Tips for Beginning Translators: Have a Backup Computer

I’ve learned a practical lesson over the past couple of weeks, and unfortunately I’ve learned it the hard way.  My laptop, which I use for both school and personal use, began to randomly shut down after I would use it for a long period of time, and it wouldn’t boot up again for several minutes.  I noticed that it became very hot to the touch shortly before this occurred, so I took it to Geek Squad.  Unfortunately they had a very large backlog of orders already, so they weren’t able to get to my computer until yesterday (Day 12).  Turns out I have a bad fan and I have to order a new one and have it installed.

During this time I’ve been using the laptops of a couple of generous friends of mine to keep up with my schoolwork, attend my classes (which are online), and take care of personal matters.  However, using another person’s computer to complete translations can bring up confidentiality issues, so I’ve had to request an extended deadline for a legal translation I was working on until I can get my computer back.

This situation brought a question to my mind.  I back up my computer regularly with an external hard drive, and I also email files to myself and use flashdrives.  These methods may save my files, but they can’t prevent hardware issues.  So I began to wonder: should I have an actual computer as a backup for emergencies?

I joined the ATA LinkedIn group not long ago, and I posed this question to the group in a discussion.  I also asked it of several of my classmates.  Almost unanimously, the answer was a resounding “Yes!”

I have an old laptop, but at six years old it’s on its last legs, so it looks like I’m going to be in the market for a new laptop soon in addition to the one I’m having repaired.

So here’s a tip for all of the beginning translators out there, a lesson learned the hard way: always have a backup computer for your work ready to go in case of an emergency.  You’ll save yourself a headache, not to mention the cost of a new computer.


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