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Poll: Who played the greatest influence on you becoming a translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Apr 6, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Who played the greatest influence on you becoming a translator?".

This poll was originally submitted by John Cutler

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A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 10:49
Partial member
Spanish
+ ...
Same poll Apr 6, 2007

We had this poll on Wednesday: http://www.proz.com/topic/69894

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:49
Member (2006)
French to English
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I must have missed it on Wednesday Apr 7, 2007

Claudia Alvis wrote:

We had this poll on Wednesday: http://www.proz.com/topic/69894


I must have missed this poll on Wednesday. Perhaps it was closed early for some reason.
I answered "another translator", but I could have answered "all of the above". Both my parents were part-time translators, but the clincher for me was my dissatisfaction with being an employee and the fact that I knew someone who'd made a successful career as a full-time freelancer. I took the plunge, following his encouragement, and have never regretted it. My son has done the same - his decision, but doubtless encouraged by my enthusiasm. My parents did French, Spanish, German and Italian. My son does Dutch.
Regards,
Jenny.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:49
Dutch to English
+ ...
Other Apr 7, 2007

In my case:

1989 - 1995: it was an integral part of my job as a lawyer in South Africa. At the time I graduated (1991), I was one of the only English-speaking graduates at the section of the Department of Justice where I worked (i.e. Master of the Supreme Court, which dealt with deceased estates, insolvent estates, liquidations, trusts, estates of minors and the mentally ill - curatorships). I translated Afrikaans » English documents on a daily basis. Sometimes it wasn't direct translation, it was more abstraction. I would have the case file in Afrikaans but have to draft pleadings on behalf of the State in English. I also presided over Insolvency Court in both languages.

1995-2001: it was a daily part of my job as a lawyer in private practice, specialising in insolvencies and liquidations. As my two partners were Afrikaans, much of the work that had to be drafted in English again came over my desk (either to be translated from what another partner had drafted in Afrikaans, to edit what they had written in English - they returned the favour in the other direction - or to be drafted in English from Afrikaans source documents). When appearing in Insolvency Court, I also had to argue in whichever language the case was being heard.

end 2001 - date: full-time legal translator/editor after moving to Portugal. Although I speak Portuguese well, my verbal skills will never be on an absolute par with Portuguese lawyers, so working in a fringe area(s) supporting them, rather than mainstream law, has worked out well. That said, most of my work is normally Dutch. I studied Afrikaans/Nederlands at university level and as the South African legal system is a Roman-Dutch system, with strong similarities to that of the Netherlands and Belgium (as well as the UK in areas like corporate law), I've been fortunate to create a niche for myself.

So, for the first 12 years it was part of another job that I hardly thought about formally as translation - it just had to be done. Ever since, it's been my formal job description.


[Edited at 2007-04-07 12:04]


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 10:49
English to Russian
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Other Apr 7, 2007

Market:-)

Proper initial skills and a great deal of interest, superb teachers (in my case editors) etc. certainly did influence my own decision but if I honestly get to the bottom of it - if was good money in the field that gave me satisfaction. Otherwise I'd probably keep it as hobby or a side job, more fun than money, and find other ways to make decent living - I'm a cynical materialist:-) and I don't believe in happiness in Diogenes's Barrel.

[Edited at 2007-04-07 14:04]


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Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 10:49
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
My mother Apr 7, 2007

When I finished school, I liked so many things (archaeology, biology, zoology, sociolinguistics, tourism, painting, journalism, computers, etc, etc.) that it was really difficult to choose what my future profession would be. My mother once suggested that if I already liked and spoke 3 languages -I'm in love with English- then I could consider Translation. I didn't even know it was a career you could study in a university! So I found out about it and got really interested.

I studied it and the wonderful thing is that thanks to Translation, I am connected to all the other subjects I have always liked. I am in love with my profession and thank my mom for this.

[Edited at 2007-04-07 20:12]


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Stephanie Mitchel  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:49
French to English
Starstruck Apr 7, 2007

When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I saw Jimmy (sorry, President) Carter on television speaking to the Chinese PM, and behind/between them was my grandparents' next-door-neighbor's sister, an interpreter. She seemed so elegant and professional and it all seemed to important, that I thought, 'That's what I want!' I hadn't taken so much as French 101 at the time, but it stuck in my psyche as I went through school.

If only I'd studied Mandarin too......!


