Hope 2014 will bring about everything you wish for!
Hope 2014 (preferably, very early on!) will be the year when I publish my e-dictionary. What a dream come true that'll be! :-)
Any revision or proofreading process demands high concentration. In the case of my e-dictionary, the same is true and on a triple scale, since I have to revise three separate columns of 3000+ elements each.
I started by spellchecking each column on a letter by letter basis: the As, the Bs, the Cs... It really demanded added concentration because I had to check each column, row by row. And the content of each column is very distinct from the another: English word, the corresponding Portuguese sound, and the meaning(s) in Portuguese.
At the end of letter E, I decided to change my strategy, hoping to simplify it. First I copy-pasted all the English words into a separate Excel sheet and did a spell check... Done! Any editing was also done immediately in the master sheet.
Then I copy-paste all the sounds of the following letter on a separate sheet and carefully check the details. Is the pronunciation in synch with my way of pronouncing the word? Are the diphthongs and some "th" sounds underlined? Are the same sounds consistent throughout?
Finally, I copy-paste the sounds of the words of that same letter in another sheet and carefully checked each word myself, because I don't have a Portuguese dictionary in my spellcheck software. :-(
This seems like a good strategy. It's working well. There may be others, of course, but it is the first time that I'm doing this type of proofreading, so I had to decide what felt more efficient and easier.
As you can imagine, I need to be 100% focused on each part I deal with. It's kind of looking at each word of each column through a magnifying glass. I take a few breaks in order to disconnect or distance myself for a few minutes, which seems to help me notice typos more easily. Naturally, this doesn't guarantee that there won't be any.
I think I'm a bit behind in my work. I had to interrupt a few days last week because of high blood pressure. It seemed best to take it easy. There's no need for stress!
And now... it's Christmas time! :-) Preparations at home and at my parents' are my priority.
Hopefully, though, it'll be smooth sailing between Christmas and New Year's, when I hope to catch up.
I resumed work on my e-dictionary three days ago and felt really happy. I think it was good to be away for some time. The revision work seems to be going much faster. I have rethought a couple of sounds, hopefully, for the better. And I have lots of ideas bubbling in my head. I jot them down in my iPhone Notes (a fabulous companion) for fear of forgetting them. My memory isn't 100% reliable any longer.
I stayed away from the e-dictionary for 7 months. I had no idea it had been so long. The reason for the long absence came back at once when I saw the date of my last change. It all started with the loss of my oldest friend in time. A Friendship that left a very strong imprint in me for life. I felt very low, truly depressive, for several weeks and didn't feel like doing anything. When I started feeling better, I dedicated my time tosomething different that I already told you about: MOOCs.
Anyway, what's really important for me is that I feel that this time I will finish the e-dictionary and will self-publish it on the Web. My first attempt at that. It's very exciting just to think of it.
Yesterday evening I had the scare of the year for about three hours. I couldn't find my e-dictionary file with 3,000+ words. Days of long hours put into it.
You may think that it would have to be in one of my computers, or in an external hard drive. And you're right.
However, there was a problem that got me terribly worried. The week before I'd been backing up the files in both my computers, because I needed to have them formatted. Worse than that. After the backup process, I decided to organize my external hard drive folders and files. During this process I deleted lots of repeated files from previous backups done in a hurry. Could I have deleted the e-dictionary file inadvertently?!
I looked several times in my Radical English folder and the only Excel file I had just showed a few hundred words. I couldn't believe my eyes. I kept doing searches everywhere possible. I could have misplaced the file in another folder. But nothing came up.
I tried to keep calm and think positive. "This isn't the end of the world," I thought to myself. "If you deleted the file, forget about the dictionary. Move on to some other project."
Easier said (or thought) than done. I couldn't get it out of my mind.
When taking a break to try to stay cool, but at the same time going over all the possibilities I could think of to find the file, I decided to open the only Excel file I had related to this project.
All of a sudden, my eyes moved down to the bottom of the file and I finally noticed the different sheets I had created. Why didn't that happen the first time around?!
I went through the first sheet. No, that wasn't it. When I got to the second sheet, it started to look more like it. And even more as I scrolled and scrolled down. I was almost sure it was "the one". It had to be it. When I got to the bottom of the file, there were the three thousand plus lines of words. Oh, my! What a relief!!
I calmed down and everything started coming back to mind after a 7-month break in my work. My, time does fly. Yes, everything was crystal clear. I had created different sheets for different things, but I'd saved the file in one of the sheets that had the smallest amount of words. And that's where it was always opening.
All's well that ends well!
I'm ready to resume work. In fact, I'm very excited about it. :-)
Teresa Almeida d'Eça
Retired EFL teacher. Teacher trainer in Web 2.0 tools. Member of the Webheads in Action community of practice. Member of the "Radical English" Teachers group.