Brand Ambassador, Content Editor, Social Media, Translation

To Specialize or Not to Specialize?

Hello everyone!

To specialize or not to specialize? That is the question!

Seriously, I think that is the question that we more often ask ourselves as translators. I’ve heard from both sides: you should specialize because that will help you to narrow down your niche. You shouldn’t specialize because a translator can translate anything from any field.

Does it happen to you that when you are filling out information for an online profile or for applying to a project with a new client, you are always asked to include your specializations? It happens to me all the time!

Usually, I write down as specializations the types of translations I get to work on more often: legal, medical, business, and technical, which by the way, are the top 5 specializations among translators. But I don’t translate just for those fields. I also translate for the IT and gaming ones, I subtitle, I do MTPE, etc.

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So, does it really help to be specialized or not? It definitely can help to narrow down your niche and find clients more easily. Also, if you only translate in certain fields of specialization, you’ll become an expert on them; which will also help you get more clients in those fields.

But does that mean that should only accept projects that meet your specializations? Good question, right? It really depends on you. If you’d like to venture into unknown waters, then, by all means, work on projects that don’t fit your specializations. But if you feel more comfortable translating only within your specializations, it is ok too.

I think specializations are more the fields in which you have more experience because most of the projects you work on fall into those categories. Here in Guatemala, you can’t specialize in something as a translator. You graduate as a Legal Sworn Translator, so “legal” is your first specialization. The rest, you learn by experience. Probably, this is different in other countries, where the career of translation has more options.

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I mentioned my “specializations” but honestly, I translate almost anything that comes my way and I feel confident I can do it. If it is a document that is too technical or requires a highly specialized vocabulary, I definitely pass. Accepting different projects is what landed me a Content Editor job, when I didn’t even know I could be one. I was trained, and that training taught me so many things… it would have been a great loss to let it pass because it didn’t fall under what I thought my specializations were.

Anyway, when it comes to specializations, it is up to you. There are numerous ways to study a specialization through webinars, online courses, and others. Do what makes you feel more comfortable as a translator. Do what makes you happy!

Thank you again to Day Translations for sponsoring this blog post. Check out more about them and their services here: https://daytranslations.com/

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX

Brand Ambassador, Content Editor, Social Media, Translation

Translators’ Associations

Hi everyone!

Today I want to talk about translators’ associations. Is it a good idea to join them? If so, which ones should we join? Let’s explore this topic further.

Joining a professional association is always beneficial for a translator. Most associations are already well-known. Membership makes a translator’s profile more attractive to recruiters and clients. It is important to continue to expand your knowledge and training throughout your career.

Many associations offer training courses at a reduced rate or even free of charge for their members.

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You can belong to several associations at the same time, for example, a national association and a regional association within the same country, or according to specific fields such as legal or audiovisual.

Now, what are the advantages of belonging to an association? There can be many, like more renown, which can lead to landing more clients. Also, you can advertise on your website and social/professional profiles that you belong to a certain association.

Of course, more clients is always a good thing. But what kind of clients do you want? If you want to gain more local clients, definitely you should join a national or regional association. But if you prefer international clients, you should consider joining an international association, like the ATA from the US.

It isn’t easy to join an international or foreign association. Most likely, you will have to prove that you already are a part of your local association, and you might have to take a test to get certified since your local certification is most likely not valid outside of your country.

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So, to join or not to join? It really depends on what you want. If you want to belong to an association where you can meet and share experiences with colleagues, get learning tools for free, and get extra recognition for your knowledge and experience; you should definitely join one.

But if you are looking for foreign clients because local clients are not what you expected, then belonging to a local association might not be a good idea. You should look into international associations and see if you can find a better fit there.

So, do you belong to a translators’ association or not? If so, to which one or ones? I’d love to read more about it in the comments.

Thank you again to Day Translations for sponsoring this blog post. Check out more about them and their services here: https://daytranslations.com/

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX

Brand Ambassador, Content Editor, Social Media, Translation

Machine Translation

Hello everyone!

