The Linguist

The Linguist 59,5 - October/November 2020

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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28 The Linguist Vol/59 No/5 2020 OPINION & COMMENT Tune into (translator) gardeners' world, as we launch a short series on how hobbies can support professional linguists The last time I attended an international translation conference, I didn't just bring business cards back to the UK. I also had a supply of vegetable and flower seeds from Italy, Romania and Serbia to unpack – gifts from fellow 'gardening translators' I'd just met. On my allotment in East Oxford, I get funny looks every time I mention Gardening Translators. "Is that a thing?" It is indeed – a worldwide community of more than 500 translators who share a passion for gardening. Set up by Anne Neto-Diamantidis following a Twitter discussion a few years ago, the Facebook group is managed by Claire Cox, a French/German>English translator who grows gorgeous flowers and knows everything there is to know about allotments. Two things triggered the gardening bug for me: buying a house with an unloved garden and taking a plot on an allotment to counterbalance the negative health impact of a busy desk job. A few months later, I became aware of the Gardening Translators group, which proved a helpful resource as I navigated my way through this new grow- your-own journey. Like many group members, I found that gardening helped me achieve the perfect work-life balance, keeping me active all year round and ensuring I got enough breaks from the computer. Given how isolating freelance work can be, it has meant being part of a network of colleagues who share my hobby. When the pandemic struck, the importance of having regular access to green spaces really hit home. In the UK, allotments remained open and were a lifeline to maintain good physical and mental health for many. Gardening helped me cope with the sudden absence of work, gave me a sense of purpose and accomplishment, and enabled me to stay positive and motivated to work on long-term plans for my business. With in-person social connections restricted, it was great to be able to network on the Gardening Translators platform and to get a sense of the impact of Covid-19 on colleagues working in other places, sectors and language combinations. Admittedly, posts were often about seed and compost shortages, as the nation was discovering the joy of growing, but it was also a space to share how the pandemic was affecting us on a personal and professional level. Encouragingly, some had not had a fall in work. Many described their allotment as "a lifesaver", while others enjoyed being able to relax from work stress and start projects they had been planning for a long time. A comment which struck me as one that most gardeners could relate to was: "We will all remember this period, and never have our gardens been so neat!" As freelancers, we are often reminded of the importance of networking. One of the lessons I've learned over time is that networking in and out of your field(s) of expertise is equally beneficial. From networking with other French linguists, I might gain peer support and an opportunity to share similar experiences. But sometimes I get more out of networking with colleagues with different profiles from me. That's where personal interests can be useful. You might not be green-fingered but if you have a hobby, make the most of it! If you play a sport or an instrument, why not check if other like-minded translators are out there. If not, you could even start your own group. And if it turns out that gardening is your thing, there's a whole bunch of Gardening Translators waiting to see pictures of your garden or allotment! All work and play AMANDINE LEPERS-THORNTON Amandine Lepers-Thornton MCIL CL is the founder of Amend in Style Translations (English <> French). TL

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