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The translators' world, a world of the lonesome ?
Thread poster: Maria-Letitia Chiculita

Maria-Letitia Chiculita  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 23:29
Romanian to English
+ ...
Aug 3, 2009

Are translators lonesome people ? What makes them stay in front of the computer for hours, even for days ? What is their driving force ? How do you feel about that ?

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Rebecca Lyne
France
French to English
+ ...
I love your question! Glorious solitude! Aug 3, 2009

I love this question because I have though about this too!

I think that the independent translator and indeed any professional who is self employed must enjoy their own company and indeed their solitude to a large degree.

I always have a good amount of contact over the phone with cllients, but that is not the same being in a team and seeing people face to face.

I also think that a translator who is happy in their work must have a love for intellectual work to begin with work, can be very solitary.


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:29
German to English
+ ...
It's as lonesome as you make it Aug 3, 2009

There are many "lonesome" professions that require long hours of solitary work. That doesn't mean you can't interact with people during the day/night - by e-mail, on discussion forums, by phone, in person. It also doesn't mean you can't draw a line between work and private life and maintain a family, friendships, hobbies, etc. It's a matter of achieving balance.

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Michael Mestre
France
Local time: 22:29
English to French
+ ...
Internet communities compensate for this Aug 3, 2009

It's not as lonesome as you may think, you see ? At this very moment, there are thousands of colleagues on the ProZ forum who are very happy to have a coffee break with you

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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 13:29
English to Russian
+ ...
Not really... Aug 3, 2009

Do you really miss working 9 to 5, being in an office full of people whom you did not choose, whose company, in many cases, you can barely tolerate, dealing with silly gossip and inter-office politics? Think of it: most people spend more hours in the company of their coworkers than in the company of their family, close friends, significant other. Is this the way to live?

Not us the freelancers! We choose in whose company to be! We don't work all of our waking hours, and we can always make time for people we truly care for.


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David Jessop  Identity Verified
Spain
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Freedom Aug 3, 2009

Alexandra summed up much of what I was thinking. With a "typical" job, you have less choice. In contrast, as a freelancer, you have all the choice you can imagine. It is true that when I am extremely busy, working three 12 hour days in a row say, I get a bit lonely and exhausted at the fact that I am not getting to spend as much time with my friends as I like. But this gets compensated for in the sense that I have so much flexibility in my schedule, more time to see who I want when I want than most people I know, that my successes directly correspond to my efforts, and that I have some very close friends. As a freelancer I get more of what I want and less of what I don't.

Best,
David


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:29
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
You must be joking! Aug 3, 2009

I have more to do with people as a translator than anything else I've done to pay bills in my long life except possibly canvassing door to door for Greenpeace. In fact, there's so much people contact that I usually can't get the serious work done until neighbors and clients decide to call it a night and go to sleep.

There are deprivations, of course. I no longer enjoy the second-hand smoke at work with my last employer. Nor the secretary who was bribed by my ex to spy on me. Not many boring meetings where I can't hear the discussions due to background noise either. Just those awful, long days planned pretty much as I decide to have them, give or take a hundred phone calls.

***********

Edited for the usual arthritic-fingered typos

[Edited at 2009-08-03 23:31 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:29
French to German
+ ...
A positive side of solitude Aug 4, 2009

Hi all,
on a personal level, I find that solitude has a positive side in it, because we are in charge of ourselves and take full responsibility for our choices and actions. And to be honest, I never felt more solitary than some years ago, when I stayed until 9:30 PM at work (as an employee) and dealt with a shipment the department manager should have taken care of.

Laurent K.

[Edited at 2009-08-04 06:53 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:29
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Loneliness: bigger if you are an employee Aug 4, 2009

Having worked in IT jobs before becoming a full-time translator 14 years ago, I have worked 24 hours in a row a few times in the past. Believe me: there is nothing worse that seeing your colleagues at the office leave while you order a pizza in preparation of a looooong lonely night. Intense work cannot disguise the fact that you are working bloody hard... and dead lonely.

At least if you are a translator and work at home, you probably have a chance to see other human beings during the day or evening in these very busy situations, or can even have a pet by your side.


