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Reliability

As we saw in Chapter 1, reliability in translation is largely a matter of meeting the

user's needs: translating the texts the user needs translated, in the way the user

wants them translated, by the user's deadline. The demands placed on the translator by the attempt to be reliable from the user's point of view are sometimes impossible;

sometimes disruptive to the translator's private life; sometimes morally repugnant;

often physically and mentally exhausting. If the demands are at all possible, however,

in many or even most cases the translator's desire to take professional pride in

reliability will override these other considerations, and s/he will stay up all night

doing a rush job, cancel a pleasant evening outing with a friend, or translate a text

reliably that s/he finds morally or politically loathsome.

Professional pride in reliability is the main reason we will spend hours hunting

down a single term. What is our pay for that time? Virtually nothing. But it feels

enormously important to get it right: to find exactly the right term, the right spelling,

the right phrasing, the right register. Not just because the client expects it; also

because if you didn't do it right, your professional pride and job satisfaction would

be diminished.