The Day of a Translator in Ramadan

Last Thursday was my first working day of Ramadan this year.

For those who do not know, Ramadan is the Muslims fasting month and it is a special time, with unique social and religious traditions and habits.

As these are special days, I thought to write about a typical day in a life of a translator or any other person who work in language industry and lives in a Muslim country.

When I start:

Usually, the Ramadan time starts with the Sohor time.

But what is that!

Sohor is a meal I eat by 2 AM to be prepared for the next day of fasting. You can consider it a snack or a light meal. I prepare the meal with my wife for 15-20 minutes. My daughter is 9 years old now and she likes to fast too. It is not obligatory for her, but she thinks it is fun to fast like elder people. She does not fast the whole day as we do anyway.

I stop eating and drinking once the Fajr time comes (the dawn time). This year, the Fajr time is around 3:21 AM. We hear the announcement on TV or through the microphones in close mosques. This is when the fasting time starts.

Fajr is the first prayer of the day in the Muslim day, then we all go to sleep until work time.

Sometimes, I take this opportunity and check my smartphone for any emails coming from East Asia, as I work with some clients from this region. Also, I may spend 2-3 hours working and tell my business partner that I will continue working at home this day. I now many translators keep working till 10 am then go for a nap and resume work after that.

But for me, I fall asleep around 4 AM.

It is office time

We all wake up by 8 am, I got to the office and my wife prepare the other kids for their kindergarten.

In Ramadan I spent only 5-6 hours a day in the office as I have to go early to eat Iftar meal (the fast-breaking mean) with my family.

As I fast around 15 hours a day, I try to avoid any much effort-taking activities. When I worked as a full-time translator, my productivity was less by 25% percent. Now with 1 meal during the day and full 4 hours sleep, I lose a lot of energy.

As you have seen by now, I sleep and eat less in Ramadan, so my performance will be affected of course. But I try to keep that decline in performance to the lowest level by working 1 hour after the fast-breaking time.

Evening Activities

I try to be at home by 4 pm. This is around 3 hours before Iftar time (fast-breaking hour).

During this time, I do 2 main activities. Recite some parts of the Quran and help my wife preparing the Iftaar meal.

We eat Iftar by 7 pm, after the Maghrib prayers, which happens to be by 6:45 this year. We spend 60 minutes eating and watching cartoon series for kids. I do make a quick look at my laptop and check my emails. Do some follow up calls with my team members as I may not be able to reach some of them soon, because it is Taraweh prayer time.

It is a special prayer we do only in Ramadan. For me, this is the best part. We like to hear the Quran recited by the best voices and feel faith much stronger.

By 8 pm, I head to the mosque to pray Al Ishaa and Al Taraweeh. Al Ishaa prayers is a normal one, we do it every day.

These two prayers take around 90 minutes. Some Muslims do not do the Taraweh, but most of us do it.

I am done with my prayers by 10 pm. Where I become totally exhausted, but I still have time to sleep time, one hour.

During this one hour, I go and see some family members, my parents, my uncle or my aunt. We all live in the same area, around 1-2 miles away from each other. We may eat some food that is made especially for Ramadan, like Konafa.

I go to sleep by 12 am and wake up by 2:30 am for Sohor time again.

Then all starts over again.

This routine continues for 30 days, then we celebrate the end of Ramadan and take a vacation for 4 days and get back to our normal life before Ramadan.

Hope I managed to show how we live and work in Ramadan.

Comments are welcome too.

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    • Dear Tony,

      Thanks for your nice comment. Yes, I thought other colleagues would be interested in such an article.

      Feel free to share something from your culture too.