10 Things You Should Never Say to a Translator

Things you should never say to a translator
10 things you should never say to a translator

[Guest Post]

As the world becomes more connected, interactions between people from different cultures, whether that be at school, at work or as part of daily life, are increasing. As a result of this, the translation industry is growing at an unprecedented rate and consequently, so are the number of translators!

Many times you might say to your translator, “you’re a life-saver” or “you are irreplaceable” or “I couldn’t have completed that business deal without you”, which are all great to hear. But here are a few things you perhaps shouldn’t say if you want to keep your translator sweet!

1. I just had my secretary write a 70-page document, can you quickly proofread it for me?

First of all, there’s nothing ‘quick’ about 70-pages. It’s easy for people to undermine a translator’s ability by assuming proofreading or translating a document is a walk in the park. What many fail to understand is that it takes years of learning, practice and commitment to become a good translator, and even at your best, you may still lose an hour of your day researching the perfect translation of a single word.

2. You are a translator, right? What does (insert random word with no context) mean?

Sure, translators are very skilled (almost superhuman may we add!) but that doesn’t mean they can translate every single language on Earth! Additionally, many languages, including English, have words with multiple meanings. We can guarantee that a translator’s first response to a question such as this would be “what’s the context?”

3. I took French in high school and was looking for some work on the side, could you help me get into the industry?

We understand. It’s natural for people to think that all it takes to become a translator is basic knowledge of a language, but being a translator is so much more than that. It’s one thing being able to understand what someone has said in a foreign language, but being able to convey that in another is a form of art. Plus, if everyone who took French in high school became a translator, why are some earning up to $100 an hour?

4. What! So you translate from home? Is that an actual job?

Yes, it is. Do you think there’d be a multi-billion dollar translation industry otherwise?

5. Wait, what? $(fill in the blank) for a job that will literally take a few hours to translate? I’ll use Google Translate instead!

Translators hear this many times over the course of their careers and it’s never nice to feel like your time and abilities are being undermined. But, again, a multi-billion dollar translation industry wouldn’t exist if Google Translate were accurate. Give it a go, we guarantee you’ll be back! 

6. There’s no way it can take that long! I needed this yesterday! It’s only 25 pages long, a day is surely more than enough. 

Translation is not an easy job, and sometimes it can take a long time. If translation were merely swapping words from one language to another then hey, it would be easy (and even Google Translate could do a good job). It’s not, though. It involves assessing the context, understanding the background of a word or phrase, maintaining a tone, localising a concept… the list goes on. And it’s for this reason that it takes about an hour to translate a one page document. So, yes, perhaps a day would be enough if they don’t eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, have a life etc.

7. So, I had my friend look over the document you translated. She speaks French and doesn’t think it’s very good. 

If you have a friend, aunty, cousin, grandpa that you wholly trust to do your translation work for you, then why seek the services of a professional? Enough said!

8. We need you to translate a super confidential document and can only send it after we agree a price. How much will you charge?

Think of this from a practical perspective: how is a translator supposed to assess the scope of the work if they can’t see the document? This is like asking a landscaper to transform your garden, but not letting them see it first. A 300-word translation of a contact form is very different to the translation of a 300-word document on ventilation cowls for the upward discharge of hot air in sustainable buildings…

9. I need you to maintain the formatting in this scanned JPEG file I’m sending you to translate.

A language is a hard enough skill to learn without having to understand the ins and outs of graphic design. They are two completely separate jobs and should be treated as such. If you’re lucky enough to come across a translator willing to do both, you should expect them to ask to be compensated accordingly. Otherwise, hire a graphic designer to either create an editable copy of the file in the first instance, or ask them to amend the formatting once the translation has been completed. 

10. Can you please give me a quote to translate my website www.(ridiculousnumberofpages).com?

Typically, website translations are high-volume, so make sure you have a high budget! Don’t expect a translator to spend hours of their day clicking through URL by URL trying to figure out the content to translate just for you to refuse their quote. Help them out by sending a list of the URLs to be translated, or even better, export the content into an Excel file.

To conclude,

Be kind. Avoid demeaning comments, unrealistic expectations, and be courteous to your translator. It’s by no means an easy job, even for the most skilled of translators.

On the other hand, if you are a translator, try to remain calm and positive. Most of these questions are due to not fully understanding the true cost of a quality translation. Eventually, you will find it pretty funny and get a good laugh out of it!

Find out more on Espresso Translations translation services.

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Main differences between translators and interpreters

Differences between translators and interpreters

Translators and interpreters need different skills

See this cartoon in Spanish

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Hi there. This is the first cartoon in the series about the main differences between translators and interpreters at a glance. Although many times most people use the term “translator” to refer to both professions, these two disciplines require a different set of skills and different types of training, too. I would also say that they require different types of personalities, but we’ll leave that for a future post.

As shown in the cartoon, the first and huge difference resides in the medium of expression as translators work with written texts and interpreters with spoken utterances.

What is your reaction when people mistake these two terms for one another?

