In every job there are certain rules that are imperceptible – have you ever thought about it? Maybe you have experienced some personal failures that made you wonder about proper behaviour while facing new and challenging situations? From the perspective of a newbie in the office, we are going to touch on some rules, ways of good behaviour aka savoir-vivre, and etiquette in the job of a translator.Etiquette can be very important and, although it is not a loudly spoken about topic, proper or inappropriate etiquette changes a lot in the daily work of every employee. So, there are few aspects and examples that we should mention in this area. However, long-term workers may already know them and, if they are eager enough, they can pass on these rules to a newbie. But most of the time everyone needs to find it out at his or her own cost.

In every job, where you are in constant contact with customers, it is preferable to always act friendly and – even if it is your worst day – you shouldn’t burst into tears, be too emotional or make hasty decisions. On the example of working in a translation agency, you are not only obligated to cooperate with workmates but also with clients, so it is way better seen to be respectful, concrete and, by doing that, professional. Certainly, it will draw the attention of potential customers, help in a smooth communication and prevent any unnecessary contretemps.

On the other hand, we do not advise you to lie; it is not a good way to build any kind of relationship, whether it is private or business related. Being honest always wins. For instance, if you know that something is going to take you a lot of time or you are burnt out or overworked, take a break and maybe delegate your work to a different translator. It is better to cooperate than treat everyone as competition. Do not make up stories and lies; this is not positively heard anywhere, so instead try to refuse politely and always use honorifics.

In the work of a translator, it is necessary to be discreet and privileged information should be kept confidential. Spreading any type of privileged information or data can be a chargeable offence. As a translator you are often an intermediary and represent a stranger and an office with which you may be working at the moment. Which means you make a deal with each other, establish rules, and you should always stick to them and be loyal to others. You can make a serious faux pas when you present your own priorities and yourself while working and representing a client or a translation bureau.

Another important aspect is to be punctual. I would say: do not rush when it is not needed, but be punctual with all the tasks that you have taken on. It is a perfect way to show the respect and your serious attitude towards the work. Another way to support this is by giving yourself an achievable deadline and sticking to the plan.

In the context of being professional as a translator, try to highlight your branch of translations. It is not a shame not to be a specialist in every field. We can distinguish for instance: technical, legal, medical, economic and marketing translations. If you know that something takes up your time horrendously and you lack the vocabulary in a certain type of translation, then highlight this information at the beginning and do not take on a challenge that is not achievable.

To sum up, I hope you already know and can acknowledge that following etiquette is crucial to maintaining friendly relations inside and outside the office and, by doing so, to make your and others’ lives more pleasant. In the end we are all the same people, and making mistakes is understandable. Don’t make up stories like your computer is broken or a pet ate your documents. Just tell the truth, use honorifics, and sometimes don’t be scared to refuse politely. To all of that, never ever present your own company while working and representing another’s client or a translation agency/office. This is the key to maintaining a proper atmosphere and creates such a thing as distinguished etiquette wherever you are.

(M. L.)

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