Latina Explains Why She Doesn’t Translate to Spanish at Work Without Extra Pay
The TikTok user Chena Guillen, who works at a medical office, made many points few Latinos could ignore. She explained how our ability to speak, read, or write Spanish is an undeniable skill, and we should be paid extra for it.
“If a white person goes to school and they learn Spanish, they’re getting $2 or $3 more than the rest of us,” she explained. “I should get paid if I’m using it.”
Not surprisingly, Guillen’s comments have struck a chord with many Latinos who their employers have often asked to translate to Spanish at work. While we all want to help nuestra comunidad, how do we draw the line to be rightfully paid for what we bring to the table?
As the worker put it, “I look bad because I’m not helping my own people… but if I don’t put my foot down, then I’m not going to make money.”
This woman opened up a discussion about demanding extra pay for using your Spanish “skill” at work
Guillen opened her viral TikTok video, which is now at one million views, with her intention to “vent.” After watching it, we really understand.
“When I got this job, I let them know, ‘Hey I speak Spanish, I’m fluent, I can read, I can write it, but I want to be paid for translating,” she recalled.
Her boss’s reply? “Oh that’s cool, but we don’t need that skill. We don’t get a lot of Hispanic patients, it’s okay.” Hm, got it.
As Guillen explains, “I always make it clear on my resumes, in my interviews, I speak Spanish and English. I can write, I can read, I can translate, all that. But if I’m doing that, I want to get paid for it.”
Unfortunately, many companies “always” reply, “We don’t need that.” With Hispanics making up nearly one-in-five people in the United States… make it make sense!
Guillen then opened up a story time at her workplace. “Fast forward and I’m working, and they get Spanish patients. And [my boss] is like, ‘I need you to translate.'”
She replies, “I need you to pay me.” His response? “No.” So, she refused to translate.
“I look bad because I’m not helping my own people, my raza,” she vented. “But if I don’t put my foot down, then I’m not going to make money. I’m not going to do what I need to do to take care of my kids. So, I’m going to stick beside that.”
The absolute best part of this video? Guillen’s final comment: “I’m sorry, Google Translate it. Hope for the best, b*tch.” LOL.
People keep reacting to Guillen’s viral video about translating at the workplace
The woman’s TikTok video continues to be reposted on various social platforms because it’s extremely relatable. So many of us have been nonchalantly asked to translate from Spanish to English at work. Most of the time, we’re happy to help our raza — but we should also treat it like the valuable skill it is.
One Twitter user commented how inspired they were by Guillen’s video. They wrote, “I never thought about using [my language fluency] for pay leverage. You done learned me something new.”
One Twitter user replied, “Didn’t say not one word out of order,” while another agreed, “This is so real. Just because a skill comes naturally to you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be compensated accordingly. Period.”
In the same Twitter thread, one user recalled their own experience with the issue. “When I worked in customer service call centers if I didn’t get paid for the language I would transfer the call.”
They remembered, “My boss got [mad], but hey, they can put me on other language’s queue and get paid for and I’ll be happy to get those calls.”
Yet another noted a very interesting point: “So many Latinas getting exploited for being the company translator across numerous industries without proper pay. I’m here for all of this.” Who else can relate?
The video has opened a TikTok debate about “helping la raza” versus “standing your ground”
The majority of people in Guillen’s TikTok comments section agreed with her, with one viewer replying, “I’m with u 100% it’s a skill and needs to be $$$$$.”
Yet another described their own experience, “The first 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 more wrote, “Being bilingual is a payable skill.”
Still, others did not agree with Guillen, with one noting: “You should help your people.” Another person on Twitter wondered, “What if it’s a life or death situation and the doctor needs a translation. Is she willing to let a patient die over her stance?”
To that, the woman replied in a follow-up video: “The doctor I work for, he speaks Spanish. He can translate to his patients, because he ‘didn’t need my skill,’ he said that.”
“I’m just not going to translate when he doesn’t feel like it… Why? Because I’m not getting paid for it.”
She also noted how she still speaks Spanish with some patients, but refuses to translate.
One comment put it like this: “Medical interpreters get paid $28 an hour. So why can’t they pay her more?” No lies detected.
Yet another wrote, “If we don’t value our worth no one will.”
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