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  • Clare Murray

Dear Santa: Christmas wishlist of a scientific translator

Back in the day in Scotland, when my four siblings and I were just wee people, we always wrote a letter to Santa with all our Christmas wishes. We'd imagine the words magically wafting up the chimney, then head excitedly to bed with dreams of Sindy dolls, PLAYMOBIL figures, Space LEGO sets and bikes, making secret plans to wake each other up at stupid o'clock on Christmas morning.

Girl writes her letter to Santa Claus next to a Christmas tree.

Fast forward a year or two and I'm now a freelance scientific translator living in Spain. The wishlist may have changed but the excitement for the season hasn't gone away. So here's my 2023 letter to Santa, penned from Granada. Let the Christmas wishlist of a scientific translator begin!

Dear Santa,

Yuletide Greetings! I hope you are having a very jolly time in the run up to Christmas. This year my clients tell me I’ve been very, very good, working hard to deliver their scientific translations and proofreading articles like a champ. So, drum roll please! Here’s my Christmas wishlist for your elf squad to sprinkle their magic on.


Health comes first

Before I delve into the material realm, let me first ask for the ultimate gift - a sprinkling of good health magic to help maintain peak levels of motivation and productivity. A hearty ho-ho-ho needs a healthy host!

Magical lexicon database

Google’s great and all that, but picture a treasure trove of every conceivable scientific and academic term, neatly organised in a single database by discipline, usage and context. A repository of scientific terminology at my fingertips. One please.

Time freezing watch

In the world of freelance scientific translation, time is precious and there's never enough of it. So I'm dreaming about a watch that, at the touch of a button, will temporarily halt time when deadlines are looming, articles are piling up or I'd just like to go for tapas instead!

Gym pass

As a freelance scientific translator working from home, I find myself doing quite a bit of sitting. These sedentary hours can slip away when lost in thought and words. That's why I'd like a gym pass that comes with a daily Zumba class as a minimum. Abs and Body Pump are optional. But if you want to throw in a holographic personal trainer to keep me in shape, I won't complain.

The World's Greatest Ever Mouse & Mouse Mat

The World's Greatest Ever Mouse and Mouse Mat would make the perfect stocking filler and would be an ergonomic delight for my endless clicking and scrolling. Oh, and Santa, while we're on the subject of endless, a never-ending supply of batteries too, please.

A scholar's passport

Few gifts could rival the usefulness of a scholar’s passport, granting unlimited, unrestricted and free access to every English language scientific and academic journal. Yes, all of them (this gift might even save more time than the watch!) So please use your magic Santa and see what you can do.

Proofreading fairy

Think Tinkerbell, but with a perfect command of the English language and the magical touch to sprinkle fairy dust on the tiniest of details. The ability to make the perfect soy latte and a refreshing summer iced green tea would be a delightful bonus to her fairy talents.

A Windows Wonderland

I realise this might be asking a bit much, but Santa if you could whip up a Christmas miracle and make sure that MS Windows doesn't ever crash, freeze, update at really unhelpful times or subject me to the Blue Screen of Death, I'd really appreciate it. If you can't manage that then maybe I'd settle for a unicorn or two.

Wine club subscription

Last but not least, a wine club membership would be just dandy, one that would make even Miles from the film Sideways sit up and take notice. But skip the Merlot. Obviously.


Santa, I hope I'm not pushing the limits of your magical powers, but if anyone can make my wishes come true, it's you. I've made a conscious effort to be really good this year, especially when it comes to grammar and spelling and all that jazz.

Wishing you a stress-free Christmas season. As usual, you'll find some shortbread and a wee dram of Oban under the tree.

Festively yours,


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