Smile, I am a translator!

I am realising that people go through phases when meeting a translator. Here is a brief summary of them:

1) A translator/interpreter?! What do you mean?
2) Wow, awesome! How many languages do you speak?
3) That is a serious job!

1) Do you really get paid for that?
2) Do you really get paid that much for that?
3) Can’t I just use Google for that?

For this one, I have some real examples, some funny chats I had in the last few days. I may have slightly changed the words, because I didn’t take notes when we were talking, but all this really happened to me:

D: How much do you charge per word?
Me: £X. (…)
D: Emma, what’s the Italian for “improvise?”
Me: Improvvisare.
D: (Gives me a coin) Keep the change!


Me: I just received this sticker, it says “Put a translator in your life:”
D: Oh my God, that is so deep!
Me: I know you are making fun of me, but I don’t care!
D: I am totally serious, you have no idea how many misunderstandings I had because of languages!
Me: Yes, and “Countries have gone to war because they’ve misinterpreted one another,” I’ve seen that movie as well!


Me: Everyone was tweeting about ITD yesterday, sorry I filled your Facebook updates with my posts.
D: You are geeks!
Me: I know, but we think we are funny.
D: So, how do you recognise other translators, like when you walk around?
Me: For the bags under our eyes, and the pijamas, we work at night and we sleep during the day.
D: Oh, are you dark night creatures?
Me: Yes, we are like vampires, but with dictionaries!

Of course, some people, no matter since how long they know you, don’t get the easy idea of “using Google translate to talk to me is offensive, I speak your language, just ask me!” So, I answer what a translator always answers: “It depends.”

Me: Jajaja, che carino
J: Hahaha I am looking up “che carino” and all the sites say that it cannot be translated.
Me: You are sweet = che carino. But… It DEPENDS!!!
J: Hahahahaha exactly

At the end of the day, though, only translators truly understand each other:

M: Busy?
Me: Break from translation, you?
M: Break from translation! 50 pages of chemical patent.
Me: Palestine and Israel.
M: Oh that’s tough.
Me: I’d say the same about yours.

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