Sauregurkenzeit (literally: pickle time) is what German-speaking business people and journalists call the summer months, particularly July and August. With Europe's customary 4+ weeks of vacation per year and school out, many businesses there operate on a greatly reduced staff. As a result, few new projects are scheduled during this time, so there is not much need for translation services. This would then be a great time for us translators to take a break, too.
Unfortunately, here in the U.S. vacation time for employees is usually much less generous. So while we might be able to take a month off, our partners often can only take a week or two. A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I spent a week vacationing in and around Washington, D.C. -- not exactly off the grid, but interesting all the same.
Since my return, projects have been slow to arrive. With the heat wave we have had here in New York, I found it difficult to concentrate in the middle of the day when the temperature in my office reached the mid-80s (Fahrenheit) or so. So using that time for relatively mindless filing and general organizing seemed like a good idea. I've also tried to use some of this slack time to increase my marketing efforts. On the other hand, with everyone to whom I am marketing myself away, that doesn't necessarily work so well, either.
I'm about to leave my office again for a while -- this time to attend the Congress of the International Translators Federation in San Francisco next week. I am taking my netbook and I will monitor my e-mail on my smartphone, but I am not accepting new projects for next week. I'll try to blog next Wednesday, but that's the night when the Congress holds an international dance party, so I may not get to it.
Have a relaxing summer!