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Deadline definition

Deadlines in the lives of translators

Deadlines are present 24/7 in translators’ lives

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Translators usually organize their lives according to their upcoming deadline so when talking to someone else they would always arrange for whatever activity to happen after their upcoming deadline. Most likely, after their upcoming deadline, there will hopefully be a new upcoming deadline so whatever extra activity will never happen. That is their luck.
Take five in between deadlines to have some fun and smile.
#staysafe #staymotivated #stayhealthy #stayfun

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5 Best Immigration Policies Around the Globe (guest post)

5 best immigration policies around the globe

A freelance translator at the airport

[Guest post]

Immigration is defined as the act of moving to a foreign country with the aim of living there permanently. In general, people immigrate in the hopes of living a better life for themselves. Otherwise, some people also immigrate to support loved ones so that they may live a better life. 

Why do people immigrate?

As stated above, people generally immigrate to improve lives. However, there are specific reasons as to why people suddenly decide to take the big leap. These include the following:

  • To seek asylum
  • To benefit from better healthcare
  • To rise from poverty
  • To live with relatives
  • To live with a loved one

Factors to consider when immigrating

When searching for a country to migrate to, there are a few factors you need to consider. Since you are seeking to live permanently in that country, you need to be sure of the country you are immigrating to. With that, here are some of the factors you should take note of:

  1. Number of immigrants allowed per year 
  2. Languages spoken
  3. Duration of stay needed for permanent residency
  4. Anti-discrimination laws
  5. Healthcare laws

Countries with the Best Immigration Policies

If you’ve decided to leave your country, the next step is to choose which country to migrate to. Here are some of the countries with the best immigration policies:

1. Canada

Canada is a huge country that offers a lot of opportunities to immigrants. The people are also generally welcoming of immigrants which is a huge plus. 

  • Yearly immigrant count: approximately 300,000
  • Language: English
  • Duration of stay needed for permanent residency: 3 years within a span of 5 years

2. New Zealand

With its literal green pastures, people seeking greener pastures are drawn towards New Zealand. Luckily, New Zealand is also welcoming of immigrants and offers lots of job opportunities.

  • Yearly immigrant count: approximately 50,000
  • Language: English
  • Duration of stay needed for permanent residency: 2 years

3. Finland

Finland’s capital, Helsinki is awarded as one of the most livable cities in the world. Add that to the fact that Finland is known to be the safest country in the world, and you’d want to immigrate to this country ASAP. 

  • Yearly immigrant count: approximately 30,000
  • Language: Finnish
  • Duration of stay needed for permanent residency: 4 years

4. Australia

Australia is a multicultural country that has a lot of opportunities to offer. This is also the perfect destination for nature lovers with its abundant wildlife. Australians are also very friendly and the country has a great standard of living.

  • Yearly immigrant count: approximately 500,000
  • Language: English
  • Duration of stay needed for permanent residency: 4 years

5. Germany

Germany is generally a very peaceful country with very responsible citizens. There are plenty of job opportunities and a very low rate of corruption. Germany also needs immigrants to keep its economy running so you know that you are welcome in this country!

  • Yearly immigrant count: approximately 400,000
  • Language: German
  • Duration of stay needed for permanent residency: 5 years

Whatever your reason for wanting to immigrate, it’s important to read on immigration policies. When it comes to your documents, it’s best to hire a freelance certified translator or global language service company like Translingua to help translate all your required documents as well.

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Prepositions and translators – “on”

Prepositions on

Translators usually work on a tight deadline

Yeah! Another cartoon in the new series about parts of speech frequently used by translators or associated with them. Now, it’s the turn of “on”. In the case of translators, this preposition always finds its way to collocate in an almost fixed phrase for translators. Here’s an example:

Translator’s fried: Hey you! Long time no see. Let’s catch up!

Translator: I’d love to, but I can’t. I’m on a tight deadline, sorry.

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Prepositions frequently used (by translators)

Prepositions most frequently used by translators

Prepositions used by translators

Hi there! Here’s the first cartoon in the new series about parts of speech frequently used by translators or associated with them. In this case, we’ll deal with prepositions. Question: beloved translator, aren’t you always pressed for time?

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Signs you are adapting well to the new normal imposed by COVID-19

COVID-19 for translators

Signs you are adapting well to the new normal imposed by COVID-19

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Hi there! We are still struggling with COVID-19 and how it is affecting everyone’s lives. In these challenging times, here is a friendly and humorous reminder to keep safe, observe the recommendations by recognized health organizations, and keep a positive mindset while we face the new normal.

Separated but together we will be able to go through this. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay at home, and stay fun.

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How COVID-19 is affecting freelance translators’ dress code

How COVID-19 affects translators' dress code

Freelance translators’ dress code has also been affected by COVID-19

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COVID-19 is affecting people’s lives dramatically and translators are no exception. In these uncertain times, here is a friendly and humorous reminder to keep safe, observe the recommendations by recognized health organizations, and wear a mask if you “ever” go out.

Separated but together we will be able to go through this. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay at home, and stay fun.

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Lessons learned thanks to COVID-19 — social distancing

Freelance translators during COVID-19

Translators are experts at social distancing

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It seems that keeping social distancing is not that hard for freelance translators, right? One practice we can easily add to our skillset. We are experts at it (we have been practicing) social distancing for a very long while now) and the somewhat negative connotations are slowly becoming positive traits. Now, more than ever before, keep it up!

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Lessons learned thanks to COVID-19

A freelance translator during COVID-19

Freelance translators discover being in quarantine is their lifestyle.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) awareness: In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, I recommend checking the World Health Organization‘s website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

#staysafe #Istayhomefor #Istayhome

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