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Off topic: Most enjoyable translation project?
Thread poster: Roberta Anderson

Roberta Anderson  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:33
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
Jul 1, 2006

I'm translating a user manual for an iron... which comes as welcome light relief and a pleasant break from my usual techie stuff.
[I actually never iron, and when buying clothes for myself or the kids, I usually go for something that will not require ironing... but it's interesting to learn how to avoid shiny patches on some fabrics!]

Occasionally we get little projects a bit different from our usual ones.
The one translation I enjoyed most was... Santa's reply letter to kids writing to him in the North Pole! I liked the idea that a kid somewhere had written to Santa, and would then receive a nice letter back from Santa himself, and that my words would make him happy...

What's been your most enjoyable translation poject, the one that made you smile?

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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Love letters Jul 1, 2006

Twice I had to translate love letters, both from men to women, and I found that so romantic!

I would have fallen in love with them if I had received those letters. They were also good payers, so I thought about the French phrase "quand on aime on ne compte pas".


Another enjoyable project but of a totally different kind was a recent one. Last year I followed a University course, very complete, about wines. My idea was to specialize in order to look for clients in that field. The course was very, very expensive.
But all what I got in 7 months was two bottle labels that were paid with three bottles of wine. I was really starting to think that I had wasted my money, but I received a technical manual for a small machine that can calculate the content of sugar in each grape. I had to open my books again, I had the feeling that I had learned something useful, that I hadn't wasted my money... Moreover, I had also sold very well my knowledge, so I was very, very happy.


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sylvie malich
Local time: 19:33
German to English
Fav book project, specialized field Jul 1, 2006

Over the last 2 years I've been translating a book series for a Berlin publisher. Each (photo) book examines the rise and fall of a particular musical group of the 70s, 80s or 90s as written by the official photographer.
I love these books. They're written for the average joe so the translation of a book of 10,000 words can be finished within days. I've built a great working relationship with them and the pay is excellent for a publisher and quick in coming. Just wrapped the last one up on Thursday, subject: Boney M. Coming from North America I had never known this group.


Otherwise I am always completely tickled and overjoyed when I finally do get a project in my specialized field of Corporate Design Manuals. Love these to death.


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cello  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
Three factors... Jul 1, 2006

...that make an enjoyable job IMO are:

1. that you enjoy the subject of the text you are translating.

2. the client is pleased with the result.

3. you get paid on time

My most enjoyable job to date was about cheese (I LOVE cheese!).
The client, who speaks very good English, was very happy with the work and told me so.
Within a week of sending the finished texts, the money was in my bank account.


What a feel-good thread. Thanks for the good vibes Roberta.

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laura castori  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:33
Member (2007)
English to Italian
+ ...
what happened to me last week.... Jul 1, 2006

I got a translation of a song... You'd think... wow nice!!! But.. what if the text was filled with sex terms?? You can imagine what "terms".. Of course I laughed a lot while translating it and when I sent it back to the agency I was still in disbelief...
The day after the owner of the agency calls saying that the client was upset because the translation was just like porn!
My boss read the song and agreed with me that the text was very explicit... and we laughed at that man thinking he should have never had it translated!
Of course I did some search over the net and found out that song was a parody of In the Flesh by Pink Floyd...
Poor that man!
that translation makes me giggle heeheh

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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:33
German to English
+ ...
Why can't they always be like this? Jul 1, 2006

My most enjoyable translation project this year went like this:

- the inquiry came via e-mail with the document attached for my perusal and consisted of three questions: Do you have time, when can you deliver, and how much will it cost? (I love inquiries like that.);

- the translation was in my area of specialization, i.e. relatively easy for me, and it was relatively long, i.e. worth it for me;

- the file was a well-formatted Word document, so I had no Trados-wierdness to deal with;

- the document was structured in paragraphs and didn't have things like strange fonts, numbered lists, and bullet points, so I had no Trados-wierdness to deal with;

- the text was straightforward and consisted of complete, coherent sentences that only used legal jargon where it really belonged, i.e. I didn't have to come up with verbs missing in the original;

- when I asked about the deadline they said that they would like to have it as soon as possible (I need the pressure), but that quality had priority (yes, some clients do have a clue);

(Now comes the best part.)

- when I quoted them a not-so-low price of €1.25/line they said that they were prepared to pay €1.90/line - needless to say, I was pleased (Can you believe it - and that AFTER I quoted my price?! Score!!!);

- I finished the translation on time and felt good about the quality - there were no complaints;

- I invoiced them and the money was on my account within three (3) days.

If only they could all be like that!

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PB Trans

Local time: 18:33
French to English
+ ...
Tourism Jul 1, 2006

I always love translating tourism documents about my home province of Quebec. It always brings back nice memories, especially if I have been to that particular spot before.

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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:33
German to English
+ ...
The secret stuff Jul 1, 2006

Once I had a court ruling about the aftermath of sham companies in East Germany after the Communist system crumbled. It read like a spy novel, and it was full of the names of famous people from the GDR.
Would you like to know more about it?
Can you keep a secret?
So can I!

(Don't we all get jobs we can't talk about? That's one of the interesting aspects of our work once in a while.)

