Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Relaxed Morning

Breakfast at a cafe

Actually, it was very unusual for me to eat breakfast at a cafe, but I really HAD TO on that day.
This photo was taken about 10 days ago, when I was almost stressed out to death. Why? Because it was just a few days before a big, huge and important deadline in our work, and we still had a lot to do then. I don't remember how much I had told you in my previous posts, but I now work for the secretariat section of local "geopark promotion committee" which is applying for a member status of a global network. The application dossier was due at the end of November, and I was translating the Japanese dossier into English.

It was a real hard work, but that was not because I had to translate some scientific sections on geology. It was indeed challenging, but exciting in a sense, with a lot of new discoveries. I didn't mind learning a lot about the great geologic value of my own hometown. But what was really terrible was that the Japanese draft went through TOO many changes until the VERY LAST MINUTE, even after my translation was sent to proofreaders. So I had to look for some additional proofreaders. It was already a patchwork job then, but as if it was not enough, in the last week before the deadline, almost all the proofreaders got sick. And STILL my colleagues were making some changes on the Japanese draft.

Meanwhile, mom came home in mid November after her several months of hospital stay. She was originally going to stay at her sister's house, but after staying there only one night, mom came back to us, saying that she wanted to help me. She had an artificial foot from the hospital for temporary use, which she didn't like very much and avoided wearing as much as possible. Now, I really appreciated her willingness to help with cooking, but I was almost yelling at her when she was about to hop around on one leg with a big pot with hot broth inside in her hands. In a sense, her presence was a stressor rather than a help, and dad was still hypochondriac -- more than ever.

So, the last Sunday in November, I was really, really on the edge and about to burst. Then I heard a voice -- an inner voice -- telling me to drive up to the top of the cape to see the beautiful, boundless sky and the ocean, and have a nice breakfast at a cozy cafe. So that's what I did.

The application dossier? It was submitted in time. I didn't have time to give it a final check, and the translation turned out to be something I cannot be proud of. It did not have terrible mistranslation or anything, but definitely had enough typos to make it look unprofessional. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! But yes, at least, we made it.

Nevertheless, I -- we are not feeling on top of the world. The submission of the application was a big challenge, which was just a beginning of forthcoming series of, endless challenges. And sometimes I can't help wondering if it was a right choice to start this whole thing in the first place....

Well, I guess I need a nice breakfast like this again this weekend. :)


K and S said...

I'm glad you are taking time out for yourself. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Good or Bad, once effort is put in, just got to put a punctuation full stop '.' THATS IT!
but while we enjoy the moments,a comma will be great or just .....
Remember to take a breather girl!
I like your STYLE.

love malaysiaelayne

Patzie said...

i can totally understand with work related. That happens to me too, never ending work...even after everything was already finalised :(

glad that you take time off to recharge your energy with good breakfast :)

RONW said...

a hearty breakfast was in order, definitely. Japanese to English translations .... you just have to see the English instructions/translation that comes with a Japanese product for assembly.

Anonymous said...

RONW, that is so true, there's plenty of non-perfect, even hard-to-decipher Japanese->English translations out there !

Obachan, I really sympathise with you. In fact was just talking about this issue with a colleague today - having to receive changes when close to the deadline. His advice was, depending on how much work he still has to do to reach the deadline, he will let others know that he will not be processing changes X days before the deadline. He will receive the changes, but no guarantee he will process it. I thought it was good advice and will use it in future when appropriate.

obachan said...

K & S;
Thanks. I'm glad that you still come to this blog and leave a kind comment every time.

Thank you so much. To be honest, I'm not aware what kind of STYLE I have, but I guess I just need to face the challenges step by step.

What really drives me nuts is that those people are not interested in improving the way they handle certain things. I hear the endless "that can't be helped" the whole time, and any suggestions from me is ignored. This kind of breakfast is indeed a great help, but I guess I need an active problem-solving as well.

I know what you mean. Those used to make me laugh. But now that I know how those kind of laughable translations are produced and myself being trapped in the cycle, it just raises my stress level rather than giving me a good laugh, honestly.

Anonymous commenter;
Thank you. It sure is a good advice. I'll see what I can do. I've got to do something -- even though people around me are thinking that replacing me with someone with a higher English proficiency would solve all the problem.

ellie said...

Love the photos of food plates and what the place you ate it looks like. I was wondering what that bread is? It's a pastery with cream filling? Could you also say in the photos what it is. Thanks for keeping up your blog during the stressful situations in your life.

Cora said...

From one translator-obachan to another: I've been working in translation for ten years now, and the worst thing is still to let the damn translation go after it is finished.
Just let it go.
You've done your work, and with all these changes it's really not your fault. Putting that much pressure on yourself will only make things worse.
For me it is like: I did the translation, whatever happens with the text now is not my problem, but that of proofreaders and editors.
I'll let you in on a trade secret against the stressing out, but I suspect you already know it:
Take time off. Regularly. I have one day off per week, I don't answer the phone, check my mail, and generally leave the house to see something else.

Debu-chan said...

Best of luck with your GeoPark application and work! I lived in Itoigawa for four years (in Niigata-ken) and they are doing the same thing with their GeoPark. I was friends with some of the local people working on it, and I know it was hard work. ^^

Badcat said...

Alway, always take time for yourself. It's not a crime, and the key to keeping hold of your sanity!

obachan said...

The bread is toasted bread, Japanese style. What looks like cream is actually butter. I am not too crazy about buttered toast lately, but I needed it that day.

Gee, it's really hard to let it go, isn't it?
But leaving the house for a while is not too difficult to do. I'll try to do it more often.

OMG! Itoigawa!! How nice to hear from someone who lived there! I know several people from Itoigawa geopark. They are so nice. :)

It IS hard to stay sane. Really. LOL

Meghan said...

Nice! Happy new year to everyone, and a great 2011!

cecilia said...

Hi, Obatchan. Happy 2011! May I ask you where you learned English and how you have kept it up? I'm not a native speaker and I have a hard time trying not to forget what I have learned. I think you write beautifully. Thanks. Take care.


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