Off topic: How does one become a translator?
Thread poster: Pnina
Pnina
Israel
Local time: 11:05
Italian to Hebrew
+ ...
Feb 21, 2005

http://accurapid.com/journal/31prof.htm

Dear Translators,

This link leads to a very interesting and entertaining article. It is written in the form of self interview.

The Russian translator Alex Feht tells why and how he has become a translator. He writes also about the qualities rather than the qualifications of a translator and gives useful advices to budding translators. Here is an example: "If you can write very well in your native language, you already have a skill necessary to become a translator. The rest is hard work." I agree. what do you think?

Very sincerely,

Pnina


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:05
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Entertaining and highly consoling Feb 21, 2005

"Don't work for peanuts but, on the other hand, don't worry too much about money. They won't let you become rich, anyway. We live in the world of mandatory compassion: the more you make, the more they take."

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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:05
German to English
+ ...
Oh oh oh... Feb 21, 2005

Thank you very much for sharing that with us. Somehow, it brightened my day.

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giogi
Local time: 09:05
ThanKs for sharing, Pnina Feb 21, 2005

If you can't write very well in your native language, no advice will help you. The rest is silence.
Cheers
Giovanna


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:05
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
One for the techies Feb 21, 2005

"The computer is a dubious invention. Everyone has been told, ad nauseam, how computers save us time and effort. Almost nobody wants to talk about how much time and effort they waste. Anyway, we are stuck with them..."

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Carolingua  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Verbal comprehension skills are even more important Feb 22, 2005

I agree that writing well in your native language is a good thing. We must not however, forget the other side of the equation, which is the ability to understand and interpret your source language impeccably. Let's not forget that you first have to correctly interpret the text before you can even begin to translate it. This is not as easy as it seems, and the brain's interpretive powers (or lack thereof) can certainly mess things up. I recently proofread a translation into Spanish that was translated by a native speaker. She spoke Spanish very well, but the translation was rife with egregious errors of interpretation: she misinterpreted the context of words, colloquial expressions, even entire sentences. I realize that many fluent, native speakers of English have trouble with reading comprehension, so I'm not saying this is easy. That's why not everyone can be a translator. I think that to be a translator, you need to have top-notch verbal abilities in *both* languages involved in the translation (verbal skills includes writing as well as comprehending), the ability to see the big picture, an eye for detail, and a passion for quality. So if I dare say it, verbal comprehension skills in the source language may even be more important than being an eloquent writer in the targe language--it's always possible to get a proofreader or editor to make a text sound more polished after your translate, but it's harder to get someone to make a translation right after it's been translated wrong.

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Pnina
Israel
Local time: 11:05
Italian to Hebrew
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Comprehending and writing go hand in hand Feb 22, 2005

Carolingua wrote:

I think that to be a translator, you need to have top-notch verbal abilities in *both* languages involved in the translation (verbal skills includes writing as well as comprehending), the ability to see the big picture, an eye for detail, and a passion for quality. So if I dare say it, verbal comprehension skills in the source language may even be more important than being an eloquent writer in the targe language--it's always possible to get a proofreader or editor to make a text sound more polished after your translate, but it's harder to get someone to make a translation right after it's been translated wrong.


I agree with you that not everyone can be a translator. Speaking the source language, reading it, and writing in it is not enough for producing a good translation. Intelligence and intuition are needed for the understanding of the accurate significance of the words in a certain context, according to the culture and the standards of the speakers of the source language. A translator should be able to convey the meaning of the original text as opposed to producing a mere rendering of words. The role of the translator is to produce a clear text in the target language, while echoing the tone and style of the original text.


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Carolingua  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Intelligence and perspicacity are key Feb 22, 2005

Pnina wrote:

[Intelligence and intuition are needed for the understanding of the accurate significance of the words in a certain context, according to the culture and the standards of the speakers of the source language. A translator should be able to convey the meaning of the original text as opposed to producing a mere rendering of words.


You said exactly what I was thinking...Intelligence. Also, "perspicacity" (acuteness of perception, discernment, or understanding)--the ability to grasp what may not be obvious. My point was that I think these qualities are too often forgotten or dismissed; everyone seems to be always placing the emphasis on a "fluent" or eloquent output or whether the translator is a native speaker of the target language. What do you think? I don't dispute that these attributes are important--I'm just saying that the emphasis should not fall on one *over and above the other*; they need to go together.


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Lingo Pros
United States
Local time: 04:05
Persian (Farsi) to English
+ ...
A small problem! Feb 23, 2005

I consider myself a pretty good writer in my native Persian. BUT even after living out of dear native land for many years, still I have problems swearing in English! Fortunately I've never been in a situation that the other party is calling me names and I have to reply in the same manner. Nevertheless I strongly believe the true ability and skills of a translator can be tested only when caught in a verbal fight with a heavyweight who is not speaking his/her native tongue!

[Edited at 2005-02-23 10:54]


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Pnina
Israel
Local time: 11:05
Italian to Hebrew
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Understanding the people as well as their language is important Feb 25, 2005

[quote]Carolingua wrote:

You said exactly what I was thinking...Intelligence. Also, "perspicacity" (acuteness of perception, discernment, or understanding)--the ability to grasp what may not be obvious. My point was that I think these qualities are too often forgotten or dismissed; everyone seems to be always placing the emphasis on a "fluent" or eloquent output or whether the translator is a native speaker of the target language. What do you think?

I think that perspicacity is essential in translating. Therefore it is important that a budding translator will spend a period in the country where the source language is spoken or, at least, will watch programs on TV channels of this country and will talk with immigrants who are native speakers of the source language. Gaining an understanding of the people, their national characteristics, and their way of life is a vital factor.
My opinion is that a translator needs to have a fascination with the source language in order to develop the quality of perspicacity.


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