Covid-19: Online Tools to Help Translators WFH Better

Months ago, those working in an office envied the digital nomad lifestyle of flexible work hours and co-working spaces by the sea.

Today, the novel coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses to adopt new ways of working, such as encouraging employees to work from home (WFH) to abide by health precautions — resulting in a global pool of people working at home in their PJs.

Luckily for many freelance translators, social distancing is not a completely alien concept.

Photo by @pocket_rocket_barcelona

For several others who have day-time office jobs, self-isolation may feel suffocating and lonely, and can affect one’s overall mental health — whether you’re used to it or not.

However it’s important to have perspective: Working from home is a privilege and option that many can’t afford. Restaurant staff, cleaners, construction workers amongst others in affected industries do not have the luxury of working remotely, and risk their health by continuing to work in public.

A more positive approach is to make the most of what we have with available online resources to help ourselves and others in the community.

Here’s what you can do as you snuggle in to WFH:

1. Online Learning

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Doing something meaningful can help you refocus and take a break from all the anxieties and uncertainties surrounding the pandemic. Take the opportunity to improve your skills as a translator by learning something that could add value to your translation work without having to leave the house.

Online learning sites that are useful for all translators:

For Language Learning

For Upgrading Translation Skills

Jala will also be running a webinar for translators on how to build a better translation portfolio, so stay tuned to the Jala blog for more details.

Translation Podcasts

  • Globally Speaking features translation experts with advice about the translation industry.
  • Marketing Tips for Translators helps translators share tips on what helps them in their professional work.
  • Speaking of Translation is a podcast channel hosted by veteran translators and interpreters and organises live conference calls.
  • The World in Words is a podcast on everything about language — including history, culture and linguistics.
  • A Way With Words is held for an hour, with callers enquiring about languages and evolution of words, focussing more on linguistic connections.
  • Other podcasts on translation can also be found on PlayerFM.

2. Online Working Tools

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

We’ve seen memes on how meetings could have been an email — and WFH has certainly proven that. However, if an email does not suffice, there are still many free tools and services at our disposal .

  • Video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts Meet are useful for video-call and discussions.
  • Online Collaboration Tools such as Trello, Mural, Miro allow team members to manage and work together under the same project.
    Database apps like Airtable have helped many organise their projects and will be doubly useful when WFH.
  • Meanwhile, our team at Jala prefers communication tools like Slack over email, to call, collaborate and stay connected all day through chats.
  • Familiarise yourselves with translation platforms that utilise CAT tools and translation memory.
    Platforms like Jala, OmegaT and SDL Trados Studio are worth trying for professional and beginning translators. Other efficiency tools include Linguee which acts as a wonderful combination of a search engine and dictionary.
Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

There are plenty of new tools out there that continue to emerge and ease our work at home. Tech against Coronavirus is also a useful site that has curated a lovely list of digital learning and software solutions for many during this pandemic, while UNESCO has listed other helpful distance-learning solutions.

That said, if it gets overwhelming online, remember to shut off once in a while and take a break. Having enough sleep and exercise will also ensure that you get the necessary rest for your overall health and productivity.

As remote work becomes the new norm over the upcoming months, always remember to take time to care for yourself and help others around you especially in times of crisis.

Happy freelancing and working!

Written by Liani MK



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Jala is a community-powered translation platform connecting people and translations across the globe.