Translator and client

A day in a translator’s life

Many people are wondering (and they should if they don’t) what a translator is doing all day long. I can assure you that the translator’s day is very long, many times felt as if it had 30 hours. Unless he/she has his/her own office, the translator must fight his/her “digital” way to get noticed and receive orders. The best place to get them are the specialized websites (some sort of digital fairs) or dedicate platforms, where translators enrol, present their offer and negotiate with the client. Many times, the client is a translation agency, company, office that serve as intermediary and interface between the translator and the end-user.

Obviously, there are the “happy” cases when the translator is the founder of the translation office, in which case thigs get complicated, greater worries appear: will it work? How am I going pay for the salary, rent, utilities, Internet, budget taxes, city hall taxes, sanitation services and the list goes on.

We also face hilarious situations that might go on as follows (situations are as real as they can get):

Client: Hello
Translator: Good afternoon, how may I help you?
Client: I have something to translate.
Translator: Into what language?
Client: I don’t know (!!!). These aren’t my documents.
Translator (after a long pause): Could you call the documents’ holder so as to find out?
Phone rings and the holder answers
Holder: Hello, I’d like to have the documents translated and “apostolled” (the correct term is “have the Apostille affixed” from Apostille) and the discussion continues.

There are also clients who want to pay the exact same amount the office pays when legalizing the translation (some quite violently) or for the translation itself, although they do not understand that any office activity requires time, going to the authorized institutions, which translated into the reduction of the time allotted to the translation activity itself, loss of clients (if, for instance, you are alone in the office, you have to close in order to leave).

When the working hours are finished with the public, the translator starts the working hours allotted to the effective translation activity, which many times goes into the night. The most important part of a translator’s activity is the research. It consists in the creation of terminology glossaries pertaining to the fields the translator is working in. Another part is the study of specialized software, namely translation memories. The translation memory helps us reach terminological uniformity, as it indicates whether we translate the same word or phrase differently than the first time, thus avoiding having two different translations of the same concept.