The biggest mistake that translators make

Freelance Translators - Tranlsation Business - blog post by Valerij Tomarenko

“A night call”
(Hamburg-Harburg, a view of the window of the Sammlung Falckenberg art gallery)

If you think it is about not using a spell checker or translating (or not translating) only into their native language, my conclusion may disappoint you. The post is not about mistakes that translators are prone to make in their translations, rather about their business approach.

Translator forums and blogs are full of moaning and groaning. The workload is ever increasing, deadlines are getting shorter and shorter. It is all pressure, stress, and night work. At the same time, as an outsourcer, I know how it feels at the other end of line when a good and busy translator that you work together with is unavailable or you have to find a new subcontractor for a large, multilingual project.

Are good translators too busy for their own good? Are they “focusing zen-like on the present“ (Chris Durban in her, as always, inspiring comment)? Translators are literate, but not numerate, as Chris says. Perhaps they just don’t have time to do the math, take a break and think what they could possibly improve in their business and make their life (and also life of their clients) more enjoyable.

Well, if you have time for some tips and reflections (as well as very nice, as always, music videos chosen by the Patent Translator), you are most cordially welcome. Here goes. My post on freelance translators’ “biggest mistake” was published on Steve Vitek’s Patent Translator blog. Thank you very much, Steve, for editing, proofreading, publishing, comments and support. And for your videos!


  1. Transcribe an audio file’s avatar

    Your whole article is good for me because i am new in this industry and i am doing a job at transcription company and i am getting experience and get new things and experience. Your article is very valuable for me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.



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