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Do You Have a Backup Strategy?

Nowadays, most translators and writers rely on computers to produce their work.

Since today (March 31) is World Backup Day, I would like to stress the importance of having a backup strategy.

The truth is that anything and everything can fail. Hard drives may malfunction. Even the biggest providers can let you down. That’s why I recommend the so-called 3-2-1 strategy.


In the past, I would only backup my computer occasionally because I found it slowed down my system considerably.

That strategy worked for me until one day, a few years ago, my computer stopped working, and the most recent copy was two months old.

MORE: Prevention Is the Best Cure

Restoring my computer with that copy would have prevented me from finishing a translation project on time — I would have to start from scratch again!

Fortunately, I found a way to retrieve the data by creating a disk image, which allowed me to fix my computer and later add the files I needed.

While I finished the project on time, I learned a valuable lesson:

I needed a reliable backup strategy!

Since then, the 3-2-1 strategy has saved my life twice:


The 3-2-1 strategy means having at least three total copies of your data:

  • Two local copies but on different media (e.g., your computer and an external drive)

  • One off-site copy (e.g., a cloud service)

As a Mac user, I rely on Time Machine to make copies to an external drive. It’s always working in the background, but it does not slow down the system anymore.


Although the first backup often takes a long time, future backups are faster. That is because only the new files or those modified since the last backup are backed up.

Additionally, I rely on Backblaze to make copies to the cloud. Like Time Machine, BackBlaze also works continuously in the background.

Isn’t an external device enough?

On-site backups are great if you need to get to them quickly. Yet, having a backup near the device backing up means that those copies are susceptible to data loss (e.g., physical damage or theft).

A continuously updated copy of your data that is not in the same physical location (e.g., the cloud) as the other two gives you an additional layer of protection if you ever lose access to physical copies of your data.


Besides implementing the 3-2-1 strategy, I began favoring programs that rely on the cloud, such as Memsource.

Not only is Memsource the best web-based translation tool I’ve tried to this day, but it also saves work automatically.

If my computer fails again in the future, I will be able to retrieve my work from a different device and not risk any deadlines.

There may not be a perfect backup strategy, but having a reliable one is the best investment you can make if you depend on your computer to work.

Do you have a backup strategy? If so, did it pay off when the unexpected happened?

Let me know in the comments!


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