All professions have their quirks, but translators are a unique bunch. Add to that the many misconceptions there are about what we do and what it actually takes to do the job, and you get some entertaining situations when you tell someone you just met that you are a translator. Here is a brief list of things to avoid if someone doesn’t want to ruin any chances upon meeting a lover of words and languages, with real life quotes to make your read more enjoyable.
1 – Google translator: This deserves an article in itself. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awfully useful app, but if you believe it can replace years of study and practice, cultural knowledge, etc… Please, talk to the hand.
“I also work as a translator as a side job, from 5 different languages I’m not remotely fluent in, and if I don’t know a word? I look it up on Google Translate.” – Say again?
“But your job will soon disappear, thanks to programmes like Google Translate we soon won’t be needing translators.”
2 – “So, translation… how much can you make out of that? Wow! That much?” – Listening to some people’s comments you’d think half of those who make it on the Forbes Billionaires list are translators. But if they think that Google can do 80% of our job, then the shock is understandable.
3 – “You only speak 3 languages? Why don’t you speak Chinese? It’s the future”. – But won’t Google Translate take my job anyway? Make up your mind!
4 – Treating us like a dictionary: I might not be able to translate a random word for you on the spot at a social gathering, but I sure could tell you how annoying you are being in all the languages I speak, and a few more.
What are the strangest things you have heard regarding work as a translator? Let us know in the comments!