Translator Sayings

(in honour of International Translation Day)

Here at Heriot-Watt, we love doing cutting edge research but we can also have a bit of fun. On Wednesday, normal service will be resumed with a post on why some of our PhD students chose to do research. But for now, in honour of International Translation Day, here is a list of the top 10 most common Translator sayings.

10) Working from home does not mean I can spring clean the house before you get back from work!

Yep, it’s the perennial favourite, the myth that working from home means translators do nothing all day. Of course, translators can spring clean the house, wash the cat, dust the dog and change the light bulbs before our partners, children and/or pets get home. No problem! This 3,000 word contract will take care of itself, right?

9) These aren’t pyjamas; they’re my work clothes!

Okay, so few translators actually translate in their pyjamas (we think!). Still, it can be a mite embarrassing when you answer the door to the postman at 10am and are a) still in the house and b) still wearing scrappy clothes. Still, it’s better than having to get up and don a suit by 7am. The idea of being in all day leads to…

8) No, I do not need to “get a job.” I already have one, thank you!

Ever met relatives who felt sorry for you because you didn’t have a 2 hour morning commute to an office? Yeah, someone’s logic is flawed there!

7) It’s 5,000 words long and you want if for 5pm today?

Show me a translator who hasn’t taken one of those calls and I will show you a translator on their first few jobs! It’s is absolutely incredible how we can all fit in so many words before the end of the day, even after we have finished washing the cat!

6) Sorry, I don’t do discounts for large jobs.

… mostly because translators don’t want to lock themselves into a poor rate of pay for months on end!

5) Sorry, I don’t do discounts for “easy” jobs either.

… mostly because clients and translators have different opinions as to what counts as “easy!”  Doing 5,000 words by 5pm today does not count as easy! Especially when you have a cat to wash.

4) I use Trados, MemoQ and thirteen software packages you have never heard of.

… which is an excuse for charging at least the going rate!

3) My specialist areas are x, y and z.

… which means you know you are getting someone who knows what they are doing. It also means it has cost time, effort and money to get this expertise so that’s why the rates are so high.

2) Conference? Did someone say conference?

One of the drawbacks of most translators’ schedules is that it means spending long hours alone. A conference, meet up, tweet up or even random course can mean actually going outside (shock!) and meeting other people (double shock!). Believe it or not, most translators actually know how to make conversation, once their eyes adjust to the light, that is. This leads nicely to the most common thing I have read and heard translators say…

1)    I love my job!

Author: Jonathan Downie