Subscribe via E-mail

Your email:

Our Latest Guide

On Demand Webinar

Posts by category

Follow Me

New Programs


Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Wrestling the muse: 5 creative rituals for the freelance translator


freelance translator writing ritualsDespite popular opinion, translation has much more to do with creative decisions and imaginative acts than it does swapping out Word X in one language with Word Y in another language. Creative “wordsmithing”—as opposed to mechanical word exchanging—means that you have to find a way to set your creativity in motion.  Doesn’t it?

We once read an interview with Ernest Hemingway where he was asked about mnemonic devices, ritualistic acts that set him on the creative path. Hemingway may have been at the Ambos Mundos in Havana or the Finca in San Francisco de Paula. Regardless of where he was, he would begin the creative act with the same ritual:  He’d take out seven No. 2 pencils and sharpen all of them. Only then would he write.

One of our colleagues, an agnostic without a religious bone in her body, ritualistically lights five candles every morning before she practices her forty-five minute yoga routine. When a candle burns down after several weeks, a new one replaces it. Every day she repeats the act. For her, the candle has absolutely no connection to spirituality or the yoga routine. It’s simply a habit, a ritual that sets the day and the creative act in motion.  

Regardless of what your ritual is, it should be habitual and practiced unswervingly. If you’re looking for some ideas, here are 5 suggestions to get you started.

Wrestling the muse: 5 creative rituals for the freelance translator

Write in Bed
According to Monica Ali, author of Untold Story, Edith Wharton, Winston Churchill, Mark Twain and Marcel Proust all wrote in bed. Writing, or in your case, translating, is serious business; it’s “stuff” of the mind, so writing from bed might seem a bit irreverent. But if it works, why not?

Provoke Tiny Moments of Awareness
While we were browsing the shelves in Barnes and Noble, we came across a book by Roger-Pol Droit called Astonish Yourself: 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life. It’s a playful book, but we’ve found that some of the exercises do in fact help us discover the ways in which small, ritualistic acts can become the starting point for a sort of “astonishment” that can take you out of the moment and inspire creativity. Here’s one such example, an exercise called “Empty a Word of Its Meaning”:

Make sure that you are in a place where no one can hear you. Take an ordinary object—in the past, we’ve picked up the very object that is intimidating us or hindering creativity. Now take the object in your hands and say its name. Repeat its name over and over again as you look at it. Keep going until the familiar word detaches itself and starts to become a series of strange sounds, meaningless noises that mean nothing, indicate nothing and take little form. Once this happens, you’ll notice that the object, too, has become much less startling, more crude and present. Did you notice the exact moment when the meaning dissolved, when the object became no longer something to intimidate, but a simple thing? Now go about your business creatively!

Learn to see the blank computer screen as a beautiful, clean canvas
What’s so bad about a new beginning? “Starting off with a clean slate” is one of the most frequently uttered colloquialisms around. Why not apply it to your work? Remember, the words you put on it don’t need to be perfect—especially since it’s a digital canvas that can be written on, deleted, copied, pasted, printed  and saved for later.

Go to your creative space
You may be familiar with Maya Angelou, author of I Know How the Caged Bird Sings? Here is how she describes her writing ritual:

I keep a hotel room in my town, although I have a large house. And I go there at about 5:30 in the morning, and I start working. And I don’t allow anybody to come in that room. I work on yellow pads and with ballpoint pens. I keep a Bible, a thesaurus, a dictionary, and a bottle of sherry. I stay there until midday. About once a month, the management slips a note under my door and they ask, ‘Please, Dr. Angelou, may we change the sheets? We know they must be moldy.’ But I’ve never slept there. I just go in and sit down and work.

