Sunday, 31 August 2014

Is the answer at the bottom of an ice-bucket?

Everyone by now will have heard of the "Ice Bucket Challenge". For those of you unaware or in the know, but  with your heads buried blissfully in the sand, this involves:

-  pouring a bucket of ice-cold water over yourself

-  filming yourself and uploading the clip onto social media

-  nominating three others who should take part in the same challenge within 24 hours

-  making a charitable donation to the ALS (

This craze has gripped the English-speaking world.   

What about in the French and Spanish speaking world?

* Leading French singer and actor Johnny Hallyday rose up to the challenge, nominated by fellow actor Tom Cruise

* Diva Shakira carried out the challenge alongside her boyfriend and Barcelona footballer, Gerard Piqué 

* Presidente Enrique Peña Nieto turned down the challenge, however, made a donation to the ALS.

While the idea is brilliant and the cause is deserving with $100 million raised so far, this is as much an awareness campaign as it is fundraising. 

So I invite all of you to read some facts here about the ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or better known as motor neurone disease):

And if you do get nominated, it's really up to you what you do:-

* Take up the ice-bucket challenge

* Donate to the ALS

* Take up a different challenge

* Donate to a different cause

Personally, I haven't taken up the challenge. But then again, I haven't been nominated yet!

Finally, to my French and Spanish speaking readers: tell me if the craze has reached your corner of the world!

Image featured on, with thanks to Mix and Remix for the cartoon design.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Estoy de vacaciones. Su correo será borrado.

Estoy de vacaciones. Su correo será borrado.

Volver a la oficina después de unas vacaciones felices, sobre todo con muchos correos electrónicos sin respuesta esperándole puede provocar temor y ansiedad.

Algunas personas verifican los mensajes el día antes de volver al trabajo. Otros trabajan con dificultad y ese destruye el sentimiento de bienestar después de las vacaciones. Hay algunos astutos que hacen creer que están de vuelta varios días más tarde de lo que dicen.

Los más valientes entre ustedes seleccionan sus mensajes no leídos, cierran los ojos y pulsan la tecla SUPRIMIR y se sienten como si se hubiera cerrado el mundo comercial.

De hecho, una empresa alemana ha utilizado esta misma estrategia, tal y como está resumido en el artículo:

¡Yo no haría lo mismo, porque tengo que contestar a los correos de nuevos clientes!

¿No pedirían a su cartero de arrojar su correo a la basura y rogarían a sus proveedores que le envíen sus facturas a su regreso? 

¿Cuál mensaje de ausencia escriben Uds para sus compañeros de trabajo y sus clientes? 

¡Estaré interesado en saber lo que piensan!


The inevitable return to work and the many unanswered e-mails after a period of bliss on vacation often inspire fear and needless anxiety.

Some work through these e-mails the night before they return, easing their first day in. Others just plough through the first morning back, thus obliterating the benefits of two weeks away.  A few cunning foxes may claim to be back a day or two later than they really are, thus managing expectations and workloads.

But very few will select their unread e-mails, close their eyes and hit the delete key, pretending that the whole working world stopped whilst they were away.

Actually, a similar approach has been advocated by a German company, as outlined in this article:

As a freelance translator, this approach isn't for me, especially with new clients writing in with enquiries. 

After all, you wouldn't exactly ask your postman to shove your regular post in the bin and ask your suppliers to send their bills when you are back from holidays (as tempting as this is!)?

What out-of-office message do you leave for your colleagues and clients? 

I would be interested to know!


Monday, 11 August 2014

Pick up your lingui-sticks!

Fresh off a Portuguese language course in Lisbon, I just had to blog about the topic.

And that got me reading this article:

Now I’m not here to endorse any of the holiday packages listed in the article.  However, I would like to echo some of the merits of taking a language course in the local country:

* Accelerated learning - even one week of a language course equates to three months of language classes at home

* Teaching by a native qualified language instructor - classes are taught in the local language, so you expose yourself to the exact pronunciation.  You also receive useful tips in the local customs.

* Meeting new friends - most students in the class are in the same position as you. Together, you can explore the city, have a meal or take part in a local cultural activity.

* Combining languages with holiday activities - have your classes in the morning, and do your sight-seeing, surfing, siesta or flamenco show in the afternoon and evening.  Most schools offer some sort of extra-curricular activity.  If that’s not for you, you can always look up a local wine-tasting session, a cookery class or a dance lesson.

* Interacting with the locals - this is possibly the most rewarding experience about the language course.  You will impress the locals no end by using your noggin
more than your phrase book.

So when you book your next holiday, pick up your lingui-sticks and make it a language course!