Welcome to the next post in the Great Productivity Project series, part of the Looking-Glass Translations productivity programme! Contact me today if you’d like to be featured in the series.

This week, I speak to Caroline Alberoni of Alberoni Translations! Let’s go!


1. How did you enter the industry and what do you remember most about your first year in business?

It was certainly not by chance. I found out I wanted to become a translator while browsing a careers’ guide, on my second year of high school. When I found out there was a career as a translator, it just clicked! You know love at first at sight? It happened to me and translation. I did a BA in Translation here in Brazil and an MA in Translation Studies with Intercultural Communications in England.

I started looking for a job right after coming back home to Brazil. Luckily, I found an agency that was looking for translators. I started working for them as a freelancer. For more than a year, they were the only client I worked for, but they did send me a lot of projects.

In the very beginning, I worked almost non-stop. I would sleep four hours a night at the most. Weekends and holidays were not part of my reality. I started earning a very low rate (that was pretty enough to me at the time). After a month, they increased it by two cents. After a year, another cent. It was tough, but I did learn a lot with them and from the entire experience.


2. Are you a morning lark or a night owl?

Tough one. You know, this was even the topic of a post on my blog, because I certainly find it intriguing. OK, but the answer is: neither. Although I worked a lot overnight in the beginning, I definitely don’t do it anymore. However, I also despise waking up early. Gosh, waking up is so difficult to me! I therefore usually work during business hours. And working at home has its benefits here, because there is no need to commute, so I can wake up later.


3. On average, how many hours do you work a week?

From seven to eight hours a day, five days a week, so 35 to 40 hours a week.


4. Do you stick to a set routine or do you prefer to go with the flow?

Again, neither one nor the other. I usually check my emails and all my social media before starting to work, but that depends on my workflow for the day. If I’m on a strict deadline, I just forget about it and focus on work. If not, I dedicate more time to my social media channels.


5. As freelancers, we are very lucky in that we have a lot more flexibility than other workers. How do you take advantage of this?

I love being a freelancer and working at home – the freedom we have is amazing! I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love being able to take a day off if I need or feel like doing so. Or even to take a vacation whenever I want to. I can also work from anywhere, which makes things a lot easier as well.


6. What does work-life balance mean to you? Do you think it’s important?

Undoubtedly! To me, it means working the necessary, but also leaving time for exercising at the end of the day. Being able to log off and close the computer at the end of the day and focus on my free time to take care of myself doing whatever suits me. It means taking weekends and holidays off, and travelling on vacation whenever I feel like doing so.


7. What’s the biggest productivity challenge you’ve faced running your own business?

Finding the time to manage all my social media channels and side projects, and still have time to translate, every day. I’ve struggled a lot to find a balance and organise myself, and sometimes I still find it hard, but discipline is key.


8. How did you overcome it / what are you doing to make things better?

I decided I would separate the first couple of hours of my day to managing my social media channels, and I strictly follow it. After that, I just forget about social media. If my day is busier than normal, if necessary, I skip one or two days. If my day is calmer than normal, I take advantage of it to prepare things beforehand, like writing on the blog. But organisation and discipline are key in this process.


9. What’s the one productivity tip or tool you couldn’t live without?

Always handle your projects as soon as possible and do not wait for the last minute. Sometimes we may have a good deadline for a project so we just leave it for afterwards. However, other projects or assignments may come and you may end up having to reject them because you didn’t work while you had the time and now you have to work on that first project. Time is money, so make the most of every second.


10. If you could go back in time, what’s the one thing you’d tell yourself when you were just starting out?

I usually don’t regret anything from the past, especially the tough moments, because I learn a lot from them. If they don’t happen, we keep doing things the wrong way or we don’t improve ourselves. I had a tough beginning – as most people do – but it taught me everything I know today.


JUST FOR FUN: Finally, we often only see each other professionally and I’d love to peek behind the business – can you name a hobby of yours that might surprise us? What do you do in your downtime?

My hobbies are usually well-known to everybody, but let me think… Well, my friends may know this, but maybe my colleagues don’t: I love watching TV (series during the week, movies at the weekend). So after working, I go to the gym, come back, take a shower, have dinner and lay down on the sofa to watch TV. I also watch TV while having breakfast, lunch and dinner. And if I don’t spend at least a couple of hours in the weekend in front of the TV, doing nothing but watch a movie, it’s not a weekend to me. It makes me relax and switch off.


Thank you so much for taking part in the series!


Three heads are better than one

Feeling inspired by Caroline Alberoni? Then you might like these articles:


Would you like to be involved in the Great Productivity Project? I’d love to hear from you! Contact me today at marie@lookingglasstranslations.com to be part of it.


  • Caroline Alberoni

  • Alberoni Translations

Caroline Alberoni is a Brazilian Portuguese (from English and Italian) translator with over five years of experience in IT, marketing and business. Besides being a member of SintraAbrates and IAPTI, she is part of the Steering Committee of the Brazilian Association’s Mentoring Program and has a column of interviews on the Association’s on-line magazine. Caroline also runs the Carols Adventures in Translation blog, where you can find posts on translation in both English and Portuguese, and has a translation podcast, TradTalk (in Portuguese).












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