5 Ways in Which Translators Rock


Translators rock! They just do. Most of the translators I know are wonderful human beings; and I know a lot of translators. Good translators have many traits that relate to their particular kinship to language and culture. Doing a good translation job requires background knowledge, dedication, attention to detail, and patience. When you couple those traits with an excellent command of one or more foreign languages, you get a translator. But what makes translators so amazing, to me, goes far beyond their impressive professional skills. When I say that “translators rock,” what I have in mind are the admirable human qualities of the people I’m thinking of while I write this post.

5) Translators are Interesting People

Whether they are avid readers, poets, writers, painters, photographers, travelers, or athletes, translators are fascinating human beings with varied interests and hobbies.

4) Translators Care

They care about language and culture. They care about doing a good job. They care about their clients. They care about the world in general. Read our blogs and visit our forums, you’ll find thousands of people who pour their hearts and souls into their work, their communities, their families, their pets, and pretty much everything else that makes their hearts flutter.

3) Translators Work Hard

You know that “work hard, play hard” motto? Most translators stop at work hard. They work days, nights, and weekends with dignity and respect for their clients and the task at hand. Translators know the value of a job well done and take pride in their work.

2) Translators are Supportive

It seems to me translators are hardwired to be helpful and supportive. This is no surprise considering that translators help people communicate for a living in all sorts of different settings. But it doesn’t end there. Translators are generous human beings who are happy to share their knowledge and experience to help support others in their projects, ideas, and dreams.

1) Translators are Kind

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see,” said Mark Twain. And translators are experts in kindness. In my 14 years as a translator I cannot count how many acts of kindness I’ve witnessed from my fellow translators. From helping stray dogs find homes to volunteering for human rights causes, there are translators all over the world who are brave enough to be kind.

This post is dedicated to all the wonderful people I’ll be seeing in Bordeaux this September and in Miami this November and to those I won’t be seeing, but wish I would. You know who you are. 😉

22 thoughts on “5 Ways in Which Translators Rock

  1. We’re a wonderful bunch of people, aren’t we, Paula? 😉 I’m really fascinated by all that energy, dedication and happiness we bring to this world. I wish there were more people like us and everybody could be happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ines says:

    Thank you Paula! true passion is the secret, isn’t it? do what you love and you’ll never work a day in you live! is pure love for people and live!


  3. Some lovely sentiments – thanks for putting this into words! On a different note, is there to be a meeting of translators in Bordeaux this September? That’s not too far from where I live….


    • Thanks, Susan! Yes, the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters is holding its Conference in Bordeaux this September. There will be some pretty wonderful speakers… and me. I’ll be speaking about the role of Translation and Interpretation professionals in the international human rights arena. You should stop by! More info here. 🙂


  4. Andrew Gledhill says:

    I have been translating mainly technical, financial and legal German to English at quite a high level for over 25 years and through all the niggles, giggles and thrills, through the tears, screams and tantrums, I have remained consistenly – and hopefully in the future still will be – a complete and utter bastard.


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  6. Olga G says:

    As for the translators being supportive, I have serious doubts – at least, when it comes to translators from Russia. A couple of weeks ago, I visited my sister-in-law in Korea, and suddenly thought that it might be a good idea for me to learn Korean (to make more money working less). As I am fluent in six languages (Russian, English, Spanish, Italian, German, and French) and it takes me very little time to master a new one, I tried to do some research on how demanded Korean is in Russia, where I am currently living. So I posted a question about how much time it usually takes to learn it and reach a high enough level to be able to make decent money. I also described my background a little, just for the people to understand my abilities – and was surprised to see the number of sarcastic comments full of envy, like “oh, I am also happy and rich”, and so on. Only two people out of three dozen bothered to give me actual advice on the subject!


    • Thanks for your comment, Olga! I’m sorry you had a negative experience. I really don’t have enough background information or context to weigh in. My experiences have been very positive (for the most part) and I take pride in my colleagues for their overall solidarity and kindness. There are always a few rouge translators out there who are not very nice, but I think it’s safe to say most of them are exceptional human beings. I hope you have a chance to interact with the good ones (who I think are the majority) in the future!


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