A recent e-newsletter for language professionals contained the term “hard-worked”. It made me pause and reflect, possibly because at first glance I may have read it as “hard-working”, and I’m tired of politicians going on about “hard-working families”.
Further ‘research’ seems to indicate that the term isn’t particularly common, although – not entirely surprisingly – there is an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary, as a subheading under the very long entry for “hard”. Note in particular the oxen example in the OED.
In any case, as a hard-working translator and translation business operator, I felt somewhat doubtful about the use of the term “hard-worked” in this context. A straw poll in a group of fellow language professionals revealed similar doubts, including the comment: “sounds plain wrong to me”. On that note, one could argue that the self-employed/freelance status enjoyed by many translators and the term “hard-worked” are essentially contradictory, whereas self-employed translators can choose to be, and no doubt most are, hard-working.