Thursday, March 09, 2006

My Typical Work Day

Today is Thursday and the week is winding down already. Less than an hour into my work day I decided to keep track of all the things I do from 9 to 5 (5:30 to be exact). Why? Well, first of all, I don't have much to do right now, although it might change any second. And then, you get a better understanding of what my job is like and how cool (or not) it is.

9:00am - Turn the computer on, log in to the Mondial server, and check my Outlook. I have only 4 e-mails this morning - not bad at all. Two of the e-mails let me know that one of the projects is going to be delayed. Another e-mail is from my new Russian translator confirming his availability for a project I sent to him yesterday. The last e-mail is from my boss, letting me know that he initiated a wire transfer to one of our overseas agencies.

9:05am - I reply to all the e-mails and contact my co-worker, Leo, to let him know about a delay in project delivery. Find out - Leo is sick and is taking a day off. Oh no!!! My typical day just turned a bit less typical. Let's hope that it's a slow day because now I'm not only getting all Leo's e-mails, but also am taking over all his projects for the day.

9:10 - I'm checking my Hotmail account. I won another ProZ challenge and earned 4 more points. I'm quickly approaching 100 points! ProZ is an on-line community of translators and interpreters. We go there sometimes to look for translators, especially for obscure languages. Also, translators use ProZ for help with difficult or unfamiliar terminology. Other translators offer their answers or comment on previously suggested answers. Then an asker gets to choose the best answer and the answerer is awarded 3-4 points (unless it's a non-profit question). Usually about 15-20 questions are posted daily in my pair (English<>Russian) and in my areas of expertise or interest. I answer a couple of them at most and comment on another 2-3.

9:35 - checking my e-mail took me a bit longer than usual since I was interrupted a couple of times by my boss. He just wanted to make sure that I was ok getting all that extra work. No biggie, I told him, at least for now. And then I checked my Army e-mail. I usually don't get anything very important or interesting there unless it's a week before my drill weekend.

9:40 - breakfast time

9:45 - back to work. First, I had to search for some English<>Albanian translators for a potential project. I found several on the ATA website and shot them an inquiry e-mail. Then I received a fax from one of our clients approving a quote we gave them yesterday for English>French translation. So I prepared a work order for one of our translators and sent the project out to her. She confirmed almost immediately - fantastic!

10:03 - our Marketing Manager, Robin, IMs me and asks to give her a call. She has a log book, hand-written in Traditional Chinese, that needs to be translated into English. She sends it to me for review. Immediately, we see several potential problems - barely readable text, uncertainty over a character count, and such. I decide to send it to our Chinese team in Canada (has to be native English speakers for an into English translation) for evaluation. Let's see what they have to say.

10:15 - two projects arrive. One is a Spanish translation and one is a German into English translation. So now I have to check both translations against the originals. Even though I don't speak either Spanish or German, I do catch errors from time to time. After the files are checked, I have to do word count and enter the billing information into our master Profit & Loss grid. Then I create invoices and send them out to the clients along with the translated files. Finally, I close the projects and take them off my task schedule.

11:14 - Eleonora stops by. She's off today and we had plans to go to the beach on my lunch break. I'm not sure if we're still going to do it since she's got a migrane headache.

11:18 - Robin sends me another project - two files are to be translated into Spanish and two - from Spanish into English. I'm going to take a look at the files, figure out who to assign them to, prepare the work orders and send them out.

11:36 - Just as I finished sending the EnglishEnglish project out, another one came in. This one is English>Chinese and requires some desk-top publishing services. Here's the problem - we're not sure if it's into Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese. So we're trying to find out.

11:47 - I got a call from дядя Гриша, Irka's father. He works for IMA, the motorcycle organization that hosts Bike Weeks in Daytona. Apparently he's right here, at the race track. Maybe he'll stop by.

12:02 - The so-called "typical" day of mine turns out anything but "typical" after all. Uncle Grisha stops by. I finish all my e-mails and a couple of work-related phone calls and we go out to lunch. Of course, it's a Bike Week in Daytona, so everything is packed with people. It takes half an hour just to get to the beach side. Fortunately, Johnny Rockets is not too busy when we get there. They have great views of the beach and probably the best milk shakes in town.

14:48 - I'm back from my very extended lunch. Tons of e-mails. First, my Russian translator needs clarifications for an on-going project. So we're contacting the client. Also, teh quotes that I requested earlier today for possible Chinese and Japanese translations came in and they don't look good. Forwarded them to our marketing manager for consideration.

15:04 - one of the projects that were completed earlier today has to be re-sent to a different person because the original contact person is at a trade show in Germany, the lucky SOB!

15:07 - received two new files from our old client, a company that makes fireplaces. Now I'm going to prepare a quote and send it out to the client for approval.

15:17 - called one of the clients to ask to send me the project files. They signed an agreement earlier today, but still haven't sent the file, duh!

15:19 - a English>French translation project is in. I'm checking it, completing the usual P&L entry and an invoice, and sending it on its way to the client. Thanks God it's a small project, not much to check!

15:25 - trying to call one of the translators (English>Japanese) to confirm that she received a project I sent her yesterday. But she's not in the office and I can't reach her on her cell phone.

15:28 - ok, seems like things have quited down a bit. So I'm just checking my Hotmail account and my military e-mail. My friend Rob dropped a line (he's chilling in his new pad in St. Pete, FL). Hope he follows the link and gets to this blog. Hey, Rob, how does it feel to read 'bout yourself? :)

15:53 - not much is going on right now. At this point, all the projects that were due today came in and were processed and sent out to the clients. So I'm using this time to add new proposals to my database.

16:00 - break time is over. Next request for a quote just came in. This one will take a while to prepare - first I have to download a huge file from the client's FTP; then I have to run the Acrobat version of the file through a program that will convert graphics into editable text. This will allow me to do a word count for the file. Only after all this prep work will I be able to put together a proposal.

16:08 - still have 25 minutes left for FTP download. I'm going to finish watching the PBS movie "The Elegant Universe" (based on Brian Green's book with the same title that deals with quantum mechanics and strings theory).

16:32 - play time is over. More work just came in. I have to e-mail one of our agencies in China and find out if they are available for a large translation and how soon can they do it.

17:33 - just finished putting together a large proposal. See my note from 16:00. Sent it out. Also, had to e-mail last-minute changes to our agency in China regarding a possible project that just got downsized big time (4000 words instead of 20000). Also, had to e-mail a French Canadian translator requesting him to translate some words that he missed in the last project.

17:35 - time to sign out and go home. Wait, I am home already! Ok, then it's time to sign out and go cook some dinner.