This is my second blog post of the year and the 60th overall!
Today I want to talk about some myths related to translators. If you are a translator, you probably already heard all of them 😉
Translators like working for free
Unless it is a volunteer translation or if translation is not your main source of income, no translators don’t like working for free. Translating is like any other job and we like to get compensated for the work we do. Just because we work from home, doesn’t mean that we don’t like to receive the same perks as if we worked in a regular office.
Translators must be available 24/7
Unless you don’t want to have any sleep or eat or have any life at all, no translators are not available 24/7. Like any other job, we have business hours and most of us don’t work on weekends and take holidays. Again, just because we are freelancers doesn’t mean that we have to be “connected” all the time. And we have to make sure that our clients understand that. So, please don’t advertise yourself as being available 24/7 if you want to have a healthy balance between work and your personal life.
Anyone who speaks two languages can be a translator
This one I hear all the team. You can speak, two, three, five, eight languages, but that doesn’t make you a translator in any of them. To become a translator, you have to prepare yourself, you have to study for a university career. You may have a native inclination for languages and translation but to become a fully accomplished translator, you need to obtain certain skills that you can only learn or improve by studying them.
Translators and Interpreters are the same thing
Another one that is used all the time. Ok, let’s make this one easy: translators convey their work in writing, while interpreters convey their work orally. And no, not all translators are interpreters and vice versa. Although some people study to become both, most people become just one. Becoming an interpreter is a whole other ball game.
Machine translation will take over translators’ work
Even with machine translation, you’ll always need a translator to review the work made by the machine. MT can be helpful for large projects but the translations themselves will always need human eyes to make sure that all the translations are properly done. Usually, a machine won’t recognize among genders, singular or plurals, proper names, and so forth. MTPE or Machine Translation Post-Editing is a job that will always need a human translator.
Translators can translate any subject matter as long as the material is in a language they know
As translators, we can translate almost anything, but we also tend to specialize in certain areas that we are more familiar with. For instance, I am a Legal Sworn Translator so I have no problems translating legal documents, but I don’t have a lot of experience with Forex and cryptocurrency, so I know that I would not accept translations from those fields. I could probably do the translations using specialized glossaries and dictionaries, but it will never be as good as when done by a translator who has experience in that field.
Translators can deliver any translation with little or no turn-around time
No, we can’t. Clients want high-quality work, but that kind of work cannot be delivered with little or almost no turn-around time. Remember that besides translating, we also proofread our translations. We need a reasonable amount of time to make sure we deliver our best work.
Translators shouldn’t negotiate or increase their fees
Not an easy thing to do or understand. When you start working as a freelance translator your fees won’t be very high, but as you become a more experienced translator, you can and should negotiate, renegotiate and increase your fees. Your clients can’t expect you to use the same fees that you started with forever.
All translators will deliver the same translation
The process of translations is quite complex, and each translator has her or his approach to the language being used. Let’s say that three translators take on the same source document, you will end up with three different translations. The variations probably won’t be too many or too different, but you have to consider where each translator is from, what their background is, if they are speakers of different forms of the language (for example, if they translate into Spanish from Spain or from Latin America).
Translators don’t mind doing unpaid tests
This is a huge myth and misconception. We are not against taking tests for clients before they grant us a project, but those tests should be paid. We are dedicating time and effort to it, so we should be compensated for that.
Can you think of more myths about translators? Please share them in the comments and I’ll make sure to share them in a follow-up post 🙂 And don’t forget to subscribe!
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Until the next time, take care and stay safe!