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Thread poster: Frances Leggett

Frances Leggett  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:42
Italian to English
+ ...
Dec 21, 2010

Taken from a Facebook Page created by Edgardo Galende called "You know you're a translator when..."

How many of these do we all identify with!


You know you're a translator when...

1- You get the same empty stare after answering the question "What do you do?" or "What do you study?"

2- People tell you "So you're a translator... You mean you just study a foreign language? You work as a teacher, right? What else do you do? How many languages do you speak... 10?"

3- People ask you how to say something in a different language, because a translator is supposed to have learnt the whole dictionary by heart...
(Translator ≠ WALKING DICTIONARY!)

4- You admit you suck at maths.

5- You know how to use Trados, Wordfast, etc.

6- Sleeping is not as important as deadlines.

7- You realise that you can't avoid learning new things all the time with each text you translate.

8- You learn to loathe gerunds and false friends.

9- You know Alicia Zorrilla.

10- You're aware of issues such as gender and political correctness, which no one around you seems to care about.

11- You frequently have nightmares in which you're chased by Saussure, Chomsky, Halliday or Pinker.

12- You find certain words, expressions or translations utterly amusing... Yes, you laugh at words.

13- You have fun translating proverbs or idioms literally, such as "putting was the goose".

14- You finally learn how to use proper punctuation.

15- You find yourself looking up a word in the dictionary and you know you've already looked it up a thousand times before in your life.

16- You have run out of insults because this peculiar word seems to be nowhere in the world, but in the text you need to translate.

17- You find out how much money you've spent in books, photocopies and dictionaries and you realize you could be a millionaire if you had saved up all that money.

18- You can remember making weird noises to yourself, just because you were practising your Lenis Voiced Dental Fricative.

19- You know that the same meaning is hidden in these two sentences: "It's rude to point" and "Deixis is rude".

20- You know that the Spanish words "interface" and "interfaz" are not synonyms.

21- You can hold a coherent conversation with a colleague about derivational morphology or passive and middle voice.

22- You can list all the differences between unergative and unaccusative verbs, and you know the difference between a creole and a pidgin.

23- You know the difference between PRO and traces/copies, and ECM and subject/object control verbs.

24- You know the different countless types of Spanish polysemic "se".

25- Drawing trees is the worst thing that can ever happen to you, because it no longer means pencils, branches and leaves, but subject, tense phrase and wh- movement.

26- You no longer distinguish weekends from the other days of the week, since weekends are no longer equated to leisure time, relaxation, happiness and glory.

27- You know how useless the RAE dictionary is, but you learn to cope with it.

28- You've got so used to working on your own, that sometimes you think you have a phobia for crowds.

29- You've resorted so many times to all techniques for keeping you awake for hours, that you've become an expert on the cafeine content of ALL drinks.

30- It doesn't matter how hard you try to achieve the best translation, there's always going to be someone who will disagree and will suggest changing absolutely everything.

31- You must restrain yourself from slapping people on their faces when you hear them producing horrible ungrammatical sentences.

32- You find yourself surrounded by too many women and few men.

33- You're starting a band called "Colourless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously", and your hit song is "I'm a lonely NP".

34- You measure your daily life in translations... (e.g. "When I get this translation done, I'll have dinner" or "Three more paragraphs and I can take a shower)

35- Your alarms go off every time you read a restaurant menu.

36- A friend asks for the meaning of a word and you clear your throat and start giving a lecture on etymology.

37- You keep 12 web pages open at the same time while you're working.

38- It takes you at least 10 minutes to look up just one word in the dictionary, because you find at least 10 other interesting words before the one you need.

39- Context is your "modus operandi/vivendi".


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oxygen4u
Portugal
Local time: 10:42
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Almost all of them!! Dec 21, 2010



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tfaulkner  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:42
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Almost all of them!!! (2) Dec 21, 2010

"Sleeping is not as important as deadlines." - Sleeping? What does "sleeping" mean?

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:42
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I give up. Dec 21, 2010

If I have to go through all that, I'll never be a translator.

I did once borrow a book by Chomsky, and I actually bought one by Pinker (it was on offer at quarter price...) but I never read either of them. What has all that got to do with translation anyway?

I prefer things like the Illustrated Building Dictionary or the Ali Bab Gastronomiske Haandbog as bedtime reading.

I refer to all peculiar grammatical constructions as ablative absolutes (an expression I learnt from my Latin teacher, but never understood), or the Danish expression 'ordknuder' (something like Gordian knots). Maybe I should get to know gerunds for a change!

And who is Alicia Zorilla?

But OK, I do admit to a lot of them...

Happy translating!



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Vera Schoen  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 11:42
Member (2008)
German to Swedish
+ ...
34 Dec 21, 2010

"34- You measure your daily life in translations... (e.g. "When I get this translation done, I'll have dinner" or "Three more paragraphs and I can take a shower)"

Oh dear Lord, I actually do that...