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CJG  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:49
Dutch to English
+ ...
Very interesting, but who DID influence you? Apr 7, 2007

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

In my case:

1989 - 1995: it was an integral part of my job as a lawyer in South Africa. At the time I graduated (1991), I was one of the only English-speaking graduates at the section of the Department of Justice where I worked (i.e. Master of the Supreme Court, which dealt with deceased estates, insolvent estates, liquidations, trusts, estates of minors and the mentally ill - curatorships). I translated Afrikaans » English documents on a daily basis. Sometimes it wasn't direct translation, it was more abstraction. I would have the case file in Afrikaans but have to draft pleadings on behalf of the State in English. I also presided over Insolvency Court in both languages.

1995-2001: it was a daily part of my job as a lawyer in private practice, specialising in insolvencies and liquidations. As my two partners were Afrikaans, much of the work that had to be drafted in English again came over my desk (either to be translated from what another partner had drafted in Afrikaans, to edit what they had written in English - they returned the favour in the other direction - or to be drafted in English from Afrikaans source documents). When appearing in Insolvency Court, I also had to argue in whichever language the case was being heard.

end 2001 - date: full-time legal translator/editor after moving to Portugal. Although I speak Portuguese well, my verbal skills will never be on an absolute par with Portuguese lawyers, so working in a fringe area(s) supporting them, rather than mainstream law, has worked out well. That said, most of my work is normally Dutch. I studied Afrikaans/Nederlands at university level and as the South African legal system is a Roman-Dutch system, with strong similarities to that of the Netherlands and Belgium (as well as the UK in areas like corporate law), I've been fortunate to create a niche for myself.

So, for the first 12 years it was part of another job that I hardly thought about formally as translation - it just had to be done. Ever since, it's been my formal job description.


[Edited at 2007-04-07 12:04]





But I am interested to learn who actually turned you from a lawyer into a linguist?


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:49
Dutch to English
+ ...
Lawyer into Linguist? Apr 7, 2007

cjguy wrote:


But I am interested to learn who actually turned you from a lawyer into a linguist?




Hi,

Well, I answered "other" at the outset actually because nobody has "turned me" from one into the other - that all sounds rather Harry Potterish - i.e. I haven't defected from the dark side or been touched by a magic wand

I've simply worked in considerable depth (legislative level included) in both areas all my professional life, I am a lawyer-linguist - in the sense of a qualified lawyer who is also a language professional - through a combination of formal and other studies (in law, various foreign languages, editing and linguistics), aptitude, ability, practical experience and very hard work.

Have particular people played a role? Of course, like with anyone, but to pinpoint any single person is difficult. I suppose my Dumbeldorf is a particular professor I spent a lot of time studying under even after graduation (who taught Legal History and translated Latin and ancient Greek in his spare time) going through old Latin and Dutch legal texts - South Africa has a Roman-Dutch system - and his love of languages and ability to research different legal systems certainly rubbed off. I'd love to spend more time just doing historical legal research that way - boring as it may sound to others - but it simply doesn't pay the bills.


Have a good Easter (oh, and you too of course P)
Debs


[Edited at 2007-04-08 14:06]


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CJG  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:49
Dutch to English
+ ...
I admire you Apr 7, 2007

Although I think it should Dumbledore. I am a great fan.


[Edited at 2007-04-08 09:04]


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Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 16:49
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
José Aparicio Verdoy Apr 8, 2007

OK. Not an influence on actually “becoming” one (that, as such, was already decided), but certainly an inspiration.

Late seventies. I was Head of Studies at a language school in BCN which left me a reasonable amount of time to handle the odd translation.
The easy ones, mind you. Any translations which were more than a quarter of an inch thick or which contained strange and exotic terms such as “proforma”, “FOT”, “revolving L/C”, “demised premises”, etc… called for José.

He would waltz into reception, pick up a typewriter from the secretary, a stack of A4, carbons, original and install himself in an empty classroom, emerging with a Ducados in his mouth a miraculously short time later. Job done.

And not only English. Italian, French, German…….

I visited him one day shortly after he’d bought his first and only computer. He was translating some text from German into Catalan while listening to his Arabic class over the headphones. Typical.

Taught me a lot about translating, translators and how to handle customers, although he was too shy to put most of into practice himself.

A brilliant guitarist, Flamenco, at least; though I got the upper hand if it was Blues.

Andy.


PS. Went to Japan to work and polish up his Japanese. Flew back to BCN for Xmas and was taken straight to hospital where he died of pneumonia.

PPS. Self-taught. He left school at 14. So much for diplomas.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:49
Dutch to English
+ ...
Wizardry Apr 8, 2007

Yes, should be Dumbeldore - Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, to be exact - must have been a Freudian slip.

Not a fan myself, Harry's just a tad young for me, Daniel Craig on the other hand ....



[Edited at 2007-04-08 15:38]


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NativeSpeakers  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Other Apr 9, 2007

I feel absolutely certain I was a translator in a previous lifetime. It's entirely intuitive...

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