Today I want to talk about Machine Translation. This can be a controversial topic for translators and I hadn’t addressed it so far.

But before talking about what it means for translators, we should talk about what exactly is Machine Translation.

Machine Translation or MT has made appearances in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) world with apps like Google Translate. In a larger format, the MT industry is more complex. It involves translating text and content from one native language to another.

It is a sub-category of computational linguistics that borrow from computer science, AI, information theory, and statistics. In the past few decades, there has been incredible progress in MT quality, and its evolution has created a huge industry.

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While MT alone is not perfect, the use of human translators along with machine learning has many practical applications. Today, the MT market is thriving with the combination of human and machines translations, offering faster service and lower costs.

Of course, MT has many flaws and remains inferior to human translators. Gender bias, distorted and mistranslated words and phrases, and bizarre word phrasing, are among some of the biggest flaws.

But perhaps the worst flaw is a machine’s inability to process human thoughts and emotions. Using translators as post-editors rectifies this as they can find errors that the machine missed.

Have you ever post-edited a machine-translated document? You definitely see these flaws right away. With just one word or very short phrases, it might be okay, but with longer sentences and paragraphs, you can see right away that they don’t make sense.

Of course, the problem is that MT translates literally. A machine cannot notice the context of the original document. It will translate word per word, but without sense. Here is where human translators come in. They post-edit the translation of the MT to correct all the errors.

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I’ve done a few Machine Translation Post-Editing (MTPE) projects. It is interesting to correct the errors made by the machine. This also means that the rates for MTPE are lower than for translating since the translation is already done and all you need to do is review the document and make any necessary corrections. Almost like a proofreading project.

But I know that many translators reject these kinds of projects because they don’t support MT. I understand that but MT is not going anywhere, on the contrary, it is growing and getting more sophisticated.

I don’t think machines will ever take over human translators. No matter how sophisticated they get to be, they will never have thoughts, understatement, feelings like humans do.

Where do you stand? Do you take on MTPE projects or do you reject them, and why? Let me know in the comments, I’d really like to know 🙂

Thank you again to Day Translations for sponsoring this blog post. Check out more about them and their services here: https://daytranslations.com/

Don’t forget to thank the women in your life for their support!

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX

Content Editor, Social Media, Translation

Women’s History Month 2022

Hello everyone!

Happy Women’s History Month! March is such an important month for women around the world, and on the 8th we celebrated our International Day!

Of course, I think women should be celebrated all the time, not just one month or one day a year. So, today I want to talk about what makes women warriors, and how being freelance translators and interpreters make us even stronger.

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I believe that the translation field is one of the few industries where women are the majority. Although this has changed through the years, with more men becoming translators and interpreters, women still represent an important figure.

And, as far as I have been able to experience, we are very supportive of each other. I know that competition will always exist among us, but as professionals, we also have the opportunity to learn so much from each other.

I’ve had the opportunity of learning so much from so many different women in my life, who have shaped who I am today. I should start with my mom. She’s the bravest and most amazing woman I know, I am always in awe of her.

I also had great mentors growing up. A TOEFL teacher changed my future when she asked me if I wanted to study translation after presenting my TOEFL exam. I didn’t even know the career existed! If it hadn’t been for her, I would not have found my passion.

So many teachers and translators who helped me along the way, you are all the best and you’ve made me not only a better translator but also a better person.

The colleagues from whom I learn every day something new. Who always support me and with whom I collaborate in such a great way. Thank you for your patience and your kindness.

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Thank you again to Day Translations for sponsoring this blog post. Check out more about them and their services here: https://daytranslations.com/

Don’t forget to thank the women in your life for their support!

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX

Brand Ambassador, Content Editor, Content Localizer, Social Media, Translation

PC vs. MAC

Hi everyone!

Today I want to talk more in-depth about PC vs. MAC for translators.

