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Poll: "Translators are naturally pedantic and obsessive."
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:22
French to English
Innate or acquired? Apr 19, 2016

Are translators naturally pedantic and obsessive? Maybe yes, maybe no. Over time, perhaps the more skilled translators become so to a certain extent!

 

Serena Basili  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 22:22
English to Italian
+ ...
LOL Apr 19, 2016

Charlie Bavington wrote:

This poll's been up for 3 hours and no-one's pointed out this is a case where the unambiguous "partly" would probably have been a better option than "partially"....


 

Odile Stuart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:22
Member (2006)
English to French
+ ...
Deliberate provocation Apr 19, 2016

Quotes are by nature subjective and striking.
The truth to be got here is that translation requires precision or a taste for details; which this quote affirms in a negative, reverse way.
Well done


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
Too seriously Apr 19, 2016

writeaway wrote:

and not necessarily the opinion of the author at all.
Some of the answers do however back my own opinion that translators seem to have a strong tendency to take themselves far too seriously.


And I'm assuming that you're including yourself in this category, right?

It's been my experience that the younger generation tends to go for the “you're taking yourself too seriously” cop-out when nothing substantive can be offered as opinion or insight.


 

Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
Learned behaviour Apr 19, 2016

I obsess because I want to be paid

 

writeaway  Identity Verified
Dutch to English
+ ...
I take my work very seriously but when I'm not translating Apr 19, 2016

Mario Chavez wrote:

writeaway wrote:

and not necessarily the opinion of the author at all.
Some of the answers do however back my own opinion that translators seem to have a strong tendency to take themselves far too seriously.


And I'm assuming that you're including yourself in this category, right?

It's been my experience that the younger generation tends to go for the “you're taking yourself too seriously” cop-out when nothing substantive can be offered as opinion or insight.


my interests and my mind are elsewhere entirely. My work as a translator isn't my whole life (just my full time work) and when I'm with or chatting with colleagues, I tend to avoid talking shop. The colleagues I know who are somewhat pedantic and obsessive would be like that no matter what their profession. I may have an opinion about how something really should be translated but I'm not going to spend time and energy trying to discuss with someone who is already convinced they hold all the answers and isn't really open to discussion.


 

John Marston  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:22
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
this stereotype might drive away potential translators Apr 19, 2016

This kind of stereotype or perception initially made me really reluctant to become a translator. And I think like most stereotypes, there's a grain of truth in there... but for the most part, while interacting with colleagues (primarily online), I've found other translators to be pretty flexible and laid-back.

Although I appreciate that people are seeing the positive side of these traits - that they help us in our job - I don't think being pedantic and obsessive actually helps anyon
... See more
This kind of stereotype or perception initially made me really reluctant to become a translator. And I think like most stereotypes, there's a grain of truth in there... but for the most part, while interacting with colleagues (primarily online), I've found other translators to be pretty flexible and laid-back.

Although I appreciate that people are seeing the positive side of these traits - that they help us in our job - I don't think being pedantic and obsessive actually helps anyone to be a better translator. All it does is make it impossible or very difficult to collaborate with others, which is a part of the job I've really enjoyed when I got the chance to do it (and maybe that's part of the problem, that many translators/editors are sequestered away so much that they don't see how other people do things...?).

That's my 2 cents
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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
No, obsession is not a virtue... never Apr 19, 2016

missdutch wrote:

Being neurodiverse, I am naturally pedantic and obsessive. In our profession, those are virtues, though. Let's hear it for us!


Strange statement... and I agree that pedantic and obsessive people would be like that no matter what their profession.


 

Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 15:22
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
False. Apr 19, 2016

My ex mother-in-law was not a translator

 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:22
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No... and yes Apr 19, 2016

The vast majority of translators I know are nice, sociable and cooperative people. I made many friends in translator communities.

However, I can understand where this question came from. I have known several translators that are VERY pedantic and who think they are practically gods. Alhtough this happens in all professions, not only among translators, these people are quite irritating. If you take part in the KudoZ or Facebook translation forums, you'll see that many people spend a
... See more
The vast majority of translators I know are nice, sociable and cooperative people. I made many friends in translator communities.

However, I can understand where this question came from. I have known several translators that are VERY pedantic and who think they are practically gods. Alhtough this happens in all professions, not only among translators, these people are quite irritating. If you take part in the KudoZ or Facebook translation forums, you'll see that many people spend a long time causing controversy on purpose, and having fun with that (likely their only source of fun), and these people really think they are superior to the others, and put people down highlighting small mistakes of the others and their own great qualities. I have learned to ignore this kind of people and not to reply their provoking comments, but there are MANY of them, and they are all around like a plague.

Even here in the quick polls, I've called the attention many times to the "always perfect" and "always the best possible answers". Among us, there are people who really think looking and sounding perfect is actually a self-promoting practice in forums, not realizing it's the exact opposite. Attracting criticism and hatred is never positive.
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Gareth Callagy
 

Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 15:22
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes. Apr 19, 2016

Mario Freitas wrote:

The vast majority of translators I know are nice, sociable and cooperative people. I made many friends in translator communities.

However, I can understand where this question came from. I have known several translators that are VERY pedantic and who think they are practically gods. Alhtough this happens in all professions, not only among translators, these people are quite irritating. If you take part in the KudoZ or Facebook translation forums, you'll see that many people spend a long time causing controversy on purpose, and having fun with that (likely their only source of fun), and these people really think they are superior to the others, and put people down highlighting small mistakes of the others and their own great qualities. I have learned to ignore this kind of people and not to reply their provoking comments, but there are MANY of them, and they are all around like a plague.

Even here in the quick polls, I've called the attention many times to the "always perfect" and "always the best possible answers". Among us, there are people who really think looking and sounding perfect is actually a self-promoting practice in forums, not realizing it's the exact opposite. Attracting criticism and hatred is never positive.


Yes, I agree with you. I remember all that anger created by the "must have" fans when I stated I ddn't (and still don't) need a second monitor. What for?


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
I like it Apr 19, 2016

Cool poll.

I fit that description. All professional translators probably should but most probably don't.


 

Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 18:22
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
Not pedantic Apr 20, 2016

but obsessive, highly likely.

 

P.L.F.Persio  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:22
Member (2010)
English to Italian
+ ...
I hear you! Apr 20, 2016

Chris S wrote:

Cool poll.

I fit that description. All professional translators probably should but most probably don't.


Yep, unfortunately and definitely some don't, and then the bad, boring pedants have to clean up after the sloppy mess they leave...

We (I mean, the pedantic and obsessive ones, in my specific case, since I'm Asperger, which entails a whole lot of what is perceived as negative by the neurotypical) are in this profession, because we are like that and it's one of the tools in our boxes. (Of course, we also have to know what we're doing and – believe you me – we most certainly do, and we're jolly good at it.)

If we change pedantic and obsessive with the more positively perceived thorough, accurate and perfectionist, I guess most would jump on the wagon, merrily chirping away – "Oh yeah, that's, like, totally me, guilty as charged!"

I don't think those are negative characteristics, not in our line of work, anyway. And it doesn't mean knowing all the answers, far from that. But I don't think I speak only for myself, when I say that I always try my very best, ultimately because there is beauty in the ever frustrating, yet noble pursuit of perfection.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
True Apr 20, 2016

missdutch wrote:

If we change pedantic and obsessive with the more positively perceived thorough, accurate and perfectionist, I guess most would jump on the wagon, merrily chirping away – "Oh yeah, that's, like, totally me, guilty as charged!"



But then the poll and the discussion would be a lot less revealing!


 
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