The truth about translating (humor)

Translation truths, created by @GoLanguages and other Twitter friends

20,000 words: The amount of words (some) clients think can be translated overnight.

Back translation: (1) I can’t proofread and I don’t trust you. Send translation of your translation. (2) Back translation: When the chicken and egg conundrum becomes a language assignment.

Briefing for copywriting style adaptation: Are extremely short and leave the copywriter with more questions than answers.

Capital letters: Something that clients love to put in and translators love to take out.

CAT Tool: a piece of string used to play with your feline friend whilst your TM program reboots.

Charm: A coercive ploy used by clients when they need you to dig them out of a hole.

Client: „Please provide some alternative headlines“ = „We have no idea what the message is“.

Customer feedback: A lengthy exchange of emails where the customer attempts to insert error in a translation, resulting in attempts to insert errors in a translation, resulting in a debate of life, the universe and everything.

Deadline: (1) The unreasonable delivery schedule that will almost kill the translator, but not quite. (2) Deadlines: Clients love to give them, but (some) hate to keep them when they’re on the bottom of an invoice.

Dictionary: Gives you every alternative except that elusive word you are searching for.

Do not query a term if you do not want to get „Translate as per your dictionary“ as an answer.

Excel Files: A file format used by clients who don’t know how to create tables in Word files.

Fee: The tiny figure on your bank account that keeps you from starving and that clients make such a fuss about.

Feedback: Something that is never forthcoming unless it’s negative. Not to be confused with complaint!

Friday night: chances are big your favorite client asks for a huge translation due 9am on Monday.

Holidays: non-existing term in the freelance translators’ community.

OCR: A tool that scans the words „I love you“ as „1 i0u3 40v“.

PDF: A file format used when the client has lost the original source text.

PPT files: A file format used by people who are planning to bore their audience to death.

Pre-booked Job Date: The day *after* the day that the client promised to deliver a pre-booked job for translation.

Proofreading by the client: The phase of implementing spelling and grammar errors.

Proofreading: The PERECT job for grammar-obsessed pedants.

Relevant background material: 20 GB of completely useless stuff.

Research: five hours spent on the internet looking for two words, only to be told it’s a typo and to leave them out.

Rush fee: Trying to sell a ten percent raise as a hundred percent raise.

Sample Translation: A long document a client has split between 20 agencies as a way of getting the work done for free.

Slush Pile: The pile that translation agencies put emails in when job-hunting translators *BCC* a pitch to 500 agencies.

Social media: now your whole extended family and friends of friends can ask for free translations.

Source copy in JPG file: the ultimate nightmare.

Tab Stops: Used by clients/translators who don’t know how to create tables in Word files.

Ten free test translations a day keep the translator’s money away.

Transcreation: (1) a service for clients who know their source copy is crap. (2) Transcreation: The best excuse to do whatever you want by contract.

Translation Agency: The pariah in the middle of the client/supplier sandwich.

Translation theory: That thing they teach you in school that you never quite seem to use in the real world.

Translator query to author is answered by “…[long silence]… erm, just leave that sentence out.”

Translator: A person expected to do today what the client should have done yesterday.

ttx file: a supposedly interchange file format that doesn’t „interchange“ at all.

Twitter: A tool to reassure translators that Armageddon didn’t happen whilst they were racing to a 30k word deadline.

Using call-centre translation agencies in developing nations with non-native „translators“: Time to hand in your notice.

Weekends: The 2 days between Friday and Monday when clients mini-break in Paris whilst translators are expected to work.

White Space: Something that clients never leave in PPT docs and are then surprised when their translated files looks blah.

Word File: a word-processing document that is guaranteed to crash when a deadline is looming.

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