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13 Things You Should Never Say To A Translator

Lots of people dream of working as a translator. Being a translator is a demanding job: it takes years of experience, skill, discipline and hard work.

This is because you need to be very, very good at another language in order to do the job.

Translation is a lot harder than most people realize. Translation is about finding the equivalent meaning to a sentence in a different language but more often than not you don’t have the exact equivalent words.

In the end, one can say that translation is very complex.

Because it’s not just about words. But about what words are about.

Here are 13 things that you should never say to a translator:

1. So, you do translations from home? Is that a job?

2. You only know 3 languages?

3. Why are you charging so much when there are free software programs that do machine translations?

4. What does “obstreperous” mean? You're a translator, you should know it!

5. I have about 45 pages to get a rush translation on by tomorrow, can you give me a discount?

6. So, you're a translator* ... you do simultaneous translation, right?

7. Does it really take so long to translate that? This text is only about 20 pages long and that shouldn’t take you more than 2 days to translate!

8. Why do you need dictionaries?  Aren’t you a professional translator?

9. I have a friend who studied in Japan for a semester. I'm going to ask him to translate this 10-page document from Japanese into English.

10. The document I have enclosed is a PDF created with InDesign.  I absolutely need the formatting to be maintained.

11. Why don’t you just translate this text word for word? It will be faster this way!  

12. I need my website www.domain.com translated. Part of it is Flash and the remaining part is dynamic content managed via a database. Please look at the website and send me a detailed quote.

13. Why study to become a translator when you can just use Google Translate?

*Translator (Definition) - a person who translates a written text from one language into another.

Interpreter (Definition) - a person who interprets speech orally.

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