As the pandemic has hit many people and businesses, it is no surprise it affected me as a freelance translator as well. It also gave me time to reflect on which way I wanted “my baby” a.k.a., my business, to go. So I looked at the trend of the past few years and figured I that out of the 3 specialties I had, I should keep only the specialty field that gave me the most work, that I had gained the best experience in over the years, and had the most interest in. Therefore I decided to keep only Medical translation as a specialty field. – While I will still be handling general translations such as certificates (birth certificates for immigration and other official purposes), transcripts, labels, manuals, as well as proofreading and editing, Medical translation will remain my only specialty field.
If like many people Covid 19 has forced you to start working from home, it might have taken you some time to adjust: Set up a home office if you didn’t have one yet, some just use a laptop, some require space dedicated to that. Then you had to set up a schedule that would work best for you while keeping you productive. You might have less work than usually, but if your job involves working on a computer, you nevertheless do need to take breaks from it. When you are engrossed in a project, especially if it’s time sensitive, you might be tempted to push and neglect taking breaks. I found out more than once at my expense that this didn’t help productivity, on the contrary, and of course would take a toll on my degree of fatigue and therefore on my productivity and the quality of my work – I’m a freelance translator – Taking frequent, short breaks made a huge difference for me. From taking a short walk, or simply do a few stretches, go get some juice or take a coffee break, go check on your garden, there are plenty of ways you can get away from the computer for a few minutes and come back refreshed, including short naps – I have a couch in my home office – Now we also have considerable resources online to help us take a break, such as yoga videos for example.
Here is one that is short and sweet, for yoga exercises you can do on your chair:
And I discovered this little gem the other day for a little Qi Gong to strengthen the lungs:
I also have an old elliptical machine I found in a thrift store that I installed in my office so I can still get some exercise on rainy days. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it can be just as simple as go sit on the couch with a coffee or tea and browse a magazine, go empty the dishwasher, whatever takes you away from the computer. A break for your body, but also for your eyes. And your mind.
I recently came across a couple of interesting posts on a blog called “transpanish” about the Linguistic features of Rioplatense Spanish from Buenos Aires, more specifically the use of Lunfardo slang.
One of the features I found most interesting about Lunfardo was the fact that it uses vesre, which is the reversal of the order of syllables in a word. An example was given with “café” that then becomes “feca” in Lunfardo.
-That immediately rang home to me, as in French we do have a similar form of slang called “Verlan” (reversal of “ l’envers”, which means reverse).
-The other similarity between Lunfardo and Verlan is their origin: Both slangs appeared first among the lower classes, more specifically were used by criminals as a code language.
Through reading that article and doing a little bit of research I found out that Lunfardo developed in the streets of Buenos Aires in the second half of the 19th century and had its roots in the wave of European immigration to Argentina from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s. (Post on Lexiophiles, “Behind Verlan”, Oct 24, 2009). Those immigrants came from Spain, Italy, and France. Tiens, tiens, France!
Verlan interestingly followed a similar evolution pattern:
French Verlan’s first appearance can actually be dated back to the 12th century in the book “Tristan and Iseult” Tristan used the name “Tantris” to conceal his identity. But a wider use of Verlan appeared in French prisons in the 19th century. Later on French resistants also used it as part of their code.
Since the 1980’s, Verlan has spread in usage in the French suburbs first, then also via popular singers and hip-hop music among the general population and has now become common usage in informal speech.
Here is a short video animation (in English) about Verlan and how it works, with a few examples.
To have a better idea of what Verlan sounds like, a funny video of some of the most commonly used Verlan words and expression.
An example of Lunfardo slang explained in English, with spelling and right pronunciation
Article in English about Lunfardo in transpanish blog.
And an article in English about Verlan in lexiophiles.