Tag Archives: emails

Time management or self-management?

One of our Project Managers, Ruth Bond attended the ‘Interactive Time Management Workshop’ organised by the Institute of Translating & Interpreting (ITI) earlier this month. Here is her account of how the day progressed and what she gained from it:


Are you struggling to prioritise all of the tasks that need to be done on a daily basis? Do you find yourself wishing there were more hours in the day to complete all that you need to do? I know I certainly do!


The first step is to equip yourself with the right principles to ensure effective time management. This process primarily involves organising and planning how much time is spent on specific activities. If you effectively manage your time, you’ll get more done – even when deadlines are tight and time pressures are high. The key is to work smarter rather than harder!


The workshop was hosted by Christelle Maignan, a qualified Personal Performance Coach and English-to-French translator. She provided the attendees with the above-mentioned basic principles and techniques. These included strategies for overcoming procrastination, as well as achieving a balance between personal and professional life. This is an issue that a lot of translators are finding increasingly difficult.


The workshop was a resounding success for all those who attended, motivating us all to improve how we organise our day-to-day lives. Personally, the technique that I will apply most to my project management role is ‘Eisenhower’s urgent/important principle’. This strategy is also known as ‘Stephen Covey’s four quadrants for time management’. The idea behind this concept lies in aligning tasks with energy levels during the day. In other words, when you are feeling less energetic, you should focus on the less urgent tasks.



The basic idea is to focus on the important tasks, whether they are urgent or not, as opposed to merely focusing on the urgent tasks, which is a trap which many fall into. The table below gives you some idea of how you can divide day-to-day working activities into these four quadrants. I think it’s fair to say that this is a balancing act we can all relate to!


Lastly, I thought that David Allen’s two-minute rule for managing emails may be beneficial to you all! If you can complete a task in approximately two minutes, you should do it there and then. It takes longer to organise and review the task than completing it when you first notice it. Try to avoid thinking about subsequent steps, as you can complete lots of two-minute tasks there and then.


If you have any questions about how our team of  Project Managers manage time to give you excellent service, we would be delighted to answer them. Why not email us today at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk or give us a call on +44 (0) 1252 733 999. We look forward to hearing from you!

Busted: 6 common misconceptions about finding a translation agency





Finding a translation agency that can help you to take your business global can seem overwhelming: where in the world are people going to be reading my documents? What languages do they speak? How can I know that my message is being conveyed accurately? Will the translator be able to post me my documents in time? What time is it there? What time is it here?!




Whoah there! Step away from the search engine. It doesn’t have to be difficult to find a translation partner – it’s actually quite simple! The perceived difficulties come as a result of a few common misconceptions. Today, we’d like to debunk a few that we sometimes hear from first-time translation buyers here at STB:




1. I should work with a translation agency based in the same geographical location as my company




Once upon a time, this would have been the case, but thanks to email and the internet, this is simply no longer a prerequisite. Nowadays, you can focus on finding a partner who fits your requirements best, no matter where in the world they live.




At Surrey Translation Bureau, our team of project managers are just an email or phone call away, ready and raring to take care of your translation project. They are well-equipped to do this, with a Masters degree in translation and many years’ experience in managing a whole range of translation projects.




Email and phone calls are a fantastic way to communicate, but we love meeting our clients in person too, and are always keen to do so and to learn more about what they do! We’re only an hour away from London by train, and we regularly attend trade fairs, conferences and business events across the UK, Europe and sometimes even further afield. We would be delighted to arrange a meeting and put a face to a name!




2. I need to translate documents into Chinese. I have to use a translation agency in China, right?




Not necessarily! You don’t need to work with a translation agency in the country where they speak the language you are looking to translate. In fact, it’s best to just find a partner who you can communicate well with, and let them do the heavy lifting when it comes to communicating your project to the translators. That partner might be in the country of your target audience, but they could just as easily be in your country – or neither!




Here at STB, we have an extensive, carefully developed database of translators across the globe. We cater for almost every language combination and specialisation, from aerodynamics through to zoology, and pretty much everything in between.




Many of our freelance translators live in the country where the language they translate is spoken. This means you benefit from excellent communication and customer service, while our expert, native translators handle your translations. The perfect combination!




3. I’m not sure I could work with a translation agency based in a different time zone




You can! Time zones can be confusing, but you don’t need a wall covered in clocks like a newsroom from the 80’s. As a UK-based translation agency, we run on GMT, and as such overlap with most time zones. Essentially, this means that in a working day, we can communicate with clients and translators based in other parts of the world with different time zones.




This time zone map shows just how well placed the UK is for communication across the globe. Our working day shares hours with both China and the West coast of the USA. As you move further away from the Meridian Line, this overlap moves too, making quick communication trickier.




4. I will have to send hard copies of the document I want to translate and receive hard copies of the translation back. That’s going to take days!




Only rarely; the vast majority of the projects we handle are digital documents, such as Microsoft Word or InDesign files. In an instant, we can download the files via email to give a quote. Once completed, it only takes another instant to deliver them back to you. A far cry from the days of pen, paper and post!




Of course, when clients need hard copies of documents, we can arrange for couriers to take your files wherever they need to go.




5. My project is important. I should send it to a big translation company.




Not necessarily. A smaller translation company might be a better fit for you than a huge corporation. Large translation companies have a lot of resources such as sites and employees. However, they can’t always guarantee that you’ll get the personal attention and detail that smaller, boutique agencies can offer. You might find that the guidance and expertise offered to you by a smaller agency is exactly what you need.




6. Can’t I just use an online translation app?




At your own risk! While handy for getting the gist of a sentence, machine translation still falls a long way short of professional translation. Your customers will instantly be able to tell the difference between a text handled by a professional, highly-trained native speaker and the garbled, automated output of a computer. Just search for “Google Translate fails” to find the millions of funny –  and sometimes very expensive –mistakes made by other companies. That’s not a list you want to be on!




So, finding a translation partner isn’t as difficult as all that after all! Have a read of our guide for first-time translation buyers if you’d like to learn more about ordering your first translation project, or get in touch with STB to talk through it with one of our team.




No matter where you are based, contact hello@surreytranslation.co.uk or call 01252730014 to see if we could be your go-to translation partner.