Above & Beyond

First of all, the title of this post is the name of a band that I have discovered some time ago. I wasn’t familiar with their music because I dislike the electro-dance-trance stuff that they usually produce (the heavy beats give me palpitations), but the acoustic concert that I’ve discovered by chance on Y*tube literally enchanted me.

I’ve been listening to the full concert (Here) quite regularly these past months.

It’s now time to finally write down what I’ve been up lately.

The weather has been fantastic for the past 2 weeks. Very sunny, but not too hot (around 20C) with a very agreeable cool wind. My kind of perfect weather. So it’s with great pleasure that I’ve kept my weekly program of biking along the river for about 15 minutes to the swimming pool, and swimming for about 45 minutes, before coming back home. I’ve been meaning to do this 3 times a week, but so far I’ve only managed twice a week.

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A lot of people fishing.
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A big boat passing in front of Detroit.
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The bike and my happy place. 🙂

You see, while swimming laps, I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I should do about earning some money while doing something interesting with my life. I love teaching, music, languages and reading. I could teach music and languages again, but after school is the time that I would need to be available for students if I did this again. For me it’s simply inconceivable that I would give up the time I have with my children to be with others… Plus, the house we live in right now is not fit to accommodate students, we don’t know how long we’ll stay here, and D’s working hours are variable. Teaching is a no go for now.

For years I’ve been doing translations, but my university degree is in Music, not languages. To earn credibility and some regular clients, I would need some kind of diploma, which costs time and money, both of which I’m short of these days.

All these thoughts were rolling around my head while I was splashing back and forth in the pool.

I am really enjoying the odd projects that my friend is giving me for her Youtube channel. I am translating her cartoons into French and recording some voice over for her. It’s fun, interesting, and pays a bit of money. Maybe I could open a Youtube channel too? It has worked for her and her family, why not me? Ha! What would I talk about? How many languages I speak? (I’m pretty sure there are people out there who speak more than 6 languages. Just do a Google search, I’m nothing special).

I wish someone would pay me to read books. Since I joined Goodreads a couple of years ago I realized that I am reading between 50 to 100 books a year. Not all of them are prize worthy works of literature, but I’ve had nice surprises. Maybe I should seriously start reviewing books. Yeah right, I can’t even keep up with my blog, who am I kidding.

Laughing at myself here, while pedaling on the pathway along the river.

Wait. Aren’t there people who read aloud for audio books?!! I could be using my voice (which I trained for so many years, might as well use it), while reading (which I usually do anyway), recording at home, in the quiet hours when everybody else is either at school, working or sleeping… And eventually earn some money for it!?? I don’t know why I’d never thought of it before.

Anyway. So, after many hours of online research and instructive videos, here I am. I bought a decent microphone, dug myself a makeshift recording studio in the basement, created a profile on ACX (audiobook creation exchange), uploaded a couple samples, sent auditions a few times (fiction in French, English with a French accent, and language instruction), and ta-dah! I am now working on my first audio book project! Quite exciting. It’s taking a lot of my time because I have to learn not only to record (I am distressed at how much I can hear myself breathing), but also all about sound editing and mastering (erasing the aforementioned offensive breathing!). Hello learning curve.

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8 comentários sobre “Above & Beyond

    • C’est un peu comme préparer un texte de théatre (ou d’opéra). Il faut se préparer un peu quand même, lire le texte en avance au moins. Mais le grand avantage (et la magie!) de l’enregistrement est que l’on peut répéter plusieurs fois la même phrase quand on se trompe ou qu’on n’est pas satisfait jusqu’à trouver la bonne expression, cadence, rhytme, accent, etc. (tant de possibilités!). Le plus difficile est de bien choisir ensuite pendant le processus de l’édition…

  1. These “side gigs” is one aspect of the North American life I enjoy 🙂

    I’m a translator and I don’t have a degree in translation. I graduated with a degree in Asian studies, so technically I was trained to translate from Chinese to French but here I mostly translate from English to French or from French to English. Just to say that as long as you can write and have the necessary linguistic skills (which you clearly do, based on your articles I read in Spanish, English and French… can’t assess your Portuguese because mine sucks :lol:), you can be a good translator.

    I used to teach French to government employees about to take their French test. I also used to do tasks on MTurk (mostly translation jobs) but it doesn’t pay much. Another option for you would be transcription. I did that for a while do, bilingual people are often needed to transcribe police interviews for instance where the person speaks English and French during the interview (witness, suspect or other). The material is interesting! I stopped doing it because I didn’t have the time on top of my regular workload as a translator and I like copywriting/translation best.

    You seem to have a few options but if you need ideas or advice, email me anytime 😉

    Congrats on the book project!

    I wish I could pay you to be one of the beta readers for mine…

    • I would love doing more translations and even proofreading, but on translators websites (ProZ) I always read that some kind of language degree is required (whatever literature, linguistics or translation, apparently it does not matter). It’s your case, but sadly not mine 😦 The experience I’ve had so far has been either as unofficial “ghost” translator (in an office for 4 years), or for friends, or friends of friends. I can’t really write that in my resume, can I? How long is your book? Is it in French or English? After you publish it, think of me for the audio version! 😉

  2. You don’t have to be a teacher for (regular) kids (which requires regular after-school hour lessons), you could be an adult teacher and choose your own hours. There are tons of retired people who want to learn new things in a relaxed environment, so you could have a French conversation group twice a week in the morning with adults for example. Or give piano lessons in a retirement home. Or a language club for kids in a hospital. Stuff like that 🙂 I’m happy your recording idea is working out well, it’s so cool to be learning new skills, isn’t it 🙂

  3. Waouh ! Je n’aurais jamais pensé à enregistrer des livres audios ! Quelle super idée…
    Si tu te décides finalement à ouvrir une chaine Youtube, n’oublie pas de nous prévenir, j’adore y regarder plein de choses 😉

    • J’y pense! Pour l’instant je suis bien plongée dans mes projets de livres audio… On vient de m’offrir un deuxième projet! Un livre d’histoires courtes pour apprendre le français (avec lexique français-anglais)! Vraiment contente mais un peu stressée quand même!

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