Backup guidelines for translators

spiros · 1 · 1011


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Backup guidelines for translators

Have a second computer at your fingertips that is configured the same as your primary computer.

At first this might seem like an expensive measure, but it's really only the hardware that you have to pay for. As far as the software, you are often either allowed to install and register it on two different computers or you can install it on both and just register the "active computer." I did actually have a second computer in my office with much of the necessary software installed, but it was so slow and decrepit that I ended up working on a "regular" laptop from home and just about pulled my hair out because nothing worked the way I was used to.

Either make nightly backups or have your files available on Dropbox, OneDrive, or a similar cloud-based solution.

Cloud-based solutions, if they are compatible with your clients' security demands, are better than backups because you don't even have to restore anything. You just pick up where you left it before your computer jumped off the bridge (at least as far as the data and the files you're working with are concerned).

If you use a client-side email system like MS Outlook or Thunderbird, have the database file containing your emails and contacts located on external media connected to your computer.

These files cannot be stored in the cloud, but they can be stored on an SD card, USB stick, or an external drive (all of which need to be backed up as well). Why is this helpful? Because it gives you a plug-and-play opportunity to continue using your email right away.

Make a list of all necessary data that can't be stored elsewhere and back it up regularly.

This includes bookmarks and passwords from your browser (unless you use a synch feature with your browser), custom spell-checking files, data files from your accounting system, any translation memory and termbase data that is located on your computer, fonts, settings files for any tools that you have spent a long time creating and fine-tuning, and so on. These are so essential to working effectively, and you really don't want to recreate them or even wait a long time before you can reclaim them from another damaged hard drive.

Save all the emails that contain download info and registration codes for software that you purchased. No need to explain this further, but this is one that will save you so much time.

And here's one I never would have thought about before: All things being equal, work with products from technology vendors who have adequate support in a time zone that is accessible to you. I had one product (which shall remain unnamed -- you're welcome, <tech vendor>) that I realized on a Friday I was going to need access to over the weekend. I couldn't activate it because it needed to be deactivated first on the old (dead) computer. Although we eventually found a solution, it cost me many valuable hours and nerves when it could have been done in the blink of an eye if adequate support had been available here in the US. Good lesson learned. (Another interesting observation: If this had been a one- or two-person outfit located on the other side of the world, I'm sure my problem would have been solved much more quickly, since support is often provided by those developers around the clock. But because this was a larger company behind the product with regular business hours, I was out of luck.)

— Jost Zetzsche, The 310th Tool Box Journal


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