Dirty Little Secrets for Translators


The bilingual mind – Aneta Pavlenko

the bilingual mind aneta pavlenko

If languages influence the way we think, do bilinguals think differently in their respective languages? And if languages do not affect thought, why do bilinguals often perceive such influence? For many years these questions remained unanswered because the research on language and thought had focused solely on the monolingual mind. Bilinguals were either excluded from this research as ‘unusual’ or ‘messy’ subjects, or treated as representative speakers of their first languages. Only recently did bi- and multilinguals become research participants in their own right. Pavlenko considers the socio-political circumstances that led to the monolingual status quo and shows how the invisibility of bilingual participants compromised the validity and reliability of findings in the study of language and cognition. She then shifts attention to the bilingual turn in the field and examines its contributions to the understanding of the human mind.

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Reviewing the reviewer:-(


You find a potential client. You send them your CV and they love it. They ask you to do a test translation. When you receive their test, you think “Piece of cake.” You do the translation using the best of your knowledge and send it back to the client. You’re abso-freaking-lutely that your test is perfect and that you’ll get a pass.


Instead, you receive an email from the potential client, who regrets to tell you that you failed. How’s that possible? How did your perfect test end up in their Trash folder? Angry and frustrated as you are, you ask them to send you their reviewer’s corrections. And they do.


When you open the revised file, you see that their reviewer has corrected your translation based on an imaginary grammar! In other words, the reviewer has fallen into the pit of common grammar errors and traps.

What do you do? Dbigstock-Very-angry-woman-19666925o you correct the reviewer’s corrections? It’s sad to realize that a non-professional translator managed to sell his inadequate proofreading services to your potential client and that now you are the one who failed:-(

This has happened three times so far in my 16-year career. Of course I did correct the reviewer’s corrections, by inserting comments with explanations, arguments and references to the appropriate grammar rules. I had to prove that the reviewer was wrong. And I did it!


At the end, the potential client apologized for this misunderstanding, terminated their co-operation with their reviewer and asked me to sign their NDA.

A win-win situation, if you are the lucky one to receive your file back from the reviewer. We all know that clients hardly give you feedback about your test piece:(

But it’s worth trying!