5 Things you should NEVER say to a translator

We all know that poking a lion with a stick isn’t the best of ideas. Similarly, saying certain things to a professional translator can also be extremely dangerous and can result in serious trauma, injuries or even being cursed in an unfamiliar language.  In order to protect you from those types of unpleasant situations, here are 5 things you should never say to a translator…


1. Your job is so easy!

Some might think that translating words from one language and into another is an easy, straightforward and stress-free task. Well, not too long ago people believed the earth was flat. You see, just because the majority of people think something, doesn’t mean it’s true. In fact, many translators would argue that their job may perhaps be one of the most stressful jobs at times! Therefore, telling a translator how easy you think their job is can be a very bad idea!

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2. How do you say (insert a word) in (insert a language)?

Okay, let’s clarify something. Just because someone is a translator doesn’t mean they speak all of the world’s languages fluently, (Although this is something we secretly wish for at Christmas each year.) You may possibly get an answer from us if we’re in a good mood. On the other hand, if you see blisters on our fingers and coffee stains on our shirt – don’t even think about asking!

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3. It’s only 200 words, can you do it for free?

Yes, sure! We’ve spent years learning languages, sitting exams, gaining experience, being underpaid and becoming experts in our particular field just to translate something for you free of charge! In fact, if you have a 2,000 word document, simply break it down into 10 smaller projects and we’ll gladly do the job! Feel free to ask! Not.

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4.   I won’t pay you, but you can use it on your portfolio! 

Again, please understand that we do not work for free. We do appreciate such offers and although the idea of being able to mention your name on our CV can be appealing, quite frankly, most translators would much rather see your appreciation in the form of a payment!



5.  You drink way too much coffee!

Yes, I know! I just can’t help it. You must understand that coffee to a translator is what fuel is to a car, we simply cannot function without it. Our dreams, hopes and thoughts are powered by coffee. This magical drink is almighty and so we praise the coffee!

coffe for translators

Do you have any personal examples of things people say to you which boils your translator blood? Let us know! For more fun articles like ‘6 things you should know before dating a translator’ as well as industry related news, follow us on Facebook and Twitter!