Out of kilter: confusing times for translators

One of my first ever posts, “Translators’ time-warp“, was about the confusion that arises when you work with clients in different time zones and with different public holidays from your own.

Well, it’s happening again today. It’s bad enough getting back into work mode after the Christmas and New Year period (although to be honest I’ll be glad to get back to normal. And so will my waistline). But here in Scotland we’re out of kilter today not just with Europe and the rest of the world but with the rest of the UK too. That’s because 2 January is a Scottish bank holiday – no doubt the powers that be decided there was no point opening for business when most of the staff would still be nursing their Hogmanay (31 December) and Ne’erday (1 January) hangovers.

So, I’m working on my first projects of 2014 and today am “on call” for an Italian client, while the rest of the country is still on holiday. Then Monday 6 January will be a public holiday in Italy (the Epiphany or, in its modern incarnation, the “Befana“), but not here. What’s a translator to do?

Official public holidays in the UK.

Official public holidays in Italy.

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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. Here in New Zealand, we have a public holiday on 2nd January, too. Most people are also taking 3rd Jan off, so we’re not back at work until next week. We’re a bit out of kilter with Scotland though because it’s summer here!

    1. That’s really out of kilter. Although I suspect Scotland’s summers are always out of kilter with everyone else’s, given the weather here.

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