Simple tips to help you keep a positive mindset as a busy translation professional

Simple tips to help you keep a positive mindset as a busy translation professional

Ward off the stress and anxiety that comes with the pressures of being a translator with these simple tips.

There’s no question about it, the translation industry is continuing to grow – and at an astonishing pace. This swift acceleration has presented a double-edged sword to the translators who work within it; cutting both ways with a positive increase in demand for their linguistic skills, but also with the more negative increases in tightening deadlines and mounting workloads.

The sophistication of technology has played a large part in the industry’s rapid evolution. Translators are now encouraged (and often expected) to utilize productivity boosters like CAT tools and machine translation which give them the ability to produce translations faster and with less repetitive work. This dramatic saving on time means they are able to accept more translation jobs than ever before… but with more jobs comes more completion dates and more files ready for translation sitting in your inbox.

We recently took the pulse of the translation industry in our SDL Translation Technology Insights 2020  survey, and discovered that whilst 88% of freelance translators agreed that translation software helped them get their tasks done faster, 69% still felt they needed to improve their way of working to cope with the demand. Demand and pressure, deadlines and stress… the squeeze has been felt by everyone, but the good news is that the understanding and appreciation of the toll these things can take on the mind has also grown exponentially. Keeping your thoughts and rationale healthy is now considered just as important as keeping a healthy body, and below we have collected and curated some simple tips you can use straight away to help keep a positive and balanced mindset.

1. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a powerful weapon translators can use to ward off stress and anxiety as it encourages you to take a mental step back from what is currently going on and perceive it through a third-party lens. If a client has suddenly become difficult and started demanding more changes to your work than usual, or become unreliable with paying on time, our instinctive thoughts are often that it is our fault. Has our ability to translate escaped us? Are we no longer worth the price we are asking? 

Mindful thinking encourages us to look at it differently. What if it has nothing to do with us? What if this sudden change in attitude is symptomatic of an issue our client is having that is far removed from our translation work and we are just feeling the ripples of their anguish? Perhaps we could question the source of their character change in a tactful, empathetic and subtle manner? The results of this can be startling, and this is all through simply thinking about things in a different perspective. 

Pocket Mindfulness showcases 6 simple mindfulness exercises that you can do almost anywhere and at any time to help you find some much-needed calm in their popular blog here.

2. Meditate

To complement the above tip, mindfulness and meditation can often go hand in hand to create a stress-busting powerhouse. Practicing mindful meditation has proven to be an efficient method of reducing stress and anxiety, with you only having to meditate from 5 to 10 minutes every day to begin to feel the effects. 

Wear something you are comfortable in and sit yourself on a cushion or a chair (or against a wall if you need the extra back support) and allow yourself some time to unwind. Don’t worry about the stereotypical sitting cross legged and having your thumbs and index fingers touching - almost any comfortable position will suffice. 

From here-on you can practice various meditation techniques, from body scanning and energy evaluation to day and week reflection. For a breakdown of each of these specific techniques and how to perform them, take a look at this 10 Meditation Prompts That’ll Challenge You to Think Bigger article by Sujan Patel.

3. Do Yoga

Yoga is a brilliant way of connecting your mindfulness to your physicality, and its popularity has soared within the last few years. Yoga can increase your flexibility, help you build strength, improve your posture and keep your joints healthy, all while helping to reduce stress and lower your blood pressure. 

One of the main reasons for yoga’s popularity is its accessibility. No matter your age or your fitness level, there will always be yoga exercises and stretches you can perform to boost your mental and physical wellbeing – you can even do it in bed! 

There are plenty of effective ways to familiarize yourself with yoga. The Down Dog yoga app offers its users complete yoga routines tailored to their time constraints and ability level, and the SDL Desk Yoga series is comprised of short, effective yoga stretches to target the key areas of the body translators can suffer discomfort from – all whilst sat at your desk!

4. Eat well

Adopting good eating habits should never be underestimated when it comes to boosting your mental positivity and overall productivity. A healthy mind requires healthy food, and your culinary choices can also bolster different brain functionalities.

As a translator, your mind and its creativity is your most sought after asset. Your clients will want you at your creative best so make sure your diet consists of great brain boosters like fatty fish, coffee, blueberries, broccoli, nuts, oranges, eggs, green tea, and even dark chocolate! (phew) 

And to support the happiness receptors in your brain, opt for great mood-boosting foods such as red peppers, walnuts, bananas, avocado, salmon, cottage cheese and wild berries. Finally, you need to make sure that your meal times are consistent. Many of us have a tendency to skip breakfast but did you know that to keep your brain running like the well-oiled machine it should be, you should ideally eat within 30 minutes of waking up? Having an early breakfast is also better for your overall brain function, and you should try to get into a routine where you have a consistent lunch and dinner schedule too.

More and more research is showing that the key to good health and a positive mind is this “lifestyle medicine” listed above. Try implementing some of these simple tips to your daily routine and see the effect they have on your translation productivity and mental happiness. I have a feeling you won’t be disappointed! 

Looking for more stress-busting ideas? Download our 12 Life Hacks for Busy Translation Professionals ebook for some more helpful tips.