9 things you should never say to a translator

Do not ever say these things to a translator! It can drive them nuts!

1. Is working at home a real job?

No, if you do not think that chasing deadline, staying up late and working fingers to the bone a real job!

2. I have a brochure which is only 5 pages long to be translated. We are friends so you can help me to work this out for free, right?

Sorry but translation is my job, not my hobby.

3. Oh my gosh! The text is only few pages and you said it can be done within a day. How come you charge me that much?

It took me nearly a decade to learn to manage those few pages within a day. Do not even think it is that simple. Our job includes not only translation, but also a whole process of research and review.

4. I thought you can translate without researching. With dictionaries and google translate in hands, anyone can become translator.

For your information: Researching is also a translator’s working skill. Do you really think that dictionaries and google translate can understand contexts, connotations and can be compared to human-being translators who do it for their living?


5. I have been learning English for years. Do you think I should work as a part-time translator now?

No you shouldn’t, unless you also took years of study and expertise to become a translator.

6. You are a translator and you can only speak two or three languages?

You forgot to mention the fact that I have expertise on those two or three languages to earn for living, not just speaking a few words.

7. What does this word mean? You are translator! You probably know the answer?

The fact that I am a translator does not mean that I can give you a precise answer without context.

8. You are working at home so you probably cannot imagine how tiring the office work is.

Translator can either work at home or in the office like any other job. Deadline and grey matter are translator’s friend too, my dear!


9. Why does it take so long to translate this simple document?

That “simple” document needs to be consistent in terms of terminology, phrasing and style, not mention to the time for proofreading and quality assurance. That’s why we always ask for a reasonable deadline to present clients the best quality document.


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