Translating or interpreting...which is more rewarding and interesting?
Thread poster: Paula Morrison

Paula Morrison  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:43
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 11, 2010

Hi all,

Like many of you, I'm a translator, interpreter and also project manager. I incredibly enjoy my working day, making the most out of it and considering this profession more of a passion than just simply work. I guess that some prefer being translators and others interpreting. But when it comes to deciding what is more interesting and rewarding, I can never say translation is more interesting than interpreting or the other way around? Why is that? Well I guess that is what I would like to ask you.

I want to share my views with you as we will be creating a blog soon in our website and I firstly want to see what my colleagues think about it. I'm sure it's a question that many of you might hear everywhere and many times, but in your opinion, which linguistic service gives you that pleasure, that passion and motivation to be an interpreter or translator, or both?

In my view, I have always loved translating. After gaining experience and getting to know the world of the linguist in translation companies, I became a freelancer and I thought: "Right, this is the time to stay at home and do lots of research in those fields I know I can specialise my skills in". However, after long hours of non-stop typing and working for other countries with different times zones, I realised I hadn't talked to anyone that day and the more I thought about it, the more isolated I felt. Has that ever crossed your mind?
Of course, this changed with time as I started doing more activities after work but I guess I always had that feeling of not quite understanding... there was something that kept me going despite knowing sometimes, I felt isolated from the world. However, I can't deny it was a pleasure working and managing my time and not being disturbed as you get when working in a busy office.

Interpreting on the other hand was different. We have to admit it is a fascinating world of getting to know new people all the time, learning from their experiences and helping them communicate. Let alone when you work as a conference interpreter, it's even more exciting as you have to have the adrenaline to go and do something as breath-taking as simultaneous interpreting without stopping until the speaker does. Isn't that extraordinary?

After a while of experiencing all these changes, I started running my own Translation & Interpreting company and alternating translating, interpreting and project managing has made me made me realise that when I felt a bit affected by the isolation that translation brought at that time, interpreting and project managing connected in the same way to make of this world an absolutely dominating business. I don't feel disserted anymore because I have learnt to value every aspect of each service and appreciate its reward. What's more, I feel I can give more and combine the services to make my company more prosperous and competent. The feeling of having big projects to work on, whether to manage or translate myself make me forget those lonely days, which I won't deny, made me think twice over my career. But I guess there is always the reward of managing your time, having the time to do the proper research on the project your are working on, whether that is for translation or interpreting and live your life waking up everyday and being proud of saying: “God, I love my job!"

I don’t know you, but I just love translating as much as interpreting; they are both very intriguing and creative pieces of art that have their mysteries, that is how I see it. For me, they are characters; while translation is very shy person, interpreting is more spontaneous and extrovert. But still, there is something down there in both them I want to discover and that makes of this world, a delighting linguistic universe that we can only understand.


Please send me your ideas...I want to know what you think. Let's share experiences.

Have a nice evening,

Paula Morrison

------------------------------------------------------------

Paula Morrison

PM Translation & Interpreting Services

Tel: 0208 244 8278

Mob: 0782 8090 588

paula@pmtranslationservices.co.uk

www.pmtranslationservices.co.uk





[Edited at 2010-08-11 20:01 GMT]


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
You've said it all Aug 11, 2010

I have done both translating and interpreting and first consider myself to be a dedicated translator. There is really not much I can add to what you have said. Those of us who love our work can consider ourselves to be fortunate indeed; I think most people are unhappy with their occupation in varying degrees.

These days I have been doing all translation, no interpreting. I miss the interpreting, but I enjoy the flexibility and control translating enables me to have. As for companionship, I have no lack of that. I do not need it or even desire it in my work. I am not a teamworker and I would much rather share with people with no work-related involvement.


 

Paul Lambert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:43
French to English
+ ...
A vote for translation Aug 12, 2010

Personally, I find translation more rewarding. I've dond interpreting in the past, but have concentrated on translation for the past 5 years.

For me, the most fascinating part about my job is the constant learning process - I'm always learning new terms, new concepts, and a lot of that involves research. Over the past five years I've learned how aircraft work, how to make wine, how major multinationals implement restructuring processes, how auditors investigate fraud....and a whole host of other topics I never would have discovered had it not been for my job.

I think this research is important for both translation and interpreting, but for translation it seems to be more of a day-to-day thing - every day I'm on different websites, reading texts, looking at technical designs, leafing through dictionaries - and constantly learning. Finding the precise word for a part of an aircraft wing or the exact legal term for a concept in Spanish is something which I love doing, and keeps me going when the solitude of translation (the only negative aspect for me) starts to weigh me down.

I'd love to go back to interpreting one day, but as you have done, alternating it with translation and project management, the perfect balance!


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:43
Flemish to English
+ ...
Interpreting Aug 12, 2010

Paula Morrison wrote:

Interpreting on the other hand was different. We have to admit it is a fascinating world of getting to know new people all the time, learning from their experiences and helping them communicate. Let alone when you work as a conference interpreter, it's even more exciting as you have to have the adrenaline to go and do something as breath-taking as simultaneous interpreting without stopping until the speaker does. Isn't that extraordinary?



[Edited at 2010-08-11 20:01 GMT]


You have said it all. Decent rates, no pennypinching (Trados-reductions) if you repeat 10 times or 100 times the same word, a break at 10.00 a.m., have a cup of coffee or juice, then continue until noon, sit at the dinner-table with interesting people, start the afternoon, a break at 2.30 or 3.00 p.m. interpret for a couple of hours (alternately) and that is the end of the day. Being invited for a night on the town. If you accept, you end up dead tired. If not, that is the end of the day. Write your invoice and be paid 14 days later without much ado or looking for needle in haystacks to reduce the amount, go to the next assignment.


[Edited at 2010-08-13 05:58 GMT]


 

Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:43
Italian to English
+ ...
Interpreting Aug 12, 2010

Like the other posters, in terms of preference, perhaps translation has the edge due to the convenience of being able to work from home and I enjoy the challenge of the variety of texts I deal with - interesting, yes but rewarding......

On the other hand, I interpret mainly in court or police custody suites and I find it truly rewarding to ensure victims and accused alike can have a voice through me. Potentially serious charges have been dropped once I have interpreted explanations, and although I ensure I keep a professional distance, my (indirect) clients are comforted by the presence of someone who can finally understand them. Then again, my interpreting has helped ensure that some truly unpleasant individuals were removed from public circulation.

Sorry if this sounds a bit pi.

Suzi


 


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