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Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:29
Member (2007)
German to English
The art of looking busy (when you're not) Aug 4, 2009

Sometimes there's just nothing to do. For weeks on end, there's really and truly no real work. But when you have an office job, you're still being paid for eight hours of work per day. So you have to practice the art of looking busy whilst being one hundred percent nonproductive. This as close to the Chinese water torture as I ever care to come.

You can't just surf the web either. Some companies keep track of your internet activity keystroke by keystroke. I used to refer to this practice as "keystroke fondling". If not, then you still have to try to position your monitor so that people (you boss, for example) passing your cubicle can't see that you're happily occupied in a chat room at $45 per hour. And don't forget the reflections from you glasses, if you wear them. That gambling site you like so much? It features all kinds of bright, flashing colors that just scream: look everybody, I'm playing blackjack on company time.

Then there are the "significant items" reports wherein you are challenged each week to re-describe the contents of a ping pong ball. These may be augmented by "progress report" meetings during which you are invited to elaborate on your written description for the benefit of your (equally productive) peers.

You might also have to charge your time to a "number". Accounting typically neglects to provide a "number" to record time spent contemplating one's navel.

As a freelancer, you can surf as long as your bank account can stand it. Or you can start looking for your next gig, do volunteer translations, network, exercise your language skills, research new translation tools, or lots of other things upon which a traditional boss would probably frown.

Is it lonely? I don't think so. I haven't felt lonely for a single instant since I started to translate professionally.


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Boris Rogowski  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:29
English to German
Count the blessings Aug 4, 2009

Let me, will you?

No subpar coffee, no morons, no office hierarchy, no second-hand smoke (as Kevin already pointed out; but I can always visit my balcony for a first-hand one), no commuting, no stupid dresscode. My "office" has three windows facing a beautiful garden and my real neighbours are robins, sparrows and squirrels. Whenever I feel like taking a break I can put a record on the gramophone, lounge in the Amanta and watch the squirrels steal hazelnuts from the balcony. And nothing beats the quiet here.
I don't mind the solitude at all. As Henry David said, a man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will, and I prefer my own abode to any office beehive any employer could offer me. Plus I can always ring someone up and hop on the train to the city (30 min) when I feel like it.


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Quamrul Islam  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:29
Member (2009)
English to Bengali
+ ...
Thanks for raising the point - We are not alone !!! Aug 4, 2009

Thanks for raising such an important point. It is true that modern day translators have to spend a lot of their time in front of the computer that has become a vital tool for them. But this should not be allowed to separate us from the society. In the current age of the Internet, translators themselves are part of a virtual society, taking part in many interactions, and giving as well as receiving benefits from these interactions. As for the real world, translators should feel satisfied that they are serving the language, culture and community of one or more socielties.
My best regards to you, and all others in the translators' community !!!


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:29
German to English
+ ...
The time difference takes care of that Aug 4, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:

I have more to do with people as a translator than anything else I've done to pay bills in my long life except possibly canvassing door to door for Greenpeace. In fact, there's so much people contact that I usually can't get the serious work done until neighbors and clients decide to call it a night and go to sleep.


That's where an 8-hour time difference comes in mighty handy. By 10-11am or so, it's pretty quiet around here apart from the odd US customer.


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Maria-Letitia Chiculita  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 23:29
Romanian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The translators' world, a world of the blessed ! Aug 4, 2009

I would like to take a moment to thank you all for your input ! It's been indeed a delight reading all your answers and comments; you've confirmed once again what I've known all along and, what is even more important, your response has made me feel really proud (as always, actually...) having chosen translation as my profession, being one of the "blessed" that can do this job and being a part of a wonderful, exciting, demanding world, the translators' world ! So glad to be there and looking forward to receiving more on that from others as well !

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sarandor  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:29
English to Russian
+ ...
So true: Aug 4, 2009

Boris Rogowski wrote:

Let me, will you?

No subpar coffee, no morons, no office hierarchy, no second-hand smoke (as Kevin already pointed out; but I can always visit my balcony for a first-hand one), no commuting, no stupid dresscode.

My last office job was a cubicle jungle hell. So, I would add a few more items to the Boris' list: no silly cubicle wars, no obnoxiously loud cubicle neighbors, and no stinky cubicle neighbors' lunches!


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