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Lost In Their Own Translation

, , , | Right | April 24, 2019

(I am a freelance translator working from home. I translate documents in the French-English language pair — English to French and vice-versa — and don’t work with other languages. One day I receive a message from a regular customer.)

Customer: “Hi. Are you available to translate a new document?”

Me: “Hi! Sure, what do you need?”

Customer: “I need to get a 4000-word document translated from Dutch to French within the next twelve hours. I need you to use Google Translate and fix all the errors for a perfect translation.”

(I don’t speak a single word of Dutch.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but don’t you mean English to French? I’m afraid I don’t speak Dutch.”

Customer: “No, it’s okay. I just need you to use Google Translate to translate it from Dutch to French, and correct the mistakes in French for a perfect translation. Get it?”

Me: “Sorry, I think you’re going to have to ask someone who speaks Dutch; I can’t provide you with a quality translation if I don’t speak the source language.”

Customer: “Oh. Okay, then. Bye!”

(If it was so easy to translate a document and get a quality result, nobody would need professional translators!)


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