Stop trying to be a genius and write only for X amount of time every single day
In a letter to Cecil Dawkins, author Flannery O’Connor said,

“I’m a full-time believer in writing habits…You may be able to do without them if you have genius but most of us only have talent and this is simply something that has to be assisted all the time by physical and mental habits or it dries up and blows away…Of course you have to make your habits in this conform to what you can do. I write only about two hours every day because that’s all the energy I have, but I don’t let anything interfere with those two hours, at the same time and the same place.” 

These creative rituals may not be every freelance translator's cup of tea. Just remember, it doesn’t matter what the ritual is as long as it’s something that works for you and becomes a habitual part of the translation process itself.


Everyone knows there capability, so according to that they should prepare there routine and should make sure that there is no interference in that time.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 20, 2013 4:45 AM by
I don't have writing habit but as you suggested will surely start this. And I completely agree with your opinion about "Rituals".
Posted @ Saturday, February 23, 2013 3:55 AM by moles on skin
Very deep insight! I agreed translation is creative wordsmithing. To establish yourself a successful translator, needs immense hard work and dedication.It is a creativity and perfection can be achieved with practice and patience. 
Posted @ Thursday, February 28, 2013 2:14 AM by dialouge UK
I have tried freelancing for 2 years. Its for one who gets easily absorbed into his own world. I am a social person who tends to socialize with people around.
Posted @ Tuesday, March 12, 2013 10:37 PM by personal injuy lawyer
Is there any problem with the download link that you have provided , I am getting an error while downloading it .Please forward me some other link to download the same.
Posted @ Wednesday, March 20, 2013 10:58 PM by
Can i know the advantage of hiring a freelance translator and what skills shall i check while hiring a translator.
Posted @ Thursday, March 21, 2013 11:09 PM by bjj kimono
They are cheap, quite good working.. and you should ask them to show previously works which they are did. 
And then you make a decision.
Posted @ Wednesday, March 27, 2013 6:53 AM by Lingoline
I am looking forward to take free lancing projects , your blog has been really useful for the same.
Posted @ Thursday, March 28, 2013 2:51 AM by
Excellent site I have bookmarked your site
Posted @ Wednesday, April 03, 2013 8:50 AM by
Great post, I totally agree with you! Thnx for the information!
Posted @ Wednesday, April 10, 2013 6:33 AM by Premium dissertation help
thanks a lot for the post! very interesting!..
Posted @ Wednesday, April 24, 2013 5:28 AM by
Writing in bed is not just about convenience or comfort. I think there's a psychological advantage, too. If you write in bed in the early morning (as I do occasionally) you occupy an intriguing part of consciousness, somewhere between dreaming and wakefulness.
Posted @ Friday, July 12, 2013 8:05 PM by was denkst du
Can i know the advantage of hiring a freelance translator and what skills shall i check while hiring a translator.
Posted @ Tuesday, November 26, 2013 8:44 AM by german volume training
Thank you! I am a Spanish translator myself and found your info pretty accurate!
Posted @ Sunday, December 01, 2013 11:31 AM by maggie
Thanks for reading, Maggie!
Posted @ Monday, December 02, 2013 8:30 AM by Ryan O'Rourke
