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‘But I wanna be paid for translating’: Bilingual worker refuses to translate for Spanish-speaking patients unless she’s paid more. They have to use Google Translate

'If I don't put my foot down, then I'm not gonna make money.'


Tiffanie Drayton


Posted on Jul 20, 2023

One worker has had enough of her boss expecting her to translate for Spanish-speaking patients without paying her extra for providing the service.

In a viral video that has been viewed over 808,000 times, TikToker Chena Guillen (@chenaguillen) explained why she is no longer willing to budge on the issue.


♬ original sound – Chena Guillen

“When I got this job, I let them know like, ‘Hey, I speak Spanish. I’m fluent,'” the TikToker began her on-camera rant. “But I wanna be paid for translating.”

Her employer, however, didn’t believe they would need her to act as a translator and refused to increase her pay.

“Oh, that’s cool, but we don’t need that skill,” they allegedly responded. “We don’t get a lot of Hispanic patients.”

Guillen believes the expectation that she will translate for free as a native Spanish speaker is unfair because others who attend college to learn the language often get higher pay.

“If a white person goes to school and they learn Spanish, they are getting two or three dollars more than the rest of us,” she argued.

So, she always makes it clear to potential employers that she will not act as a translator unless she is paid to do so, and they rebuff her offer, saying they don’t need an employee with the skill. Nonetheless, a situation always arises where her boundaries are tested.

“Fast forward, I’m working, and they get Spanish customers, and he [her boss] is like, ‘I need you to translate Che,'” she said.

“I need you to pay me,” she retorted.

Her employer continued to refuse to pay her for utilizing her skills, but she didn’t budge.

“Then I look bad ’cause I’m not helping my own people,” she said. “But if I don’t put my foot down, then I’m not gonna make money. I’m not gonna do what I need to do to take care of my kids.”

Ultimately, she recommended her employer use Google Translate if they aren’t willing to pay workers to act as translators.

In the comments section, many viewers could relate to Guillen’s dilemma and applauded her decision to stand firm.

“The 1st time I refused to translate for someone, I felt so bad that I cried but I had to stand my ground with my employer,” one commenter wrote.

“I’m with u 100% it’s a skill and needs to be $$$$$,” a second said.

“Yessss same girl but if we don’t value our worth no one will,” another commented.

“I feel you, smart girl,” a further commended.

The Daily Dot contacted Chena Guillen via TikTok comment for further information.

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*First Published: Jul 20, 2023, 4:53 pm CDT