If you follow me on social media, you know that this year I decided to switch from PC to MAC, after years of only using PC.

I decided it was time to upgrade my working tool, and that I needed something that came with a big screen that can be split into two and more, that was faster than anything I ever had, and that could support all or most of the apps, websites, etc., that I use for work, especially my CAT Tool.

My iMac comes with a 24″ screen, which can perfectly be divided into two. I can see things I was never able to see on my laptop without having to move around on the page! It also has the M1 chip, which is the first generation of chips manufactured by Apple. They are no longer using Intel chips.

But I think the best way to figure out which device is better for you, is to take a look at the pros and cons of each one:

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PCs

Pros:

  1. Easy to set up from your Windows account.
  2. Compatible with pretty much all software and applications in the market.
  3. If you have other Windows and Android devices and products, they will all work better together (same ecosystem.)
  4. Cost: this is probably the biggest advantage of PCs. They are definitely more affordable than MACs.
  5. They are more easily upgraded ad have more options for different components.
  6. Offer more connection ports and types of ports.
  7. They have better backwards compatibility, that is, you can run older versions of software or operating systems on new hardware.

Cons:

  1. The software updates! They take forever and you can’t really avoid them!
  2. PCs are more vulnerable to viruses, so you definitely need to invest in a good antivirus program.
  3. Windows as a program, hasn’t had any major upgrades or changes in the latest years. Maybe that will change with Windows 11, but don’t expect too many nice surprises.
  4. They usually work with Intel or other chips, they don’t manufacture their own.
  5. Customer service tends to be bad because there are so many manufacturers out there, it gets difficult to get them to actually pay attention to your needs.
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MACs

Pros:

  1. If you already have other iOS devices, it will be very easy to set up and use.
  2. You can migrate easily from Windows to iOS.
  3. If you have other iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, etc.) they will all work better together (same ecosystem.)
  4. You can use OneDrive to work on MSOffice documents across devices, whether they are iOS or Windows.
  5. They are associated with high-powered graphic design.
  6. Because there are fewer Apple products compared to PCs, there are fewer viruses creasted for iOS.
  7. Apple tightly controls the software on its devices, there is much less bloatware installed on new systems.
  8. Apple’s customer service is well known for being better, and they do a great job of backing up their products.
  9. MACs tend to have new innovations incorporated into their design that make them faster than PCs (like the new M1 chip.)
  10. Their software updates are a walk in the park compared to Windows! And you can choose if you want to update manually or automatically, giving you full control.

Cons:

  1. Cost: this is probably the biggest disadvantage for MACs. But they are worth your money.
  2. Many programs are not compatible with MAC, including: AutoHotkey and SDL Trados Studio. For AutoHotkey there are some free options that give the same results. Trados… well it is incredible to think that in this time and age they still don’t have an iOS version.
  3. Less connection ports, and now they have fully moved on to USB-C, and most devices are not compatible. Of course, you can buy and adaptor plug.
  4. If they re upgradeable, you can only upgrade the memory and the storage drive.
  5. You’ll probably need to invest on a new one sooner than with a PC.

The PC vs. MAC debate will continue as long as they are the two major choices for hardware and operating systems. Each system does some things better; it’s really a matter of what features are important to you and what you’re going to use the computer for. Whatever you choose, enjoy it!

Thank you again to Day Translations for sponsoring this blog post. Check out more about them and their services here: https://daytranslations.com/

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX

Brand Ambassador, Content Editor, Social Media, Translation

How to Reinvent Ourselves

Hello everyone! Happy New Year!!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like every time a new year begins it gives us the opportunity for a fresh start. We can leave the past behind and move forward.

So, as freelance translators, how can we reinvent ourselves every year? It isn’t easy but there are a few things we can do to feel like we clicked the “refresh” button.

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Change or improve our working space

This can refer to changing how things are displayed on our desk to actually changing our desk! We need to feel comfortable in our working space if we want to be more productive.

