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5 Things All Translators Hate

June 28, 2016

5 Things All Translators Hate

Many translators today work from home. While working from home may sound ideal, with no more commuting to work and saving money on gas or public transport; working from home can be a lot tougher than you think. And you know what one of the hardest things about working from home is? People who think your life is easy. Translators hate people who think their lives are easy. And you want to know what else really gets them annoyed? Check out these 5 things that all translators hate:

1. Translating Jokes Oh what fun, who doesn't love a good old joke? A translator, that's who. But why should translating jokes be so unpleasant? After all, it sounds kinda fun, right? Wrong. Translating jokes is a nightmare. First of all, not everyone shares the same sense of humor - even people who speak the same language - heck, even people who share the same culture. So even telling jokes is a potentially loaded gun. Jokes are loaded with cultural nuances, local customs and regional inside information. Beyond the whole issue of translation, you've got tons of local inferences and the possibility of offending your audience to consider. Is the joke sexist? Does it have racist undertones? Does it use a punchline with a double entendre? Is it even going to make sense when translated from French to English or English to Arabic? A punchline that fails to make your audience laugh is about as comfortable as being trapped in an elevator with your boss.

2. Translating Idioms Possibly less uncomfortable than translating jokes, since no one's expecting anyone to be a stand-up comic here, but let's face it; there's a time and place for idioms. And that's generally among a table of elderly women playing bingo. Highly cultural, often generational and usually hard to understand, idioms don't work well being translated and asking a translator to do so is like asking them to invent the equivalent. And idioms were created over centuries of folklore, not in an apartment on a laptop.

3. Translating Menus and Being a Designated Tour Guide We all work hard, including translators. So, what's better than meeting up and getting coffee, sharing a bottle of wine, or taking a vacation with friends? How about going somewhere exotic? Doesn't that sound wonderful? Well, if you're taking you're taking your translator friend with you, then make sure you think twice before asking them to ask for directions, translate menus, hook you up with new people and generally be your designated tour guide. Just because they speak the language doesn't mean they know about the destination. Don't forget that they're on vacation too and they don't really want to work for you, offering their translation services for free, on their vacation.

4. Being Called Out in Front of Other People Do you really want to get on the wrong side of a translator? Then go ahead and correct them in public, the more people around that notice, the better. Pride may be one of the seven deadly sins, but almost all translators are guilty of it. They study and work hard, do their best to perfect their accents and adapt to the culture and there is nothing more annoying than being corrected in public. Translators are used to being the only one in the room who knows what's going on. Calling them out in front of others is a major bubble burst.

5. People who Think Speaking Languages is Easy This is hands-down the most irritating thing about being a translator. People who think it's easy. Or that you're "so lucky" to be able to speak a second, third or fourth language; as if you were born a polyglot. While some people were raised speaking several languages, for the rest of us, we pursued our careers in languages because we are fascinated by them. We studied hard because we wanted to learn and we suffered many an awkward moment in foreign language speaking countries in the name of our careers. You don't hear us saying how lucky you are to be an attorney, accountant, teacher or insurance salesman, so please, give us the same respect and credit we give you. Author Bio Christina Comben is a freelance copywriter specializing in B2B website content, marketing materials, article writing, content optimization and blogging. Christina currently works as Content Manager for online translation services provider, Day Translations. Multilingual and qualified to MBA level, Christina has produced investor guides and economic reports in developing countries for Spanish newspaper ABC, and is motivated by challenge, change and continued learning.