A day in the life of a translator

Testimony of our translators


It is Tuesday morning – the weekly deadline for the revision of trade marks.

Lubica opens the file – 52 trade marks from the Alicante-based Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) are left to work on. She has to revise the translations done by freelance translators into Slovak, her mother tongue. This morning she plans to do only trade marks.


  • Via Flosys, the electronic work flow application Lubica receives a translation from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) in Bilbao, dealing with stress at work. She interrupts her revision of trade marks.
  • On her screen she opens the work sheet with instructions on what to do and checks whether any reference documents have been attached.


  • Besides reference documents, there are some former translations in the translation memory, too. The deadline is 17.00 today.


Time for lunch. Lubica joins a group of Polish, Portuguese and Italian colleagues in the cafeteria.


  • The name of the European Week for Safety and Health at Work needs checking. One term used is new. Lubica uses different electronic dictionaries and IATE (the Inter-Active Terminology database for Europe); she looks for the term in the Internet, as well as in traditional printed dictionaries.
  • Lubica talks to Rita, who is doing the same text into French. Monique, a Dutch colleague, joins in the discussion, but still no definitive solution is found


  • They decide to call Claudia, who is the coordinator for EU-OSHA. Among the translators there are 10 who are appointed contact persons or coordinators with the agencies and institutions we work for. Claudia sends an email to Bilbao, asking how to interpret the new term.


A new text arrives on Lubica’s screen. She checks the deadline – this time it is a revision for the day after tomorrow, a medical text for the London-based European Medicines Agency (EMA) that has been translated by a freelance translator in Slovakia, specialising in the medical field. Lubica has a look at the text – she sees that it has been well done and decides to revise it the following day.


Meanwhile, Claudia has received an answer to the terminology problem from Bilbao. She sends an email to all translators working on the stress at work text. Lubica rereads her translation, returns to the electronic work flow and sends the Slovak version back to the Demand Management Section. Now, back to those trade marks…


The last trade marks have been done. Time to go home.

Johanna S.