One of my plans for this year is to change my working space. Always at my house, but in a different room with more natural light. It does mean that I have to invest a lot in it because the room needs many improvements before being able to move there.

Get a computer that meets your workflow demands

The computer is a translator’s best friend! That is why investing in a computer that’s faster, easier to set up and use, will translate (yes!) into a faster work pace.

Nowadays it isn’t just about a computer. Do we want a desktop or a laptop? Or both? Do we want a PC or a Mac? Or something completely different? We definitely need to research each option and choose the one or the ones that are the best fit for us.

I have a confession to make… After years of using a PC, I finally changed to Mac! Don’t get me wrong, I used PCs all my life, but lately, I noticed they last less and less, and the Windows updates! They are such a pain! I am excited about my new Mac adventure, and I am keeping my PC as a backup for when the power goes out or any other mishap.

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Get ergonomic accessories

From your chair to your mouse, to your wrist rest… Getting accessories to help our back, wrists, hands, etc., to rest and be well-positioned will keep those terrible back pains, eye fatigue, and carpal tunnel syndrome at bay!

Update your personal brand

This can be as easy as changing your profile picture, trying a new grid layout on Instagram, changing your “Link in bio” or “Start Page.” It also involves changing your marketing strategy. How often should you post to social media? How often should you write a blog post?

Don’t forget to update your CV and your email signature as well!

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Thank you again to Day Translations for sponsoring this blog post. Check out more about them and their services here: https://daytranslations.com/

Have you planned to make any changes to reinvent yourself both personally and professionally this year? I’d love to read your comments!

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX

Brand Ambassador, Content Editor, Social Media, Translation

“False Friends” Words

Hello everyone!

Recently, I gathered with some great colleagues for a Zoom “coffee”, and the topic was the infamous “false friends” words in Spanish and English.

Because Spanish and English share a lot of words with Latin roots, it’s easy to understand each language. But sometimes words with the same origin take a separate path in each language, or words with different origins resemble each other by coincidence. That can mean trouble!

So, here are some of the most common “false friends” and their meanings:

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ASISTIR (Spanish) – ASSIST (English):

Although they look quite similar, they don’t mean the same. “Asistir” in Spanish means to attend, to be present at (a place). “Assist” in English means to help.

CARPETA (Spanish) – CARPET (English):

Another similar one! “Carpeta” in Spanish means folder (and in some countries the word “fólder” is used instead). “Carpet” in English means carpet.

CASUALIDAD (Spanish) – CASUALTY (English):

This is one that I’ve found a few times. “Casualidad” in Spanish means coincidence; chance. “Casualty” in English means victim.

COLEGIO (Spanish) – COLLEGE (English):

Although both refer to places where people study, they don’t refer to the same place. “Colegio” in Spanish means school. “College” in English means university.

EMBARAZADA (Spanish) – EMBARRASSED (English):

This is a very common one! “Embarazada” in Spanish means pregnant. “Embarrassed” in English means ashamed.

ÉXITO (Spanish) – EXIT (English):

This one became very famous because of a very popular ad for an online English learning platform. “Éxito” in Spanish means success; hit. “Exit” in English means a way out (of somewhere).

INTRODUCIR (Spanish) – INTRODUCE (English):

This one really confuses people sometimes. “Introducir” in Spanish means to insert. “Introduce” in English means to present someone.

LARGO (Spanish) – LARGE (English):

One of the most common and difficult to make people understand the difference. “Largo” in Spanish means long. “Large” in English means big.

LIBRERÍA (Spanish) – LIBRARY (English):

This one is one of the most infamous ones! “Librería” in Spanish means bookstore. “Library” in English means a public book-lending place (“biblioteca” in Spanish).

PRETENDER (Spanish) – PRETEND (English):

They do look very similar! “Pretender” in Spanish means to attempt; to woo. “Pretend” in English means to fake; to act as if.

