Translation and accidents

I am injured. Productivity will be down and I’m going to struggle to meet all my translation deadlines. Serious illnesses and injuries are the bane of a freelance translator’s life, as they prevent us from working and hence, from earning a living. If we’re unavailable for a long time, this loss of earning can be compounded by the loss of our clients, who may look for an able-bodied freelancer to take on their translation work. That’s why I have insurance to cover me if I’m unable to work due to illness or injury, but it only kicks off after a period of inactivity of 13 weeks. It’s not ideal, but a shorter time would mean much bigger monthly payments.
So obviously, safety was at the forefront of my mind when I got off my first chairlift and headed down the mountain, surrounded by zooming snowboarders and other human missiles. Also, I was with friends who were better skiers than me (including an Alpine guide), so I was going faster than was strictly safe to keep up with them. However, breaking a limb was such an awful prospect, from a professional as well as a personal point of view, that I concentrated fully on what I was doing and managed to survive three days of intense, fantastic skiing completely unharmed.
carrotsoup What was my downfall? My famous carrot soup. Three days of speeding down steep snowy slopes, slightly faster than I should have done considering my limited abilities, and where do I hurt myself? In my own kitchen. As well as 600 g of carrots, I managed to hack into the end of my left index and now I’m having to type with a finger covered in a huge plaster. It hurts (a bit) and I keep hitting two keys at the same time. The moral of the story? I’m not sure. The finger-flavoured soup was lovely though.

By | 2016-10-18T15:49:32+00:00 February 4th, 2008|Freelance Translation|13 Comments

About the Author:

I am Céline Graciet, a freelance English to French translator. Since 2003 I’ve been writing on all sorts of areas linked to translation and the life of a translator.


  1. Audrey February 4, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Tous mes encouragements et mes vœux de prompt rétablissement en ce qui concerne le contenu de l’histoire. Quant à la forme, toute mes félicitations ; le récit est mené d’une main de maître, entretenant le suspense jusqu’à la chute surprenante et si banale à la fois. Anna Gavalda a du souci à se faire…

  2. céline February 4, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Anna qui ? Dois-je la mettre sur ma liste de lecture ? D’autant que j’ai été assez d&eacuteçue par les deux romans que j’avais mis dans ma valise. Du coup, je repasse aux écrivains anglophones avec Khaled Hosseini.

  3. Fabio February 4, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Yesterday I almost got a finger impediment myself, after spending over two hours watching a carnival parade in freezing cold weather and shooting some photos ( Fortunately, my fingers soon got warmer again with the help of some alcohol. I’m sue you’ll get well, too – fingers crossed for you!

  4. Audrey February 4, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Oups, je me suis trompée de version du blog; bon je persiste et signe.
    Je parle d’Anna Gavalda qui s’est fait connaître par un recueil de nouvelles en 1999: “Je voudrais que quelqu’un m’attende quelque part”. Depuis, elle a écrit deux romans que je trouve un peu décevants par rapport à ses débuts décapants.

  5. céline February 4, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Cool photos Fabio. Carrot soup and photos of odd-looking Germans – we do live too dangerously sometimes.

  6. Corinne McKay February 4, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Thanks for your visit to my new blog; I hope to keep it going as faithfully as you have with Naked Translations! Best wishes recovering from the finger injury! Corinne McKay

  7. language hat February 5, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Ouch! Glad the soup was good at least!

  8. jean-paul February 5, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    It reminded me of one of the ingredients of a most (in)famous brew! The ingredient in question is “Finger of birth-strangled babe.”
    O ye learned ones, you will no doubt have identified the source (no, not the sauce!)

  9. John February 7, 2008 at 9:07 am

    I noticed you used the expression “kick off” in your
    latest blog entry. (Ref: That s why I have insurance to cover me if I’m unable to work due to illness or injury, but it only kicks off after a period of inactivity of 13 weeks.) In the US, it is more common to see “kicks in” rather than “kicks off” in this case. I am wondering if this is yet another difference between UK and US English. Your fan in the US, John

  10. John February 7, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Doubting my own hasty judgment, I researched further on this. Below is what I found.
    kick in
    a. to contribute one’s share, esp. in money.
    b. Slang. to die.
    c. to become operational; activate; go into effect: The air conditioning kicks in when the temperature reaches 80°F.
    kick off
    a. Football. to begin play or begin play again by a kickoff: The Giants won the toss and elected to kick off.
    b. Slang. to die.
    c. to initiate (an undertaking, meeting, etc.); begin: A rally tomorrow night will kick off the campaign.
    I hope that helps.

  11. céline February 7, 2008 at 9:22 am

    I have a fan in the US! That’s made my day. Also, thanks for pointing out that "kicks in" is indeed a lot more appropriate than "kicks off" in this context. Little mistakes like this one in an otherwise decently written post illustrate why I, as a non-native speaker of English, mustn’t translate into English.

  12. John February 13, 2008 at 6:14 am

    Dear Celine, the English on your blog is consistently better composed and more correct than the English of most native speakers I know. I dream of being as fluent in French someday, and am very happy to have your site as a learning tool. If you find yourself on this side of the Atlantic, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

  13. ray March 5, 2008 at 1:44 am

    What about using voice recognition software? It can be a big timesaver for poor typists (like me) or injured/RSI-prone ones. I find the latest Dragon Naturally Speaking (version 9.5) impressively accurate.

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