Poll: In general, do you think that all translators have certain characteristics in common?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:48
SITE STAFF
Dec 22, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "In general, do you think that all translators have certain characteristics in common?".

View the poll results »



 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:48
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I'm not sure! Dec 22, 2015

I worked for 20 years for an EU Institution within an 18-staff translation division but just sharing the same nationality did not mean we had anything else in common… I must add though that we had an excellent working ambiance and that from time to time I do miss those days and that camaraderie!

[Edited at 2015-12-22 12:35 GMT]


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:48
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
languages Dec 22, 2015

I suppose most have a pretty good command of at least one foreign language?

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:48
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends on how you define "characteristics" Dec 22, 2015

It certainly takes a love of languages and, for written translators, a willingness/desire to spend long days in front of the computer juggling words around. Also, most translators are intellectually curious and enjoy research.

I've been subscribing to the "Tina and Mouse" comic strip, and I find that I identify so strongly with her that I find myself laughing out loud and saving the strips to go back and see them again. When I work with a group of translators, as I did for many years, I always feel that we have a lot in common. We certainly enjoy one another's company.

But that doesn't mean that we all solve problems or approach human relationships in the same way, that we see the Universe through the same filter, or that we seek out similar hobbies.


 

Rocio Barrientos  Identity Verified
Bolivia
Local time: 10:48
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yep! Dec 22, 2015

Texte Style wrote:

I suppose most have a pretty good command of at least one foreign language?



We must (we should? lol) speak and write AT LEAST two languagesicon_smile.gificon_smile.gif

Happy Holidays my friends!


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:48
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Just one: we are all humans Dec 22, 2015

Anyone who saw Rosie in Water for Elephants will draw the conclusion that animals are not bilingual.

Apart from that, being translation a widely deregulated profession, employing the most varied people covering the most varied language pairs, it is very difficult - I daresay impossible - to pinpoint any traits many or most translators may have in common.

Again, as a deregulated profession, it is fraught with a significant self-claimed members who are not sufficiently bilingual to include this feature as widespread. I think I saw this phrase on Linkedin, "Last week I coudn't spel translater, now I am one." (sic!) to depict where part of our industry is heading to.


Perhaps a better question would be:
"What characteristics do you think all professional translators SHOULD have in common?"


 

tradu-grace  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:48
English to Italian
+ ...
I share some already posted comments Dec 22, 2015

First: we are all humans as José pointed out

and last but not least

translators do have a pretty good command of at least one foreign language.


Festive greetings to proz staff and all the colleagues.


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
Apart from bipeds… Dec 22, 2015

I agree with José Henrique: “What characteristics or traits do you think all professional translators should have?”

But here's the quandary: what characteristics are we talking about? Since we are trying to categorize different individuals according to one profession, shouldn't it be qualifications?

Or are we talking about characteristics of mind, activity, outlook?

I don't know what “written translators” are, Muriel. Perhaps you meant translators who are writers? In that case, it would be a bit redundant because translators are, by definition, writers.

Being bilingual or even polyglot may be a consequence of working as a translator, but it's not a defining quality per se, unless we are talking about a minimum qualification. And bilingualism doesn't equal writing skills. According to the Oxford and Collins dictionaries, a bilingual person is one who speaks two languages fluently. When the adjective bilingual is applied to a thing (a magazine, a website, etc.) then the dominant characteristic of the thing defines it: a bilingual book is a book written in two languages. By extension, a bilingual CD is a CD recorded in two languages, and so on.

But bilingual people aren't necessarily equipped to write in two languages professionally. In this particular aspect, translators in the marketplace go from hapless hacks on one extreme to excellent writers on another in the spectrum.


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
Command of a foreign language does not begin to qualify anyone… Dec 22, 2015

tradu-grace wrote:

First: we are all humans as José pointed out

and last but not least

translators do have a pretty good command of at least one foreign language.


Festive greetings to proz staff and all the colleagues.


…as a translator. As José Henrique pointed out, our profession is (sadly enough) an unregulated one, so anyone with a high-school level command of a foreign language can claim to be a translator. It's an endemic problem.

For a translator to consider herself professional, she has to be a top-notch writer in her native language and in her foreign language(s). No ifs or buts about it.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Dec 23, 2015

Dunno. I'm afraid I can't really get my head around this one. The jury is out. For example, "all" is too sweeping for me and "certain characteristics" is too vague. Enjoyed reading most of the comments though.

 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Jared Tabor[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Poll: In general, do you think that all translators have certain characteristics in common?

Advanced search






Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »
Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search