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Keep organized! That seems to be mantra for all busy people but being organized is not as easy as it seems. A simple translation project log can be a big help here.
As you work, you’ll find yourself taking in other projects before you complete the one at hand. To make things worse, sometimes you’ll have to complete projects you’ve accepted later first. These things can easily mix up your schedule and make you forget what you are supposed to do. You may get confused about which projects you’re working on or which project is due when. You could search your inbox to find out, but for small projects, you can even forget that you’ve accepted the work at all. That would be disastrous.
To prevent this, you should record every single project as soon as you accept it regardless of whether they are small or large. This record is called a translation project log. Instead of various high-tech solutions promoted on the internet, I’m using a very simple log I’ve created myself. You can download the file by clicking Translation Project Log file.
I don’t fill in all the items every time. I fill in three or four items and add more detailed records if I feel it is necessary. Some items will be omitted and some may be added depending on your choice. The important thing is to record all projects once they’ve been confirmed. Then, you can start work.
If you log your jobs this way, you’ll be able to see what jobs you have all at once and decide the order they need to be worked on based on the deadline. It will also help you decide if you are able to accept new projects, because you’ll be able to see what jobs you have left. If you accept a project immediately because it’s good without considering your other jobs and due dates, you may come to face a very stressful situation down the road. Large or small, interesting or boring, it’s important to log all accepted projects as they are all important and to complete them to the best of your ability.
There are a lot of apps that can help you organize tasks in a similar way: schedule managers, time managers, etc. For me, I print out the log I created and record my projects by hand. I do so many things on the computer, but this I like to do on paper. Also, it feels really great to tick a project off or draw a red line across it when it’s done! You should try it. You will feel a satisfaction that can’t be felt when working on a computer. You’re probably using a similar log. If not, this is a very simple way to increase your concentration and prevent a disaster.
If you want to read more on how to be a better and proficient translator, check out posts in the How to Become a Translator category.