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Translating subjects that are difficult for personal reasons
Thread poster: xxxihd
xxxihd
Local time: 00:36
Sep 18, 2016

Hey translators

Have you guys ever had to translate documents that were difficult to translate due to their subject? I'm not talking about technical difficulties but emotional difficulties.

I was in the wrong place at a wrong time four years ago and became a victim of a crime. It was a really difficult situation for me. I did see a therapist for a bit and I got "over it". However, the document I'm translating now loosely touches on this issue and I find myself struggling to finish it :/
I keep telling myself that there's nothing you can do but to move on with your life and that universe has a way of righting wrongs but I do feel like I'm reminiscing what had happened four years ago.

Have you guys had any similar or less severe experiences?

[Edited at 2016-09-18 15:16 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-09-18 22:57 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:36
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Frequently Sep 18, 2016

This is frequently discussed, and many translators specify the types of document they refuse to translate. In my own case that would be anything that promotes smoking, arms sales, hatred of any kind, or violence.

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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:36
English to Japanese
+ ...
@Tom Why smoking? Sep 18, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

This is frequently discussed, and many translators specify the types of document they refuse to translate. In my own case that would be anything that promotes smoking, arms sales, hatred of any kind, or violence.


I understand topics like arms sales, hatred, violence, etc., but I don't understand why smoking is in your list.

I remember from a post about "Quitting smoking" few years ago, and if I remember correctly, you are an ex-smoker. Does smoking trigger your good/bad memories when you were a smoker?

I hope you don't feel offended by my asking you this question.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:36
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Why should I be offended? Sep 18, 2016

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:

Tom in London wrote:

This is frequently discussed, and many translators specify the types of document they refuse to translate. In my own case that would be anything that promotes smoking, arms sales, hatred of any kind, or violence.


I understand topics like arms sales, hatred, violence, etc., but I don't understand why smoking is in your list.

I remember from a post about "Quitting smoking" few years ago, and if I remember correctly, you are an ex-smoker. Does smoking trigger your good/bad memories when you were a smoker?

I hope you don't feel offended by my asking you this question.


Why should I be offended? I simply said that I would refuse to translate any document that promotes smoking, arms sales, hatred of any kind, or violence. I find all of those things offensive.

Are there documents on any subject that you would refuse to translate because you find them offensive?

[Edited at 2016-09-18 16:24 GMT]


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:36
English to Japanese
+ ...
So far, none. Sep 18, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:

Tom in London wrote:

This is frequently discussed, and many translators specify the types of document they refuse to translate. In my own case that would be anything that promotes smoking, arms sales, hatred of any kind, or violence.


I understand topics like arms sales, hatred, violence, etc., but I don't understand why smoking is in your list.

I remember from a post about "Quitting smoking" few years ago, and if I remember correctly, you are an ex-smoker. Does smoking trigger your good/bad memories when you were a smoker?

I hope you don't feel offended by my asking you this question.


Why should I be offended? I simply said that I would refuse to translate any document that promotes smoking, arms sales, hatred of any kind, or violence. I find all of those things offensive.

Are there documents on any subject that you would refuse to translate because you find them offensive?

[Edited at 2016-09-18 16:24 GMT]


I don't have any topics or subjects which I intentionally avoid because they are offensive or ethically wrong so far. If the document was about Marboro wanting to boost sales by saying that smoking is cool, I would take the job. I believe that there are some topics which are not touched even with a ten feet pole due to personal reasons, but I would translate them because I firmly believe that there should be some translators who should do the dirty work and tell the world that arms sales are not good for safe and peaceful societies, conveying the truth about people with different religious faiths and how they hate each other, etc. IMO, it is the translator who can really read the truth and convey the truth (whether the contents are genuine or not aside) to the people who don't know the reality of these topics.

You mentioned violence, but don't tell me that you would turn down a subtitling job (I don't know if you take any) for Rambo, The Terminator and other action movies where violence is involved.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:36
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
A few Sep 18, 2016

There are a few topics I won't touch, including the same ones Tom in London mentioned plus graphic sexual material, extreme political views, and anything that is blatantly biased in any field.

As for your current issue with the translation you are working on, finishing this may actually help you. Try to concentrate on translating it to the best of your ability, rather than on your memories and feelings. Maybe afterwards you will feel that you have made step forward by being able to deal with the subject and manage that emotionally - I hope so.


[Edited at 2016-09-18 17:34 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 16:36
English to Croatian
+ ...
Exposure therapy. Sep 18, 2016

Tina Vonhof wrote:
As for your current issue with the translation you are working on, finishing this may actually help you. Try to concentrate on translating it to the best of your ability, rather than on your memories and feelings. Maybe afterwards you will feel that you have made step forward by being able to deal with the subject and manage that emotionally - I hope so.


[Edited at 2016-09-18 17:34 GMT]


Tina is right, exposure therapy is often very effective, if done right and safely.

Some things mentioned by the OP resemble PTSD? Is that what your doctor diagnosed?


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:36
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Boring Sep 18, 2016

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:

....don't tell me that you would turn down a subtitling job (I don't know if you take any) for Rambo, The Terminator and other action movies where violence is involved.


I would turn those down for two reasons:

1. I don't do subtitling
2. I would be bored out of my brain.

[Edited at 2016-09-18 18:55 GMT]


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