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Poll: Have you ever cried over a translation job?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 02:30
Aug 29, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever cried over a translation job?".

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
Tear jerkers Aug 29, 2007

What a timely question!! I just finished telling my wife about a translation I was doing a few days ago. It had to do with the history of the Jews in the city of Girona (Spain). I'm not Jewish but it really brought tears to my eyes.

Another case would be a translation I did some years back on an experiment conducted on puppies. That was a real tear jerkericon_frown.gif


Luciana E. Lovatto  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:30
English to Spanish
Yes, I have cried twice! Aug 29, 2007

Once I was working on a translation that had to do with illegal Mexican citizens that worked in the United States. And the other case was when I had to translate about a kind of organization that gives shelter to homeless people that are suddenly left out of work and don’t have a family to help them. There were many sad stories that I couldn’t help crying...


Ana Paula Rodríguez, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
Another kind of tears... Aug 29, 2007

I was thinking about tears of frustration!

It happened to me once, just two or three seconds before finishing a very large and demanding project... deadline looming up... and, as Murphy would have it, my computer decided to crash.

Oh, yes, I got to the point of actually crying!!


Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:30
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
I also understood "tears of frustration" Aug 29, 2007

and answered "why would I" ?icon_wink.gif

But it's true that I never encountered such a sad text that it would make me cry because of its subject matter.


Ivette Camargo López  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
Me too... Aug 29, 2007

Sophie Dzhygir wrote:

and answered "why would I" ?icon_wink.gif

But it's true that I never encountered such a sad text that it would make me cry because of its subject matter.

I thought the same and chose the same option, so I guess maybe the poll question was not totally clear...

But instead of tears I have gotten really really mad at the quality of a few (thank God just a few!) translations I've had to review in the past, and I wanted to throw the PC out of the windowicon_mad.gif (luckily for the PC and for me, I didn't...)


M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:30
English to Polish
Once Aug 29, 2007

It was about poultry farm - rules and such. Part about what to do with injured and dead birds was horrible - too many details.
I'm a great animal lover.
And a vegetarian for 14 years, but if I wouldn't be one - I'd probably become one after this.



Local time: 11:30
German to Polish
+ ...
Tears of frustration Aug 29, 2007

I also thought nothing except tears of frustration and my answer was "Why would I?" as well.
I've never been at work on a such a tough matter, and a thought of projects related to poverty or human rights had not entered my mind as I've been reading the answers of this poll.
I wonder if there's a translator who cried over his job, because he'd had accepted it not really knowing how many would be needed etc. I never did. Although sometimes it's not easy to finish a project on time, I believe that everyone of us knows what's possible and what is not and never's gonna be. Let me know if I'm wrong.


Local time: 20:30
Italian to English
Never Aug 29, 2007

I have never cried over the toughest of translations. It's my job, I like it and I like the CHALLENGE above all.



Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:30
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I love my work - so now and then I do cry over it... Aug 29, 2007

I've cried once or twice over Trados messing up codes and formatting.


I've cried over a so-called proof reading job when someone sent 7,000 words done with an impossible CAT tool - not Trados - that does not produce a WYSiWYG printout... and the translation was almost like machine translation in parts, except it wasn't that consistent. It was just hopeless. I think the translator had run out of time and stopped using dictionaries, or was just too tired. I've battled with the same CAT myself, and now I refuse to work with it!

The deadline was very short, but I had it extended till next morning and had to sit up all night, retranslating... then all the next night over my own job...

That is how to give yourself a migraine without even trying!


I have cried over several insurance cases with quite horrifying medical details. One ended happily - the patient recovered practically completely from horrendous burns, but others were less fortunate.

You can't help it sometimes if you take the job seriously.
But on the whole no, I enjoy my work and get several healthy laughs out of it for every time I get frustrated.

Happy translating folks - after all!


Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:30
English to Spanish
My current situation Aug 29, 2007

Christine Andersen wrote:

I've cried once or twice over Trados messing up codes and formatting.

I'm not quite in tears yet, but they will most probably come as Saturday approaches.


[Edited at 2007-08-29 19:16]


Local time: 23:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other - don't remember Aug 29, 2007

I don't remember having cried over a translation, but that doesn't mean I never have. It would be most likely to have been out of frustration.


Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:30
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Twice... Aug 30, 2007

The first time it happened, one technical failure was following another and I was becoming increasingly sleep-deprived as a deadline approached.

The other time I was crying over the subject matter... particularly a poem about the subject matter.


Irene N
United States
Local time: 04:30
English to Russian
+ ...
Yes, tears of frustration. Aug 30, 2007

Nearly 15 years ago, when I was very unexperienced not only in technical translation but in business as well.

On one bright Saturday morning a rookie PM asked me to do a rush job - 3.5 not so dense pages of contract for the familiar project. He gave me 4 hours, which should be more than enough by any account. If you know what you are doing, that is. I made a fatal mistake - glanced at the first page and confirmed the receipt but wasted 15 minutes before I really looked at the whole thing. After all, I really knew the project well and had been working on its contractual part for quite some time already. Surprise! it contained 1 legal paragraph on the 1st page and 3 pretty full pages of... tables with seismic data interpretation results! By then the PM had disappeared in a thin air only to get it back in 4 hours. Again, it was Saturday. I can't remember were it tears or a heart attack... I definitely remember being hysterical. No time for a research from zilch on a subject like this, and dictionaries made me even more frustrated. It became clear that only a miracle could save me from a disastrous failure. To make a long story short, I was lucky enough to catch my friend and colleague who was my mentor in oil well drilling subject for the same project (with 2 tech degrees, including drilling engineering, and 10 years of field experience, 5 of which in the US, he could not answer some questions! What could have been expected of me!!!) and whose son happens to be a geophysist. We located the son who had just dictated the whole thing to me over the phone...

Ask me if I learned more than one lesson that day...:-)


K. Ponnan  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:30
English to Tamil
+ ...
No tears yet but ... Aug 30, 2007

A few years ago I saw an advertisement in a newspaper with a text translated like this:

Text: ..... is documenting a rescue.

Translation: .... is searching for a document.

Still laughing at this ...

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