The Great Language Career Test

Do you wonder if you have what it takes to be a translator or interpreter? This test won’t tell you that. What this test might tell you is whether you have the personality of a (stereo)typical translator, public service interpreter, conference interpreter or PhD researcher. Simply write down the letter that corresponds to your answer to each question below and then match them to the key at the bottom.

1)    At a party you are the kind of person who:
a)    hides at the back, reading the new dictionary you brought from home
b)    goes round the room, drinking all the coffee and talking incessantly
c)    loves to be in a smaller group, making sure people talk in turns
d)    brings Tupperware to take as many leftovers as possible home with you

2)    Your ideal work environment is:
a)    an office in your garage, surrounded by specialist dictionaries and the works of obscure authors
b)    locking someone in a tiny room with you, while you talk incessantly
c)    waiting about 3 hours for your clients to turn up
d)    until 2pm, your bed, after 2pm, anywhere where the food is free and you have access to journals

3)    The difference between translation and interpreting is:
a)    the former produces perfection; the latter produces approximation
b)    about £150 per day, mwhahahahaha
c)    Unfair working agreements! Interpreters of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your travel expenses!
d)    most interesting. Shall we write a journal article discussing it?

4)    Power means:
a)    All your dictionaries are belong to me!
b)    I pressed the mic button last!
c)    I get to set my own rates!
d)    Whatever enough scholars say it means.

5)    If you had a million pounds, you could afford to:
a)    upgrade your TM software from version 1.12011 to version 1.12012 beta
b)    buy assorted tech gadgetry to help you look up terminology on the fly
c)    hire a team of lawyers and PR people to campaign for better rates and conditions
d)    pay off your student loans and get a one year journal subscription

6)    Your ideal home is:
a)    a private reading room in the British Library (heat and light optional)
b)    in Brussels, alongside others like you who talk incessantly (sleep optional)
c)    within 5 minutes walk of any assignment so you pay less on travel
d)    anywhere with fast wireless broadband, unlimited journal subscriptions and free food

7)    The biggest danger you would like to face in your career is:
a)    RSI. I already have wrist splints on order
b)    A sore throat. I already have a prescription for benzocaine
c)    Having to deal with client phone calls at 2am when you have already worked from 5am to 11pm the previous day.
d)    Being the person whose photocopying means that the entire department runs out of toner

How did you do?
If you answered mostly a) then you have the ideal personality for a translator. If you answered mostly b) then conference interpreting is for you. If you answered c) and have a great deal of courage, you are cut out for Public Service Interpreting. If you answered mostly d) then you should become a PhD student. Bonus: if the grammar of 4a and the inconsistent use of full stops annoyed you enough that you are considering leaving a comment with a corrected version, you are ideally suited to a career in proofreading!

Author: Jonathan Downie

About Jonathan Downie

I am a conference interpreter, public speaking coach, preacher and researcher.
This entry was posted in Humour, Interpreting, Students, Translation. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The Great Language Career Test

  1. Pingback: Are you a stereotypical translator? | Speech Marks Translation

  2. Claudia says:

    I’ll be either a translator or a PhD student. That’s still to be determined. But I’ll surely be a proofreader!!!

  3. Pingback: The Great Language Career Test | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it

  4. Maria Fossi says:

    Surprisingly, a PhD student! (I always thought I’d be a translator) And definitely a proofreader, which excites me quite a lot to be honest.

  5. Tatjana Gulic Pisarevic says:

    Woow, great test! I am a cross between a translator and a Phd student, which is really…:)

  6. Mia says:

    I’m a translator/ PhD student cross. Very much not a surprise…

    I love your blog btw :)

  7. Graça Ribeiro says:

    Public Service Interpreting?!! And a wee bit of proofreader? I resent that.

  8. I’ll be both a translator and a Ph.D student, that’s actually what I would like to do in the next years

  9. Emma says:

    Ahhahah conference interpreter all the way. With a hint of proofreader on the side. Yay.

  10. nadia says:

    Public Service intepreter?? Wow, that’s totally unexpected, I thought I’d be a translator (which is what I’m trying to become at the moment)!
    Anyway, nice test ;)

  11. Hi Graca, Federica, Emma and Nadia,

    Thank you all for your comments. Do bear in mind that this test was made to be more entertaining than accurate. ;-) It’s great to see so many people come to see the test again. Where did you hear about us?

  12. I read 4a more than 3 times, proof that I’m already a proofreader!
    Anyway, I collected more a, which is not surprising to me :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s