Recovering from a Catastrophic Failure

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

This & That ― Vignettes of a Professional Journey
a column by Ines Bojlesen

The romanticized image of a translator is typically that of a casually dressed person sitting in front of a computer monitor, surrounded by books and papers, focused on the task, typing away in a different language.

This image might resemble the result of taking a split-second picture using a still camera. But by using a video camera instead, the image that would come to life would be a rather different scenario.

Gone are the days when translators simply translated, period. By hand or at a typewriter, their time was spent in research, reading, and compiling information painstakingly found.

Fast forward to our reality of today. Translators areor need to be in order to survivesoftware and hardware savvy. Translators cannot afford to merely catch up with technology; they have to be one step ahead, otherwise they are not developingthey are not even stalled, but are going backwards, losing ground.

A new, redesigned, reengineered, revamped tool, the panacea to all the bugs plaguing our work is launched in bold, loud terms in increasingly shorter intervals.

I happen to be one of those who resist stagnation, who welcome improvements and who dare to conquer new territories. Therefore, I was anxious to move on to Windows 10, but only when I could purchase a new computer with Windows 10 installed by the OEM, not just the 8.2 version upgradable to Windows 10.

The day finally arrived! I brought home a “workhorse” made by my favorite PC manufacturer. And so my adventure began. I made a two-page list of all the programs I use and need. Fortunately, only a couple were not compatible with Windows 10 (one of them being the old-faithful and reliable Backup Software I used for many years).

That meant I would have to rely on another program not only for backup but also to transfer the content from my old to my new computer. Microsoft offers a free version of Laplink to do just that wirelessly. Since my PCs are wireless, I followed the instructions in the twenty-page manual for Laplink and then initiated the transfer. A prompt told me that the process would take thirty (30) hours!! That being a quiet weekend, with all projects delivered, I calculated that by mid-afternoon on Sunday, the process should be completed.

First thing I checked Sunday morning was how much green had populated the “progress bar”. To my dismay, not even one third of the bar had been filled after 19 hours!! Waiting until Monday or Tuesday was out of the question. But kudos to Laplink, they have a 24/7 support system for this transfer ordeal. They told me that “wireless usually takes a long time, try doing it by cable.” I dug into my cable chest and connected the PCs with an Ethernet cable. One hour later, my zillion files had been transferred!!

I had the entire Sunday to take care of the applications, i.e., deactivating, reactivating, reinstalling, writing to their support for new passwords/PINs/codes. Some were straightforward, some were tricky, some were not possible. But by the end of the day I had what I needed, and started familiarizing myself with Windows 10. No big deal, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all… right?!

For those who will have to go through this process, one piece of advice. Before transferring from the old to the new PC, erase, delete, clean, purge every and anything you will not need or will not be able to use with Windows 10. Because I failed to think and act about it, I had to spend 3 hours with Geek Squad on the phone, working on the new PC, cleaning up all those unneeded files that had made my new PC freeze twice on that first Monday!

Thinking I had covered all grounds, with my workstation upgraded, my new monitors, a desktop with new background scenes, etc., I started work on a large new project.

I was a couple of hours into the translation when the CAT tool I was using froze, with a prompt screaming in big bold letters:

MASSIVE CATASTROPHIC FAILURE!!
(Yes, “MASSIVE”―a word I did not include in the
title of this blog post to avoid sounding too dramatic.)

This is precisely the scene a still camera would not capture. The translator pulling her hair, crying/laughing, getting up from her chair, going around in circles, sitting down again and just staring at the computer. Would a simple reboot, restarting the program, solve it? She wonders, would a glass of wine, scotch or a sleeping pill lower her heart beat to a normal rate?

The wisest thing for me to do, apparently, was to do nothing with the CAT tool itself, but resort to its support team, opening a ticket for a CRITICAL/URGENT issue. It was the right decision; the problem was solved in seconds.

Later on that evening, with my heart rate back to normal, I was able to laugh about it. Competitors are always trying to “push the envelope,” “go to the next level.” Well, this CAT tool certainly surpassed Microsoft’s “Fatal error” prompt.

So if you are wondering why my July blog was tardy, now you know. I needed extra time to recover from a massive catastrophic failure event! If you ever get this prompt, do not panic. It’s just one of those attempts to keep you on your toes.

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