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There are many more “false friends”, but I decided to start with some of the most common ones, or at least the ones I’ve seen more often.

Can you think of any others? If so, make sure to share them in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

I’d like to thank “Day Translations” for sponsoring this post. You can check out their website here: https://www.daytranslations.com/

This is my last blog post of the year! I wish you the most wonderful holidays and see you in 2022!

XX

Content Editor, Content Localizer, Social Media, Translation

Content Editor

Hi everyone!

Today I want to talk about what it means to be a Content Editor for a language-learning platform.

Officially, as of September, I became the Spanish Content Editor for FluentU, a language-learning platform that has been in the business since around 2010. They started with Asian languages (Chinese, Korean, and Japanese) and then moved to English, French, Spanish, Russian, German, Italian, and Portuguese.

The previous Editor left some months ago, so I was offered the position. It meant more work and responsibility, but also more money. I accepted the challenge! After a very arduous and long training period, I finally became their Spanish Content Editor or CE, as we call it internally.

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Being a Content Editor entails many tasks, mainly:

Searching for new videos on YouTube: FluentU works with YouTube videos, so I have to look for new videos to upload to their platform. The idea is that users can learn Spanish from everyday conversations and songs, trailers, and other formats.

Uploading new videos to their platform: Once I find videos that are not yet on their platform and that are helpful to learn Spanish (they have to be school-friendly because several teachers use the videos to teach their students), the Head of Content has to check them and give you their authorization.

Transcribe and translate the videos (captions): When the videos are already uploaded to the platform, you have to transcribe them (create the captions) and translate those captions into English. The right timing of each caption is very important.

Editing: This is the most important task for an Editor. Once the captions are ready, you need to check that all the words (annotations) are properly mapped. Mapped? Yes, FluentU’s captions are interactive, which means that each word of a caption (called an annotation) has a definition and two to three examples of how the word is used. And each word can have several annotations depending on the meaning or usage of the word for each specific caption. I know, it is tricky! Prepositions are the words with the most annotations!

Text to Sound (TTS): After all the editing is finished for a video, you need to convert the text of the captions into sound, for the sound feature of the platform.

Publish: Finally, you get to publish your video on the platform! This means that the video becomes available for all the users who are learning Spanish.

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Even though it takes a lot of work, it is very satisfying to be able to add new videos to the platform for the users to learn Spanish. Of course, I also deal with the users’ feedback which, most of the time, is very helpful!

So, this is, in a nutshell, what my Content Editor job entails. Have you ever worked as an editor, if so in which area or field? How was your experience? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments. And don’t forget to hit the subscribe button!

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX

Content Localizer, Content Marketing, Copywriting, Social Media, Translation

More Than Just Translations

Hello everyone!

Today I want to talk about how as translators we can actually do a lot more than just translate.

Let’s talk about different language-related areas for translators.

Transcription

Transcription varies from translation in that it involves audio or video as the source instead of a document. You have to listen to the audio and transcribe it in a document along with the corresponding time codes.

Most of the times, the audio will be in your native language, but it can also be in your second one. And you might be asked to transcribe and translate an audio, which means that you have to transcribe the audio and then translate it. I work with English and Spanish (Spanish being my native language), so I could get an audio in Spanish to transcribe it, and then translate it into English. It could also be the other way around.

Copywriting

Copywriting is the process of writing persuasive marketing and promotional materials that motivate people to take some form of action, such as make a purchase, click on a link, donate to a cause, or schedule a consultation.

These materials can include written promotions that are published in print or online. They can also include materials that are spoken, such as scripts used for videos or commercials.

The text in these materials is known as “copy,” hence the name “copywriting.”

This is a sort of project that you will most likely work on in your native language.

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Localization

Language localization is the process of adapting a product’s translation to a specific country or region. It is the second phase of a larger process of product translation and cultural adaptation to account for differences in distinct markets, a process known as internationalization and localization.

