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What Does Christmas Mean To Translators?

As from early December every year, there seems to be something unique in the air as we slowly – but steadily – get closer and closer to Christmas Day. Sure, it is a magical season, full of excitement and stories about Santa Claus, elves, carols, etc.

But translators are said to be from a different planet. At times, all of this Xmas buzz is part of some faraway, external universe we seem to be disconnected from (unless you have kids to entertain).

Some of us keep themselves busy ahead of the D-Day (or X day), with eyes glued on computer screens until January 3. Neighbours singing carols and fireworks bursting outside can’t disturb them. They consider Christmas a dream period. Not because of the enchantment, but just as it brings in a flow of high-paying, urgent or turned down projects. They make big money and like it. Sorry, Father Christmas, we’re grownups here.

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Another group consider the year-end period as time for anything but work. It’s holiday, after all, and checking emails is a crime. They set up autoresponder, fly away to some white-sand beach and enjoy life like crazy. They are often referred to by colleagues as the “lucky ones”, who can “afford to go on holiday”. Maybe because they don’t know what feast and famine means. Or maybe they cherish work/life balance and care enough to live a healthy life.

Other linguists feel so lonely they seek company at all costs. Any gathering is just perfect: bars, churches, concert halls, malls, stadiums, etc. They usually realise they have been locked down all year long and think this is an opportunity to meet people – but not for (business) networking purposes. They just want to relax. To feel the “real” world.

A fourth group is a blend of previous categories. If there is work to do, they do it. If there isn’t, they enjoy some good time with friends and family members.

I’m curious to know about you. Before you set your new year’s goals, tell me how you celebrate end-of-year periods. Whom do you celebrate with? At home or abroad?

I’m interested and am sure other linguists will also be glad to learn from your experience.