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Poll: Do you enjoy being an invisible translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:48
SITE STAFF
Oct 8, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you enjoy being an invisible translator?".

This poll was originally submitted by Mario Chavez. View the poll results »



 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:48
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Other Oct 8, 2016

I don't understand the question. Invisible to what? To whom? Do you mean isolated? Unable to publicize yourself? Or what?

 

Georgie Scott  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:48
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Something missing Oct 8, 2016

What a strange set of replies

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:48
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Oct 8, 2016

For me a good translation is the one that doesn’t look like a translation, so I do aim to be invisible. When I worked in-house I had two colleagues, who were excellent, both extremely knowledgeable and highly competent, but (oh yeah, there’s a “but” coming) we worked at a European Institution and our “personal touch” shouldn’t be noticed and work translated by them was but invisible…

P.S. I've just remembered that a similar question was asked some time ago:
http://www.proz.com/forum/translation_theory_and_practice/301528-translator´s_invisibility_visibility.html

[Edited at 2016-10-08 10:24 GMT]


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:48
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends Oct 8, 2016

I used to slave over literary translations for a high-class magazine. The author got all the credit and I was invisible, which didn't seem fair. On the other hand, working in-house for international organizations for 26 years, it didn't bother me that we didn't get any recognition. My reward was the good pay and the opportunity to work with, and learn from, outstanding colleagues.

[Edited at 2016-10-08 09:22 GMT]


 

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not sure Oct 8, 2016

The question is a bit vague. Perhaps it should say "anonymous" instead of invisible?

 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:48
French to English
"Enjoying" invisibility Oct 8, 2016

Do I "enjoy" being invisible? I don't care one way or the other as I generally enjoy being a translator. Invisibility is neither here nor there. What I am interested in is doing the best job I can for the client. It can never be perfect, it can always be done a different way, but I am pleased when a client is happy with the job I have provided and when he sticks to his side of the bargain too. That gives me satisfaction and it is enough. Visibility simply isn't part of the equation.

[Edited at 2016-10-08 11:09 GMT]


 

Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:48
Italian to English
+ ...
Why invisible? Oct 8, 2016

If you do plenty to raise your profile (by contributing to the profession, networking, marketing, etc.), and if you ask to be credited in published translations (books, etc.) and generally make sure that clients understand the value of what you do, then why would you be invisible?

 

Gudrun Maydorn  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:48
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
I am not invisible Oct 8, 2016

Why should I be invisible if I enjoy direct personal contact? I have visited a number of my direct customers on their premises or meet up with them at trade fairs. Networking with local colleagues is also very important to me and I also meet translator colleagues when attending seminars.

 

Jean-Yves Préault  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:48
Member (2016)
English to French
+ ...
Who's not invisble? Oct 8, 2016

In my opinion, almost all workers are invisible. Do I know the name of the person who designed the chair I am sitting on right now?
We may also keep in mind that in our business, as in many others, there is a gap between the purchaser and the final user. If we are anonymous for the final user, we are not invisible for the buyers on the market, and we are working on it!


 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:48
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
I don't really mind Oct 8, 2016

And I don't feel totally invisible.

 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:48
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Oct 8, 2016

I am visible to those who matters, I am not bothered about the rest.

 

Platon Danilov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 22:48
Member (2014)
English to Russian
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


The same here Oct 8, 2016

Jack Doughty wrote:

I don't understand the question. Invisible to what? To whom? Do you mean isolated? Unable to publicize yourself? Or what?


And my question is: who cares? Does your ultimate reader really interested to know who made it readable in her/his native language?


 

Platon Danilov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 22:48
Member (2014)
English to Russian
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


100% support Oct 8, 2016

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:

Do I "enjoy" being invisible? I don't care one way or the other as I generally enjoy being a translator. Invisibility is neither here nor there. What I am interested in is doing the best job I can for the client. It can never be perfect, it can always be done a different way, but I am pleased when a client is happy with the job I have provided and when he sticks to his side of the bargain too. That gives me satisfaction and it is enough. Visibility simply isn't part of the equation.

[Edited at 2016-10-08 11:09 GMT]


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
A translation is not a chair Oct 8, 2016

Interesting set of responses. Among the translators who don't care being invisible, there is a subset who are content with being just another cog in the machinery, or who don't mind seeing their profession being framed or defined by industrialization.

For example, a nonfiction writer may sell 50,000 copies of a book. The processing and printing of those volumes may be mechanized and even automated, but the writing never is.

As with writing, translation, as a specialized and unique form of writing, is never industrialized. Only human beings can write.

So, why the visible/invisible dichotomy? Being visible or invisible is not a matter of promotion or even self promotion, but of presence. If you take a translated book published 30-40 years ago, whether it's sociology or civil engineering, the translator's name appeared in the foreword page or somewhere before the main text. That is no longer the case, unless it's a work of fiction.

Why being present or visible is important to a translator? For the same reason an author or writer, as creator of texts, is present. It's assumption of responsibility. It's taking your place in society as a creator of texts, not about selling yourself or your services.


 
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