It doesn’t always have to be a product or a marketing campaign. You can also localize video games and language-learning websites like I do with FluentU. I localize their English videos into Spanish for Latin American learners of English.

Subtitling

Subtitling is the process of adding text to any audio-visual media to express the message that is being spoken. Essentially, subtitles are a written abridgment of the spoken audio. They allow people to read and understand what is being said, even if they don’t understand the language of the speakers. And without subtitles, it would not be possible to grasp the subtleties contained in verbal communications.

Subtitles can basically be added to anything that includes moving pictures, but are most commonly used on film and television, promotional and corporate videos, and increasingly becoming more popular on YouTube and internet videos.

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Language Consultancy

Language consultancy consists of the analysis of a client’s language needs in order to develop solutions that optimize the translation process. This may include support in the drafting of documents or the analysis of document workflows or special projects. The workload for this type of service depends greatly on the complexity of each individual case.

Cultural Consultancy

Cultural consultancy is similar to language consultancy, but in this case, it is more about providing feedback about cultural aspects than language aspects. For instance, I did a cultural consultancy for a video game that took place in the former Maya and Inca empires, so they wanted someone from either culture to help them reassure that the cultural aspects presented in the video game were as close as possible to the original ones, to make it as credible as possible for the users.

Transcreation

Transcreation is the merger of two words: translation and creation. It’s an intricate form of translating that preserves the original intent, context, emotion, and tone. Originally conceived by marketing and advertising professionals, the goal of transcreation is to duplicate the message thoughtfully and seamlessly, without audiences realizing a translation ever occurred. The finished product should give the audience an identical emotional experience as the source message.

Have you worked in any of these areas before? If not, which ones interest you the most? I would love to read you in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe!

Until the next time, take and stay safe!

XX

Content Localizer, Copywriting, Social Media, Translation

Rate Per Word

Hello everyone!

Today I want to talk about an interesting subject that I just heard about. Is the rate per word for translation and proofreading becoming extinct?

I recently listened to the latest episode from “Marketing Tips for Translators” by Tess Whitty (you can find it on all podcast platforms). She answered some questions from her listeners, including if getting paid per word is a tradition that is starting to disappear.

According to Tess, getting paid per translated or proofread word is not fair. We are not just delivering “words.” We are delivering a whole document in a different language in an understandable way. So, we are getting paid for our knowledge, our experience, our preparation, our talent; not just for “words.”

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I have to say that I agree with Tess. As translators, we don’t just translate words. We make sure that those words become a whole that is understandable in our native language (or other). So why should we be paid just by the output of words?

Two alternative options are getting paid by the hour or by project.

Being paid by the hour is a good choice, but you definitely need to know how long it takes you to translate a certain number of words or pages in order to calculate your total rate and your delivery time.

Also, not many agencies accept to pay by the hour, except maybe for proofreading or audiovisual translations. And you would need to work with a timer app that you agree with the client so that you can log in there your activity and the client can verify how many hours you worked on the project.

As a localizer, I usually get paid by the hour. I rarely get paid by word. I can also get paid by project if it is a one-time kind of gig, but if it is a recurrent job, then companies prefer to pay by the hour.

But for translation, I have to say that I might prefer to get paid by project, especially for those that don’t have many words. By examining the source document, you can determine how much you would charge the client. It might take some negotiation, but in the end, you are going to get paid more than per word, and it just makes more sense.

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Getting paid by project is getting paid by the whole package, not just by how many words you translate. Of course, it can have a downside. If you don’t calculate properly the amount to charge the client, you are still going to get underpaid. This is why it is very important to take your time to prepare a proper quotation, even if it takes a bit longer.

In the end, the important thing is to get paid fairly for the work we do and make sure both agencies and clients are clear about that. And although getting paid per word might be starting to disappear in some countries in Europe and the US, it is not widespread enough around the world.

So, which kind of payment do you prefer? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe.

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX