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What's the most memorable job you've ever done?
Thread poster: philgoddard

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Oct 23, 2009

Is there one job that sticks out in your mind above all others?

Perhaps it was so enjoyable you'd have done it for free, or such a nightmare that you developed an abiding hatred for the author of the original copy. Maybe it changed your life, or someone else's, for better or worse.

Here's mine, to set the ball rolling.

Most translators don't often get to travel on business, but about ten years ago, when I lived in the UK, an agency called and asked if I wanted to do a job in the Cayman Islands. It was to translate a large quantity of documents for the extradition of a European citizen in a fraud case, and they didn't want to let the documents out of their sight.

When I got there, the police I was working with said they didn't care when I did the translation as long as I got it done. So I did a diving course to get my PADI certificate, and then spent my days exploring the spectacular coral reefs of this otherwise rather dull place, my evenings carousing with hard-drinking British police officers for whom this was a plum posting, and my nights translating.

The job kept getting longer and longer as they found more documents that needed translating - fortunately my wife was very patient about my return. In the end I spent three weeks there, worked hard, played hard and earned a small fortune.

What a pity jobs like that only come up once in a lifetime...


 

xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 05:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Rates ain't what they were, I fear... Oct 23, 2009

Almost 30 years ago a former employer wanted to be sure of having a staff translator on hand, 'just in case', during a long international conference in Tokyo. The man designated to attend fell ill days before the start so although I'd only been working with the organization for a few weeks I got an all-expenses-paid three-week visit to Tokyo, including first-class air travel, 5-star hotel and participation in all the business events and a succession of top-class tourist visits.

Whilst there, I translated around 500 words - which were for a press release that wasn't issued until a week after I got back to Europe. Even at 1980 prices it must have cost them several hundred dollars per word...

MediaMatrix


 

Paulo Eduardo - Pro Knowledge  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:07
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
You said WHEN you lived in the UK... Oct 23, 2009

Can we assume that today you live in the Cayman Islands?icon_smile.gif))

 

Lindsay Sabadosa  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:07
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
Interviews with Italian Partisans during WWII Oct 23, 2009

A couple years ago, I did the transcription and translation of several interviews of Italian partisans during WWII for a museum in the States. It was fascinating and, at times, very sad.

 

xxxXX789  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:07
English to Dutch
+ ...
You must be referring to... Oct 23, 2009

...my project from hell:

http://www.loekalization.com/projectfromhell.html


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:07
English to German
+ ...
The most hilarious job Oct 24, 2009

For a British party planning and event management company I had the pleasure to invent about 1200 funny new names in German for their hilarious party prop hires. I was a beginner, I was underpaid, I didn't care, I was new to Proz.com, asking my colleagues bizarre KudoZ-questions such as: "How do you call a phone booth-sized container, where people can pour paint all over you until you look like a pig?" We had so much fun. Adrenaline-overdose. I just pulled this website up again after all those years. Five years later, it is still the same - it must have been good.

 

Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:07
French to English
Only one thing to say Oct 24, 2009

philgoddard wrote:an agency called and asked if I wanted to do a job in the Cayman Islands.


You lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky,...you know the rest.

One of my first ever jobs was for a man who refused to give his real name or anything else, who wanted to pay cash, for a website selling generic viagra. Cash was a problem, cos he was in the UK and I was in France, but we agreed he could post a postal order to my mum. Which he did.


 

Andrea Shah  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:07
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Translation of a play Oct 24, 2009

I once participated in a project during an international writing festival where authors wrote a short play in their language, then it was translated into English, and then performed. I think the turnaround on the whole process was under a week, maybe even three or four days? It was a lot of fun.

 

Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:07
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Translation of Jacques Brel song Oct 24, 2009

A French lady once approached me to translate a Jacques Brel song. She wanted to be perfectly sure that her Dutch lover understood the text. That's the only time I cried while working.

Regards,
Gerard


 

Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:07
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Katrina Oct 24, 2009

My most memorable job has been the reconstruction project for the city of Biloxi after it was devastated by hurricane Katrina. At times, my impression was that it would have been better to lock the door and throw the key, so bad it was. It was a very long document for the plan encompassed everything from the reconstruction of the casinos to affordable housing, parks, recreation, thoroughfares, etc. I sometimes wonder how they fared because there were no housing facilities and it was very difficult to hire people to go there to work.

 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Biloxi Oct 24, 2009

That's a good job to have been involved in, Luisa. I was in Biloxi the year after Katrina, and it was a terrible mess. The destruction was worse than here in New Orleans, but New Orleans got all the sympathy.

There have been some excellent postings on this thread. Please keep them coming - after all, surely everyone has at least one job they'll never forget.


 

Christina Bergmann
Germany
Local time: 11:07
English to German
+ ...
privat charity Oct 24, 2009

There is one project that would fit your descriptionicon_wink.gif

I translated the website featuring a handicapped 6-year-old. His name is Noah and he lives near Munich.
His greatest wish is to swim with the dolphins in Curacao.
I did the translation for free and some of the translators I work with helped me with the proofreading - thanks for that again, guys!

It's heart-warming to see Noah race around in his wheel chair.

The English version is not yet online but should be in a bit.
http://noahs-delfine.de/


 

xxxS P Willcock  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:07
German to English
+ ...
not *the* most memorable Oct 24, 2009

I will not divulge details of work I have done for an agency which continues to send me jobs, but going back before that....

a university professor wanted me to read the memoirs of a Third Reich diplomat (not a Nazi party member, however) and select the passages that fit his research interest. I was paid by the initial page count, not by the word count of my final selection, and it was an extraordinary story.


 

cilantro  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 12:07
Italian to English
+ ...
I guess it must have been the first one Oct 24, 2009

An American company in Pennsylvania asked me to translate a really important letter to the CEO of a large Italian electronics firm. Apparently a rather critical affair, since they were complaining that prices had been tripled.
The next day I was away for some reason or other, but I found a really angry message saying that I had done a terrible job. So I proof-read the job another three times and found no fault. Upon probing, the secretary mentioned that I had spelled the same words with different vowel endings, and they had "corrected it".
Too bad I don't have a copy of the corrected document, I could be famous.

[Edited at 2009-10-24 20:27 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:07
English to German
+ ...
Maybe this old thread might be of interest: Oct 25, 2009

"The most macabre translation you did"

http://www.proz.com/topic/71174?start=0


 
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