Are you considering dating a translator? Or maybe you have gone out with them already a couple of times? Translators are a great bunch: well-organized and with both feet on the ground on one hand and extremely creative and imaginative on the other. While it goes without saying that having a significant other who is a translator has its set of benefits, it comes with some issues too. The following post will help you realize what you’re getting into. And don’t say you haven’t been warned. 🙂
Things to consider before dating a translator
1). They can stay up all night… working.
Brace yourself: translators work around the clock. This is true especially of freelance translators. Irregular working hours seem to be a part of this job for way too many people. Be prepared for occasions when they have to cancel their plans at the last minute, work on a Sunday or until the morning hours, because of an urgent job that just came in or a tight schedule. On the plus side, translators can often take their time off when most people normally work and so they can help with running errands or other daily chores.
2) They are constantly on the work mode.
That’s just a fact of life: translators are working even if they’re not working. So, even when they are away from a computer, not actually typing in the translation, their mind is always going back and forth about a certain phrase, comparing, contrasting, looking for a better alternative. It can happen everywhere: while shopping, watching tv, during a casual conversation. Let’s face it, you’re dating a perfectionist – you can’t turn this off.
3) Translator =/= Interpreter.
Yes, they will expect you to know the difference and never use those interchangeably!
4) Translation =/= machine-translation.
That’s another pair you must never, ever confuse. If you’re serious about dating a translator, merely suggesting that what they do for a living is even remotely similar to what Google translate offers, is a big ‘’no, no”. Seriously, it’s one of the biggest misconceptions about translators and their work you might have.
5) They are coffee-powered.
This has a lot to do with points 1 and 2. Coffee is known to be a powerful stimulant, and since many translators tend to work a lot, they badly need it to stay alert. A cup of good, freshly-ground coffee can mean more than oxygen sometimes.
6) They will study restaurant menus in detail.
And not just to find something delicious to eat. Most translators love to hunt for the smallest mistakes in the menu. And for a good reason! If you look through some of the funniest restaurant menu translation fails, you can’t miss their point.
7) They will make you say goodbye to dubbed movies!
If you’re dating a translator, be prepared to watch movies only in their original versions, or pick those whose dialog track is not in your boyfriend/girlfriend’s target language. Otherwise you’re in for a long evening full of comments like: “That doesn’t even make sense!”, “That’s not what she said!”, “Who on earth would translate X as Y”, and the-likes. Whenever they come across a bad translation, a pun or another sort of language teaser, they would try to come up with an alternative translation trying to check whether would have done a better job themselves. And that’s just their work mode speaking again, which takes us straight back to the points 1 and 2.