6 Greatest Fears Of A Translator

Whether we like it or not, the Halloween season is here: carving pumpkins, work parties and children demanding sweets whichever way we turn is just about everyone’s life now for the next week or so. Regardless of what you think of all this, someone, somewhere, at some point is very likely to ask you the seasonal – “What’s your biggest fear?

‘Ghosts’, ‘spiders’, ‘snakes’ or ‘the dark’ are only some of the most common answers amongst the general population. Let’s be honest however – professional translators aren’t quite ‘typical’, are we?

And so, to help your friends and family understand you better, we created a list of the 5 most petrifying things for professional linguists. Scary stuff!


  1. Running out of battery

Nowadays, many of us do most of the work on laptops – they are light and give us freedom of movement, allowing us to work hard from our favourite coffee shop. Nonetheless, this freedom comes at a price, and the price we must pay is being scared of running out of battery. Imagine running out of battery while having a tight deadline & no charger in your bag… Yikes!


  1. No Internet connection

There is no life without internet…sadly, for professional translators that statement is quite literal. We use it for everything – from marketing our skills and finding customers to sending & receiving translated documents. In order to make money – we must work, and in order to work – we need the internet!


  1. Missing a deadline

Being a linguist consist of much more than simply speaking two languages. We always do our best to ensure that our image as professionals is immaculate, as this over time allows us to grow our customer base. One of the things that can negatively affect that image and one we fear the most is missing a deadline.


  1. Hardware/Software problems

Although we fear running out of battery or losing internet connection a great deal, we faint just at the thought of having software or hardware problems. Having a backup isn’t good enough for us…cloud storage 1, cloud storage 2, USB, external drive in a safe under the bed…that’s just the half of it!


  1. ‘Urgent!’ Emails

We love receiving emails – they usually mean that new projects are coming our way. Nonetheless, seeing ‘Urgent!’ in the subject makes us slightly anxious. The relief (and irritation) we feel when it turns out that the client only thinks that ‘it might be better’ to use a synonym for one of the words, is great.


  1. No projects

Most translators work as freelancers and what that means, is that we are responsible not only for the actual work we do, but also for branding ourselves and finding customers. Whichever marketing channel you choose for this, it’s usually even more difficult than the translation itself. Not having any projects coming our way is perhaps the biggest fear of most linguists.

If you have a fear that’s not on the list, make sure to share it with us in the comments and see how many other translators share it with you!


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