Happy Holidays!
Vera


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AntDunn
Local time: 10:42
German to English
31 Dec 21, 2010

31- You must restrain yourself from slapping people on their faces when you hear them producing horrible ungrammatical sentences.

I actually get angry in supermarkets when I see the "10 items or less" checkout!

This really lightened my day


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Frances Leggett  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:42
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
15 and 16.... and 36 Dec 21, 2010

15 and 16 happen to me all the time!

15 - You find yourself looking up a word in the dictionary and you know you've already looked it up a thousand times before in your life.

16 - You have run out of insults because this peculiar word seems to be nowhere in the world, but in the text you need to translate.

It is particularly frustrating when that happens!

I probably identify with all of them!

And I've been told by several people that I always do 36... oops!
36 - A friend asks for the meaning of a word and you clear your throat and start giving a lecture on etymology.

[Edited at 2010-12-21 17:08 GMT]


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 06:42
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
About half apply. I don't read Chomsky! Dec 21, 2010

Frances Leggett wrote:

6- Sleeping is not as important as deadlines.

12- You find certain words, expressions or translations utterly amusing... Yes, you laugh at words.

26- You no longer distinguish weekends from the other days of the week, since weekends are no longer equated to leisure time, relaxation, happiness and glory.

37- You keep 12 web pages open at the same time while you're working.

38- It takes you at least 10 minutes to look up just one word in the dictionary, because you find at least 10 other interesting words before the one you need.

39- Context is your "modus operandi/vivendi".


These are the ones that particularly resonate with me! My daughter insists that I add one:

40- You write marginal notes in the books you read for fun, commenting on typos, poor word choices, errors in logic or continuity, etc.


Who's Alicia Zorrilla? (OK, now I know, I googled, but you know what I mean.)

Jane


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Stefano Papaleo  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:42
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Almost all of them... and here are some more... Dec 21, 2010

I can relate to that list, at least to many of those points...

Here are some more that just crossed my mind...

You know you are a translator..

- When your clients always seem to have serious memory issues when it comes to paying your invoices

- When you start counting words everywhere you go... road signs, restaurant menus... and even when talking to your friends

- When people consider you an animal abuser just because you use CATs

- When you know your pension is as real as the golden pot at the end of the rainbow

- When you start posting on forums/blogs, writing emails and IMing in 3/4 different languages at the same time!

- When you send cover letters and CVs as often as a graduate in his/her twenties even when you're 50

- When "rush job" or "ASAP" become your middle name

- When everyone thinks your rates are ALWAYS just too high... and they drive Mercedeses and drink Champagne on a daily basis...

- When you wake up in the midle of the night sweating and screaming like crazy just beacuse you've just realized the translation you sent has ONE typo

- When you start thinking about a cover-up story because people don't know what a translator is

- When you feel as guilty as ever when you're just thinking about taking some time off


Happy Holidays!


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oxygen4u
Portugal
Local time: 10:42
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Stefano... Dec 21, 2010

Your last item on the list was spot on...

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Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:42
Italian to English
+ ...
What sorcery is this? Dec 21, 2010

- when they cry 'Burn the Witch' because you know more than one language, and look at you as if conjugating a verb required a third nipple

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sokolniki  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:42
English to Russian
+ ...
And in a movie theater.. Dec 21, 2010

.. instead of focusing on the movie plot, you catch yourself doing simultaneous translation 'cause this is the only mode your brain can function in - or did somebody say that already?

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Frances Leggett  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:42
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I nearly write notes... Dec 21, 2010

JaneTranslates wrote:


40- You write marginal notes in the books you read for fun, commenting on typos, poor word choices, errors in logic or continuity, etc.

Jane


But I usually stop myself just in time. I sometimes dream about bad punctuation, especially after long stints of proofreading!


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Frances Leggett  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:42
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Great points! Dec 21, 2010

Stefano Papaleo wrote:

I can relate to that list, at least to many of those points...

Here are some more that just crossed my mind...

You know you are a translator..

- When your clients always seem to have serious memory issues when it comes to paying your invoices

- When you start counting words everywhere you go... road signs, restaurant menus... and even when talking to your friends

- When people consider you an animal abuser just because you use CATs

- When you know your pension is as real as the golden pot at the end of the rainbow

- When you start posting on forums/blogs, writing emails and IMing in 3/4 different languages at the same time!

- When you send cover letters and CVs as often as a graduate in his/her twenties even when you're 50

- When "rush job" or "ASAP" become your middle name

- When everyone thinks your rates are ALWAYS just too high... and they drive Mercedeses and drink Champagne on a daily basis...

- When you wake up in the midle of the night sweating and screaming like crazy just beacuse you've just realized the translation you sent has ONE typo

- When you start thinking about a cover-up story because people don't know what a translator is

- When you feel as guilty as ever when you're just thinking about taking some time off



These are great! I can identify with all of these too - especially the last one!


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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:42
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Is there any other way? Dec 21, 2010

Vera Schoen wrote:

"34- You measure your daily life in translations... (e.g. "When I get this translation done, I'll have dinner" or "Three more paragraphs and I can take a shower)"



Cheers


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