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Heather Chinchilla
United States
Local time: 13:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
a new challenge Jul 1, 2006

I was approached by a client with a rush job in a technical area I had little or no experience in. Ideally, I would have had much more time to complete the project. I was upfront with him about it and he said I was his favorite translator, he only trust me, and he'd pay me whatever I wanted.

I reluctantly took the job and worked harder on the translation than any other in the past. I finished it on time (by the skin of my teeth). I turned in the project personally and watched nervously as he looked it over thoroughly. It was an area he specialized in from Spanish (his native language) to English (which he was pretty fluent in).

He was thrilled with the outcome and his clients loved it so much that they asked for my contact information, and I may do some work for them in the future!

I won't go into further details out of respect for my client's privacy, but it was a technical field that I was planning on researching thoroughly before attempting to work in it. I was forced to learn about it really quickly, the outcome was good, and now I'm comfortable enough with the subject matter to work in it again.

I felt like a kid who was forced to ride a bike without training wheels before being ready. It reminds me of the day my dad took my training wheels off. He was running behind my bike holding on to the back of it. When I looked behind me, he was gone and I was riding my bike by myself!

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:33
English to French
+ ...
Fun jobs I did Jul 1, 2006

By the way, they were fun not because of the client or because it was about fun things, but because I was really interested in the subject.

- Presentation about elections boycott
- Reports on environmental assessments
- Anything that has to do with publicity - it really makes you use your creative side and I find that when I actually create instead of mimicking something that already exists, that's when I am really proud of my work and it is much more rewarding than other stuff

Also, I had one client who could not stop praising me and sent payment within two days from the end of the job - I haven't sent the invoice yet! I really appreciate pretty much any job that I get feedback on. The feedback is usually positive and it makes you feel appreciated - which is something we all desperately need as freelancers.


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sandrita  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Soap operas into English. Jul 2, 2006

Translating Mexican soap operas into English for export to many nations of the world. I listened to the radio while working and sometimes even sang. It was about as difficult as driving a car!

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biankonera  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:33
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
the bmost enjoyable Jul 2, 2006

those came to me this week as a matter of fact. I love to travel and I love texts about travel so this week was really my lucky one as I got a text about culture roads and one marevllous part of Italy. I wish those would come my way more often!!!:)

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:33
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
The wrong side of the road Jul 2, 2006

I enjoyed a recent job translating an article by the test driver of a Russian motoring magazine about his experiences in Tokyo, testing a Japanese car there. In Japan, as in the UK, they drive on the left. His problems in coping with this were a mirror image of mine when driving in Europe and the USA (but he got used to it in the end, as I did).

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Veronika Hansova  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 19:33
Member (2006)
English to Czech
+ ...
easy money, lot of fun and education :-) Jul 2, 2006

Last few months I've been occassionally translating the contents of tens of video cassettes and DVD's with "adult movies". Really funny! I did not take it as an offence. Namely, I enjoyed the "behind the screen" notes: "The shooting was fun for everybody. We all enjoyed it. ... "
They even described various troubles with breaking the law and shooting some hot scenes in places where obscene behaviour is strictly forbidden! Or how the girls (actresses, sorry) had to travel to some Amazonian village deep in the forest to shoot some Tarzan-like adult movie and how their plane crashed and they were left alone in another village! Imagine the girls "made of sugar", with their fancy dresses, long nails, perfect make-ups and baggage full of cosmetics etc. lost in Amazonian forests! I laughed and laughed and laughed...

Somewhat difficult was to translate or rather transcribe the specific terminology. The English original used such words that - when pronounced - they wouldn't offend anybody. ut when written, they were spelt differently so that they resembled certain action or part of human body. That seemed to be complicated at first sight. But then I learnt again how rich the Czech language can be!))

P.S. The client had to be really very contented since he overpaid me! The only sad point was that i had to clear my computer after that job - it was fouled up with all that adult crap (I admit, I had to search the net a lot!)))

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María Teresa Taylor Oliver  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
My most enjoyable projects Jul 2, 2006

Two of the most interesting and entertaining projects I've worked on have both been for the same end client, a nonprofit educational organization.

I had to translate the scripts for documentary pieces on scientific expeditions, and one of them was about Panama's rainforest, so I took extra pride in that one!! The other one was about the disappearing wetlands on the Mississippi delta (this was before Katrina).

In spite of being scientific (I only know very basic science, from my days as a science major in high school), they weren't heavy on technical language. Since the documentaries were aimed for school kids, to get them interested in science (biology, mostly), the language was pretty straightforward.

I loved researching the names of animals and plants. I also loved the fact that I could almost feel the passion with which all the scientists described their work. Those documents were almost alive, I could almost hear those guys speak...

I enjoyed those projects so much that the project manager at the agency told me he could indeed tell I liked doing the work, he was very pleased with the results!

Another (more recent) project I enjoyed was one for which I didn't get paid: it was my graduate thesis and I had to translate part of a book by Noam Chomsky. The subject was highly political, and I loathe politics, but that's precisely the reason I chose it. I figured, since I don't like the subject matter, I'm not familiar with the terminology, and the whole point of a thesis is to learn, right? And I did learn a lot while researching the terms and turns of phrase. I feel smarter now just for having translated Chomsky

I mostly work with very technical (and very dull) documents (about electronics), so when I get to work on other subjects, I jump at the opportunity!

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