Looking back to look forwards

Yesterday, a year ago, was the final deadline for my MA final Annotated Translation Project. On Monday, I found myself back at Cardiff University – but this time, it was Henry’s turn – he participated in a Robot study for Cardiff Centre for Human Developmental Science. I sat in an observation room and couldn’t help but recall that my brother, Richard, also worked in this building when it was the CUBRIC building – before he returned to JHU… Small world!

All this has made me reminisce about the last year. I think it’s helpful to look back over the previous year before tackling goals and aspirations for the coming year. To close a chapter and turn the page by:

  • considering what went well
  • what you might change if you had the chance again
  • how you have grown, what you have learned
  • what you worked hard on.

Sometimes the effort you put in isn’t rewarded by great strides or accolades. But effort creates motion, however fast or slow. Motion creates emotion, and the emotion generated drives us forward to ensure we continue in motion. Hopefully forwards – but sometimes the motion needed is to take a few steps back, retrace steps, regroup and try a different path.

 A lot has happened over the last year. At the same time, I know we hoped that we wouldn’t still be living under restrictions due to the COVID-19 virus a year later. I have received not one, not two, but three vaccinations, yet we are still not living the life we did in 2019 before all this began. Some things will have changed forever, but I hope we can lead a more ‘normal’ life very soon.

Henry sat and tried to control a robot with simple programming. I saw his joy at varying levels of success, and frustration when things didn’t go as expected or hoped. I cannot help but see some similarities with the situation we find ourselves in. A metaphor for the last year, maybe? Celebrating the successes and initially getting frustrated before learning from the challenges.

I am also incredibly grateful that yesterday the boys went back to school. One of the reasons the launch of CAT Davis Translation was delayed last year was home learning. I have no regrets about this – I made my peace with the fact the place I needed to be was at home helping the boys as much as I could – or as much as they wanted me to! After all, they are my why!

It was not until after Easter that school resumed. Those were frustrating days, but they were also days when we tried to find the positives and worked hard to ensure that we ventured outside and got exercise as a family. We discovered many beautiful places around our village that might have remained hidden to us had we not been forced to stay within five miles of our front door. Restrictions in Wales remain tighter than in the rest of the UK.

I am thankful to Translators without Borders and UN Volunteering for providing many opportunities to translate and build my translation portfolio in those early months. The feedback I received was constructive, and I recommend both organisations to anyone starting as a freelance translator or even students wishing to pursue translation as a career.

I am also incredibly grateful to the USW Exchange for the Developing Entrepreneurial Women course. I learned so much and acquired new skills, and developed existing ones. Without this course, I would not be back working part-time at Momentum Contract Furniture Ltd and Plan Furniture Agency, nurturing my love of design and furniture. I also really enjoy working with people that I don’t live with!

I didn’t set specific goals last year – I was hesitant as I didn’t know how long in-person school would last, and the school day is still, even now, a chunk shorter than it was pre-pandemic – which affects the length of my working day for now.

However, my list of vague goals included:

  • Creating a Logo. ✔️ Another post all in itself!
  • Launching my website ✔️
  • Write a blog a month – started well – must do better this year!
  • Gaining a mix of agency and direct clients ✔️ – I have signed with several agencies and received work and have one regular direct client who provides several pieces of work every week.
  • Commit to continuing volunteering ✔️ – total volunteer words in 2021 – 53,179
  • Attend my 1st translation conference ✔️ – This year I had hoped to attend the ITI conference in person, but it is during half term, so I hope to attend virtually.
  • Upgrade Graduate Membership of ITI ✔️ – now Affiliate member. Also, a member of ITI Cymru Wales.
  • Join CIOL ✔️– now Career Affiliate of Chartered Institute of Linguists.
  • CPD ✔️– completed – hours CPD
  • Open a business bank account ✔️– a small thing but helpful for accounts!
  • Do some networking ✔️– meet translators – Laura, Rhiannon and Catherine and attend Cardiff Translators Christmas do!
  • Get a new laptop – to replace the one that seems to be powered by mice in a wheel – when there is enough money in the bank, ✔️ I am excited to have achieved this and am really enjoying a computer that is so much faster as I was wasting so much of my day waiting for the computer to have a think and say yes to whatever I wanted it to do!
  • Run 1000 miles! ✔️

I have chosen this image, to sum up 2022. Stunning, exciting, but challenging and, in places, a little slippery!

Image shows sun rising behind a distant hill, viewed from a frosty field. Image: Catherine Davis. 12.1.22

So, goals for 2022?

  • Firstly, make a plan!
  • Schedule work and social media posts and, if possible, prepare in advance!
  • Start time tracking
    • I didn’t want to do this with the old computer as I knew the results would be soul‑destroying!
    • To establish how much time I spend working in my business, what work is the most profitable (enjoyment matters too, though!), and how much time I spend working on my business – social media, marketing, admin, CPD, conferences etc.
    • Once I have more of an idea about this, I can hopefully streamline my time more effectively!
  • Commit to regular CPD – it is easy to do lots when work is quiet – but little and often is probably more effective, and it’s essential to keep learning and developing translation and business skills.
  • Continue working with current clients and gain one or two more regular direct clients.
  • Continue to commit a portion of my time to regular volunteer translation
  • Continue working at Momentum and Plan – this is helping build my knowledge within a translation specialism I would love to pursue – and it provides ‘team time’.
  • Skill-specific training – develop some of the new skills acquired this year.
  • Strive to find a balance between home and work life. I would love to achieve a zen-like balance where I feel that I have as much time to work as I want – but that all the home chores and family time receive the attention they need also!
  • Go on holiday somewhere hot – preferably a French or Spanish speaking country! Folded Hands: Light Skin Tone on Google Android 12L
  • Keep smiling, keep learning, keep working, keep running!

What are your goals for 2022? I love reading about other people’s goals as it gives me ideas of other areas I can grow in – after all life is a journey! Without wanting to wish the year away, I can’t wait to see the photo that sums up my 2022!

© CAT Davis Translation 2022

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