January will soon be here and it’ll be time to make yet another New Year’s Resolution to declutter. But sometimes it pays to be selective about what you throw out.
I submitted a bid recently for a contract to translate “documents relating to the policies and administration of the European Union”. To take part, you had to demonstrate your experience through “Letters of reference from customers, invoices, book covers, contracts clearly indicating the subject, language combination and number of pages or specimens of translations carried out by the tenderer”.
I’ve been translating for various Italian Government organisations on EU affairs since the 1980s (I know, that really dates me!). But how to prove it? Thankfully, my annual decluttering exercises are anything but successful and amongst my old papers I found an old invoice book. It contained an invoice from February 1996 (not quite the 1980s, but better than nothing) addressed to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers for “The translation from Italian to English of an article on Information, Communication and Culture during the Italian EU Presidency”. (I can’t believe I was still writing invoices by hand at that time).
I’ve no idea how I’ll get on with the tender but at least I had some evidence of long-standing experience to back up my bid. Phew!
By Marian Dougan