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What translators say about their job

When working as a project manager for a translation agency, you get in touch
with both sides of the spectrum –clients and translators. Businesses are
always looking for the best price and the quickest turnaround time, but is this
always the way t94o go? Translators are not machines, and in order to deliver a
high quality translation they need time and concentration. But if they are not
machines, who are they and what do they like about their job? Let’s find

28-year-old Mathias from France translates from English and Italian into French.
He has been a translator for over four years, and he ‘loves the variety
of fields covered by the documents’ he translates. This is an intrinsic
characteristic of translation work: it is always different, and jobs can vary
immensely. One day a translator can be working on a legal document for a court
hearing, the next day he or she might be knee deep in a cook book translating
recipes! 60-something Elisabeth from Sweden even told me her biggest challenge
is ‘to find out what “strange” mechanical parts are called’
in her target language.

The challenges translators face are often related to what makes the job so
rewarding: according to Valérie it is ‘staying true to the original
document – especially when translating adverts – with clever play on words.
The challenge is to find an appropriate equivalent in the target language that
will convey the same meaning.’ Eventually finding that one word that you
‘can’t get your head around’ at first can make your day!

One thing a lot of translators really love about their job is flexibility.
For example, an Italian translator I work with said ‘I always respect deadlines,
but sometimes I work outside working hours, for example in the evenings or on
Sundays. This allows me to do a lot of things apart from working, such as collaborating
with a local magazine or working as a volunteer.’ Edith, a Dutch translator
with over 15 years experience said: ‘you never know what the day will bring,
if there will be loads of jobs, or if you can relax for an afternoon. I can
arrange my own workday, and work whenever it suits me, which means that I can
always be here for my daughter when she comes home from school.’ This amount
of flexibility is not something a lot of people have in their daily lives, but
translators often do! However, when it comes to a deadline, they always work
incredibly hard.

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Danielle Bastiaens

Danielle Bastiaens

I am the project manager and business development manager at Tongue Tied (Manchester) Ltd. I am passionate about the arts, culture, food, travelling and languages and love to read, write and translate about any of these subjects.

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