Back up!

Parts of the UK have been having horrible weather for the last few days, with flooding and, in Aberdeen, a weird seafoam* invading the Footdee neighbourhood, while is well worth a visit, by the way (preferably without foam). Here in Bearsden, just north of Glasgow, however, it’s a beautiful day.

*(or “spume”, from the Latin spuma. This is a language blog, remember).

I’m still feeling in summer mood, even though it’ll soon be autumn (already is? I’m never sure when the seasons officially begin). Maybe it’s because I’ve had such an unusual summer. I spent much of June and July on training courses: all of the Legal Terminology for Translators workshops run in London by David Hutchins of Lexacom Legal, and the Université d’été for Financial Translators, organised by the Société française des traducteurs in Paris. Next, in August and into September, my longest ever vacation — three wonderful weeks in Turkey (Kalkan and Antalya). And then my daughter moved to Leeds to study music, making us empty-nesters, at least in term time.

Bye-bye hard drive

When I got back from Turkey, my iMac wouldn’t start up. It turned out the hard drive needed to be replaced. I’d backed up all of our computers before leaving — thank goodness. So I’ve still got all my files, photos, applications, emails and so on. I’ve decided to do some spring-cleaning (autumn-cleaning?) and weed out all the junk as I re-install.

I had files dating back to 2001 on that computer, so that’s a lot of junk. But it’s a great feeling to get rid of all those useless, space-hogging files. And an even greater feeling to know that, even with hard drive failure, all of the important files were safe. So the moral of this post is: back up, and back up frequently.

By Marian Dougan

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

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  1. Good advice and I shall take it. I’ve already copied all my photos (all 9GB of them) onto neatly labelled CDs – old school I know, but they’re a bit like albums – and what a lovely feeling that was to know so much of my hard drive was freed up. My files are all on USBs but I need to properly back up my computer – any advice on the best hardware/cloud?

    1. That’s very organised of you!
      I use a portable external hard-drive (My Passport) with the Mac’s Time Machine back-up. If I’m working on the go I use a USB drive for individual files, or email the files to myself so they’re available online. At the moment I don’t systematically use a cloud back-up service, although I should — it’s better to have everything stored in a different location from your computer and external drive. I use Dropbox now and again, but mainly for sharing things like photos.

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