variety of translation-related matters such as balancing freelancing and raising children, finding direct clients, international payment methods, finding a specialism and translation technology. I really like the laid back style of these podcasts and I’ve used loads of their tips myself. Invaluable stuff, give it a listen.


A Way with Words


These podcasts focus on language, history and culture and many of the episodes look at the etymology of words, origins of phrases, etc. Perhaps not so interesting for the general public but I know lots of linguists who find these fascinating (including myself)!

The World in Words


This podcast is presented by Patrick Cox, a language editor at PRI (Public Radio International). These podcasts are nice and short, so they’re good if you don’t have much time to spare. They are normally around 15-20 minutes long. I’d recommend the ones on Spanglish, subtitling and training for translators (apologies – I can’t include the full titles as they’re all very long!)


Stuff You Should Know


These podcasts cover a huge range of topics and you can find episodes that relate to your own translation specialisms. I like to pick out the medical and health-based ones (like ‘How stem cells work’, ‘Is Stockholm Syndrome real?’ and ‘What’s the deal with blood types?’). Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant present the show and are really down-to-earth – it’s more like listening to two people chat about a topic rather than reeling off information, which makes the episodes really easy to listen to.



Radiolab describes itself as ‘a show about curiosity’. Like Stuff You Should Know, Radiolab covers a wide variety of topics but their podcasts are a bit more unusual – full of sound bites and lots of people are involved in each podcast. They have a very unusual presenting style but worth listening to!


I hope that if you listen to any of these, they inspire and stimulate you as much as they did me. I’m thinking about downloading some podcasts to keep up with my source languages (French and Spanish), does anyone have any recommendations?! What podcasts do you like to listen to?



Last night I had a dream

by Paula Pitkethly

Following on from last week’s blog post about volunteering, I’d like to tell you about the first collaborative volunteering project that the Deep End team was recently involved in. Through a professional contact of Sandra’s, we were approached by the International Editor-in Chief of Anoche tuve un sueño Global magazine, created by Julia Higueras in 2009.

The quarterly magazine handles global current affairs with an eco-social emphasis. It is originally written in Spanish and there is a plan to publish an English version at some point in the future, so we were asked to translate a previous edition into English to be shared with potential sponsors. And what an amazing opportunity this was!

1) It enabled us to work with diverse and stimulating texts different to those we might normally deal with, exploring our creative side.

2) We worked collaboratively to discuss ideas, proofread each other’s work and learn from one another.

3) In thanks for our hard work, we were invited to the magazine’s first award ceremony, which took place in Madrid last weekend, to rub shoulders with Spanish TV personalities and international award winners and celebrate their ‘committed optimism’.

To make the most out of my first visit to Madrid, I invited a Parisian friend to the award ceremony, where I would also meet Felicity and Sandra. This is where my CPD took an interesting turn: not only did I practise speaking Spanish all weekend, I also spoke a mélange of Portuguese and French with my friend Isabel, and as it turned out, the common language between us all was not English, as you might expect, but Portuguese!

The awards ceremony took place at ‘LASEDE’, the headquarters of the Official Architects’ Association of Madrid and the ceremony was hosted by the Spanish comedian Dani Delacamara.

The award winners

Sustainable thinking award: Sonrisas de Bombay, an NGO founded in 2004 by Catalan journalist Jaume Sanllorente that develops education and health projects for children living in the Bombay slums.

Culture and performing arts award: Valentín Vallhonrat, photographer, teacher and consultant to several Spanish art centres and currently responsible for curating the University of Navarra Museum.

Science award: Miguel Martínez, philosopher and author of studies on energy sustainability, particularly in the field of natural gas, and Pilar Mateo, Doctor of Chemical Sciences, committed to the fight against diseases such as Chagas disease, dengue and malaria using cutting-edge technology.

Freedom of the press award: Caddy Adzuba, a Congolese rights campaigner and journalist whose crusade against sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo has won worldwide acclaim.

The team thoroughly enjoyed taking part in translating this particular dream, and it goes to show that sometimes volunteer projects do pay!

Paula, Sandra and Felicity at the award ceremony

Paula, Sandra and Felicity at the award ceremony

Paula at the Parque de El Retiro

Paula at the Parque de El Retiro


To volunteer or not to volunteer: pros, cons and golden rules

By Felicity Pearce

For translators and interpreters, the question of volunteering can be a difficult one. There are always many (too many?) volunteering options available, but doing it simply to give back, without any further consideration, can put us in a vulnerable position.  We need to ensure it is worthwhile for us in terms of professional experience, and that it is not something the organization should be paying for.

The best option can be to volunteer through official channels, such as UNV or Translators without Borders, which will mean the validity of the need for a volunteer will have been checked and approved already. This means you are not providing a free service for an organization that will make a profit from your service, and also ensures you will receive official recognition for your collaboration, which will look good on your CV or when applying for membership with professional bodies.

Of course, deciding to take on pro-bono projects is always at our own discretion, so if a project comes along that really appeals, in terms of experience or networking, it can be worthwhile too.

Three reasons to volunteer:

  1. The warm, fuzzy feeling. We are very privileged to have the choice to work as freelancers and in a profession we are passionate about. Volunteering for me is a way of being thankful for the fortunate circumstances that have allowed me the education and opportunities that have got me here.
  2. Fantastic experience. As a translator, it can give you the opportunity to develop your specialism(s), and usually with great communication and feedback from the organization you are working with. For interpreters, it can even include free travel to an exotic location.
  3. Networking. It also helps build a larger network, and you never know where your next referral may come from…

Three rules for volunteering:

  1. Have a strategy. Assess how much time you can afford to dedicate to it and stick to that. Think about which areas and language combinations you are looking for. Decide what sort of organizations are most appealing and focus on a few. Taking on thousands of words on various topics and in five different language combinations will be much more work and will not help you to focus on your specialisms.
  2. Communicate. One of the best parts of working pro-bono is that the receiver of your work is usually grateful for your collaboration and respectful of the professional job you are doing, so they will be open to questions and suggestions with regard to the project (more like working with direct clients than agencies, we could say). Personally, I have established some great relationships through volunteer work.
  3. Be professional. It goes without saying, but just because you are not issuing an invoice, there is no reason for volunteer work to be anything but your usual high standard. Stick to workloads that can reasonably coexist with your paid work. There can often be more room to negotiate delivery dates at the beginning of the project, as the organization may have not worked with a translator before, for example. But when the details are agreed, a deadline is a deadline.

We’d love to know more about your volunteering experiences, good and bad – please feel free to share here!

Productivity Matters

by Katharine Mears

Last week, Marie Jackson of Looking-Glass Translations featured an interview with me as part of her Great Productivity Project series. The post deals with questions such as how I manage my time and how I take advantage of the flexibility that freelancing offers, as well as discussing my biggest productivity challenge and my favourite productivity tools.

You can read the interview here, and why not share some of your own productivity tips or challenges in the comments below.