Success at work, chaos at home: a directly proportional relationship

By Marion Rhodes
English~German Translator

You can always tell when business is going well from the state my house is in. I mean, honestly, who has time to clean with deadlines looming over their heads? I’ve been spending the last few nights proofreading translations, both my own and those by other translators, so forgive me if I don’t have time – or energy – to pick up the books my youngest scattered across the floor in my office earlier in the day. I mean, what’s the point anyway? I have more work to do tomorrow, and I know the little monsters are just going to create more chaos then, so why bother?

Yes, being a work-from-home mom is all about priorities. Since we are still on summer break (one more week!), I usually have at least one of them home with me at any given time. In fact, more often than not, there are a few minions running around, picked up from various houses in the neighborhood. The only way I get any work done these days is if I completely ignore them and the tornado of toys left in their wake. That way, I may just get a few hundred words translated during the daylight hours, which I carefully proofread after the kids’ bedtime to make sure I didn’t accidentally write down my thoughts of strangling my offspring during their last argument.

My home office in its current, kid-induced state.

My home office in its current, kid-induced state.

It is a never-ending battle in the best of times: I clean, the kids wreak havoc, I tell them to tidy up, we pick up their toys together, and somehow, half an hour later, my house is once again in a state of despair. I’ve come to terms with the fact that while I am tied up in a project, there is no point in wasting time on clean-up efforts. In the end, it is much more important that I deliver a translation my client can be proud of than run a household that I can be proud of. Let’s face it: My translation might end up on the Internet, while the current state of my house usually remains a mystery to the outside world – unless I take a photo and post it on my blog, that is.

I’m no slob by any means. In fact, I have a tendency to be quite obsessive compulsive about keeping things in order. Seeing books and puzzles on the floor or blankets draped over couches to build forts makes me anxious. I usually spend a good part of my day organizing, rearranging and decorating. That’s during slow days, of course. The more translation work I have, the better I am at looking past the mess to what really matters: I get to be there for my children while pursuing my professional passion, and my children are making the best of their mom’s limited availability. It’s a win-win, really.

English into Elvish Translator in High Demand

LOTR (1 of 1)

By Marion Rhodes
Translator for German and English

A little while ago, one of my colleagues from the Colorado Translators Association forwarded a funny email thread featuring one translator’s reply to a particularly gullible scammer. When only a few days later, I found a very similar email in my inbox, I couldn’t help but feel inspired. Here’s the email exchange that transpired as a result. (Please note that I am not including the scammer’s “name,” as there are several people by that name in real life.)

On Monday, July 28, 2014, xxx wrote:
>> Hello,
>> I have a piece of review in English for translation to be translated,
>> I will like to know the language you handle and charging rate, how
>> soon you will deliver the job and payment method.
>> I await these detail
>> Regards
>> —
>> xxx
>> [Street Address]
>> D-70173 Stuttgart

On 7/28/14, Marion Rhodes wrote:
> I translate Dothraki into Elvish. The rate is $23.65 per source word.

>> >> > On Monday, July 28, 2014, xxx>> >> > wrote:
>> >> >> Can you do English to Elvish? This is what I may need.

>> On 7/28/14, Marion Rhodes wrote:
>> >> > I’m afraid Elvish is a tough language. I will have to refresh my memory with a trip to Middle Earth first, so it may take quite a while to do the translation. I hope you’re in no hurry?
>> >> >

> On Tuesday, July 29, 2014, xxx wrote:
>> >> Is it the only language you do?

>> On 7/29/14, Marion Rhodes wrote:
>> > It is my only native language. I feel it would be unprofessional for me to translate into a non-native language.

On Tuesday, July 29, 2014, xxx wrote:
>> okay.
>> What could be the cost?
[Note: Source document was attached]

>> On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 12:43 PM, Marion Rhodes wrote:
>> > The total price for this translation would be $1,345,654. This includes the per-word rate quoted in my earlier email, as well as a trip to Middle Earth for research purposes and compensation for the time I need to spend watching a Lord of the Rings marathon.

After that last email, I didn’t hear back from the scammer, so I’m guessing he or she finally smelled a rat. Quite honestly, I was surprised that it took him or her this long. Apparently, when it comes to fictitious languages, translation scammers still have a lot to learn…