I believe that there are people who are prepared to be professional translators, but i also believe, that special translating companies can do it better. I always use- vertimo biuras klaipedoje to help me with translating. and now i am really happy about their low price and high quality.
Posted @ Thursday, December 05, 2013 9:06 AM by Lukas
A creative space is the best thing you can get if you want your creativity to flourish.
Posted @ Sunday, April 27, 2014 3:12 PM by translation agency
Good. I just added your site to my favorites. I really enjoy reading your posts. Thanks!
Posted @ Tuesday, September 30, 2014 3:01 AM by Friv 5
MotoGP 2015 di 
Jadwal Liga Italia di 
Jadwal Liga Champions di 
Hasil Liga Champions di 
Hasil Liga Inggris di 
Jadwal Liga Spanyol di 
Sejarah Arsenal di 
Berita Terkini Persib Bandung di 
Berita Liga Inggris di 
Berita Liga Spanyol di 
Berita Liga Champions di 
Jadwal Manchester United di 
Berita Real Madrid di 
Jadwal ISL 2015 di 
Berita Arema Cronus di 
Berita Persebaya di 
Berita Bola Terkini di 
Berita Persipura di 
Berita Persija Jakarta di 
Berita Sriwijaya FC di 
Biografi Indra Sjafri di 
Berita Bali United Pusam di 
Bola Terkini di 
Update Liga Inggris di 
Klasemen Liga Inggris di 
Klasemen Liga Spanyol di 
Update Berita Bola di 
Berita ISL 2015 di 
Jadwal Real Madrid di 
Hasil Liga Spanyol di 
Berita Inter Milan di 
Posted @ Wednesday, March 11, 2015 3:00 AM by
Klasmen Persib
Liga Inggris Terkini
Hasil Liga Spanyol Tadi Malam
Skor Liga Champion
Sejarah Manchester United
Sejarah Real Madrid
Jadwal ISL 2015
Jadwal Arema
Persebaya Hari Ini
Berita Bola Terkini
Berita Persipura Terkini
Lagu Persija
Sejarah Sriwijaya FC
Berita Indra Sjafri Hari Ini
Pemain Bali United Pusam
Berita Evan Dimas Terkini
Berita Bola Terkini
Jadwal Liga Inggris Hari Ini
Profil Tristan Alif Naufal
Klasemen Liga Inggris hari Ini
Klasemen Liga Spanyol hari Ini
Kabar Bola Hari ni
Jadwal ISL 2015 Terkini
Jadwal Real Madrid Hari Ini
Hasil Liga Spanyol Hari Ini
Sejarah Inter Milan
Posted @ Wednesday, March 11, 2015 4:59 AM by
Liga sepak bola elit di dunia dapatkan jadwal nya dan berita Motogp 2015 
Jadwal Motogp 2015 
Jadwal liga inggris 
Jadwal liga Sapnyol 
Jadwal Isl 2015 
Jual batu akik
Posted @ Thursday, April 02, 2015 3:18 PM by jadwal liga champion
gluta drink dan glucox adalah minuman pemutih wajah herbal terkemuka yang sedang naik daun. 
Bagi anda yang ingin menjadi distributor dan agen dalam memasarkan produk tersebut silahkan hubungi kami
Posted @ Tuesday, April 07, 2015 6:39 AM by glucox
In order to avoid being depressed as a frelancer, I strongly suggest to have a planned life, and make sports.
Posted @ Thursday, April 16, 2015 2:25 AM by Ankara Tercüme
Jadwal liga lengkap Motogp Jadwal Motogp 2015 
Jadwal liga elit Eropa Jadwal liga inggris 
Jadwal liga elit Eropa Jadwal liga champion 
Jadwal liga elit Eropa Jadwal liga Sapnyol 
Jadwal liga lokalJadwal Isl 2015 
Jual berbagai jenis batu akikJual batu akik
Posted @ Sunday, April 19, 2015 1:47 PM by jadwal liga inggris
kunjungi website kami dan dapatkan penawaran terbaik kami.  
ready stok puluhan rumah dijual harga mulai 20 juta hingga ratusan juta
Posted @ Sunday, May 24, 2015 10:34 PM by rumah
Golden retriever valpar till salu 
Kristinebergsvägen 44, 238 37 Oxie Sverige, 
+46 (0) 40 54 40 16 
Golden retriever valpar till salu 
Posted @ Tuesday, June 16, 2015 11:03 AM by viktor
I don't have writing habit but as you suggested will surely start this. And I completely agree with your opinion about "Rituals"......
Posted @ Tuesday, June 30, 2015 5:58 AM by Printer Driver Download
thanks for sharing this......
Posted @ Tuesday, June 30, 2015 5:59 AM by printer driver
Post Comment
Website (optional)

Allowed tags: <a> link, <b> bold, <i> italics