The ATA Chronicle - July/August 2020 - 18

FEATURE

BY JAMIE HARTZ
We're paradoxically both in control and
dependent on others when it comes to
our professional lives. So, confronted
with the challenge of uncertain times,
how can we face declines in our work
or sudden changes in expectations
without allowing these circumstances
to dictate our attitudes, schedules, or
worse yet, quality?

We're versatile, resilient, and
innovative for a living. So, how
do we take these traits and apply
them in times when freelance
work feels like a gamble and
economies are still searching for
solid footing?

1 RELAX
Has worrying ever cultivated a new

Five Strategies for Adapting
to Uncertainty
Despite the curveball this pandemic has thrown at world economies,
unemployment figures, family life, and more, freelance translators and
interpreters have both the soft and hard skills necessary to rally in the
face of challenges.

A

s freelancers, we're wellequipped to adapt to changing
environments. Despite the
curveball this pandemic has thrown
at world economies, unemployment
figures, family life, and more, freelance
translators and interpreters have both
the soft and hard skills necessary
to rally in the face of challenges. As
professionals, it's evident that we're
necessary in a world that's more
connected than ever before. And as
bilinguals, our brains are trained to
code-switch and multitask on a daily
basis; we're versatile, resilient, and
18

The ATA Chronicle | July/August 2020

innovative for a living. So, how do we
take these traits and apply them in times
when freelance work feels like a gamble
and economies are still searching for
solid footing?
It's important to remember that
some things are beyond our control,
the present situation being a daily
reminder of this inevitable fact of life.
And yet, in a sense, freelancers have
learned this lesson already: we don't
get to write our own source texts, and
as hard as we try to educate clients,
they continue to bungle terminology or
use phrases that are tricky to interpret.

client or produced a paid project out
of thin air? I doubt it. Don't let anxiety
get the best of you. Try to think clearly
and reasonably about your situation
and consider solutions to the problems
you may be facing. Writing down your
concerns and brainstorming solutions on
paper may help.
We tend to make poor decisions
when we're stressed; "rash" should
never describe your method of decisionmaking. Think out the consequences of
the choices you make during this time
and consider whether you're making
them out of fear, aversion to risk, or
forethought and wisdom. If feasible, I
try to wait on making major decisions
or responding to important emails for at
least a day to clear my mind and make
sure I've thought through what I'm
doing or saying.
Slow times can also present positive
opportunities. If you aren't accustomed
to awarding yourself an hour-long lunch
break, take advantage of the extra time
in your schedule to take a walk, stretch
your legs, or spend more time with your
kids in the middle of the day.
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The ATA Chronicle - July/August 2020

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