* tons of coffee
** a lot of
OK, your coffee (or anything caffeinated) stash will deplete at least twice as fast as usual.
However, the fact that we know a lot of things should be reason enough for you to befriend/date/marry us. That and the ability to yell/write HELP in several languages if stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean or on a deserted island.
So, why are we such precious commodities in one’s life?
The amount of interesting things and facts we come by while translating or interpreting is enormous. Some (sometimes seemingly useless facts) even stick with us forever. For an instance, if stranded on a deserted island, we might remember how to start a fire with two sticks or the lenses of our spectacles, or how to filter water.
On a more serious note, this blog post is rather about emotional health and was sparked by fellow translator’s Gary Smith facebook post we quote in the header.
I saw that and thought “oh, my word, I almost exclusively interacted with translators over the entire lockdown”. And then I realised why.
First, we know things. Literally. We know more things in various fields than most of the people we know, just because we have to read them before we translate them.
Second, we research. We can’t go with the first meaning in the dictionary in specific contexts. Sometimes that means viewing surgical technique videos (and clickrastinating).
Third, we fact-check. Sometimes it’s a new concept or notion, sometimes is a specific institution that does not exist or is not relevant in the target country, sometimes it’s a surgical procedure deemed too dangerous and forbidden in certain countries.
Fourth, we might teach you a thing or two about working from home or publancing (once the lockdown is over).
There, you have four good reasons to befriend a translator today. We are better adjusted to solitary work, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need non-translator friends. You are our link to the outside world and a sounding board and, honestly, the right persons to ask questions in your specific field.