Translating various fields
Thread poster: fariba Es-haqi

fariba Es-haqi
Local time: 10:59
English to Persian (Farsi)
Apr 19, 2010

what a novice translator should do? to limit the field of translations she/he does to only some related subject fields or translate any kind of translation job that comes? how can she/he make her/himself a professional translator?

 

NEHARJUN INDWAR
Local time: 12:59
English to Hindi
+ ...
specific area of translation Apr 20, 2010

A translator can venture to any subject as per his/her area of knowledge. However, a specific area would give him/her more depth of knowledge about the target language. Translation is a complex process, if it involves with two different culture, behaviour, tradition, custom etc. The openness in behaviour and cultural custom of west is often not accepted in the oriental society. The traditions of villages and metros differ a lot in certain country of Asia. Of course, these sorts of difficulties come when you are translating literature and related matters. However, technical translation involves specific terminology. I think, a novice should concentrate to a specific area, at least at initial period.

 

fariba Es-haqi
Local time: 10:59
English to Persian (Farsi)
TOPIC STARTER
The point is that.... Apr 20, 2010

but what if she/he enjoys translating various fields? I am not speaking about abstract knowledge. I think an educated person with a fairly good general knowledge can feel free to translate any subject matter and shouldn't limit her/himself to a specific field!

 

Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:29
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
depends Apr 20, 2010

if you are a walking dictionairy and have worked in several fields, and you have a large list of friends, family and acquintances working in various jobs, you might be able to handle quite a bit of fields.
However if you are a normal person, and don't have a clue about nuclear energy production, open heart surgery, quasars and military lasers, chemical plants, plant life in Brazil or ingredients for cookies for that matter - stick to what you know best.

Perhaps you have kids, so you know a thing or two about education, you have travelled - this means you know a little about tourism, if you where a nurse in the past you know something about hospitals.... If you are not an expert in legal documents, you probably don't want to spend days (and nights) researching specific terms and phrases...

It's as simple as that!

Ed


 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:29
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Draw up a personal inventory Apr 20, 2010

Every translator is unique as regards his languages, interests, fields of experience, family background and other things that eventually shape his career path. I suggest you draw up an inventory of your own, relating it not so much to the "official" lists of specializations (or to academic course offers, for that matter) as to the moments in your life and biography that have been decisive in shaping your personality.

Edward is not off the mark when he mentions the long list of friends, family and acquaintances -- in effect, some of these people, while not necessarily being your teachers in an academic sense, may have mentored you in one field or another in which they have awakened more than just a passing fancy.

You might try using a list of specializations only by way of reference, to remind you in what way you may have had some experience related to them.

This is a somewhat more stable way of assessing your strengths and weaknesses than looking around to see what fields offer the most likelihood for jobs or what specializations pay more. Over the long term, you are going to have to live with your choices, so you may as well like them.

Off this topic, I recently read a re-hash of the old story about the two doors in a maze, where the traveller has to choose one to earn his freedom. In the re-hash, there were more than two doors -- in fact, more like a thousand. But the traveller who sits and waits without making any choice at all finds that everyday, there are less doors... and that if he waited indefinitely, time would come when there were no more doors left, as the choices would have been made for him. Not that I'm telling you to wait for that point, but I believe the fable underscores that our choices limit our possibilities, and we have to learn to live with those and other limitations.

Hope it helps!


 

fariba Es-haqi
Local time: 10:59
English to Persian (Farsi)
TOPIC STARTER
Impressing Apr 20, 2010

Your words dear Parrot impressed me in a way that I decided to print what you have said and paste it on my room wall! After this, I will be more cautious in choosing the fields which I want to become expert ! But in a country with no job, unfortunately, you have to accept any subject that comes to you! For the sake of earning your life!

[Edited at 2010-04-20 17:27 GMT]


 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:29
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
In that case Apr 20, 2010

... start with general topics. You're right about this, to some extent:

fariba1984 wrote:

I think an educated person with a fairly good general knowledge can feel free to translate any subject matter and shouldn't limit her/himself to a specific field!


There are enough jobs to which this can apply. However, you should know when you're in over your head and learn to research and document to fill in the gaps. In my experience, research accumulated over the years can adequately contribute to skill in some working fields. What I'd term "specialization", though, requires a willful kind of commitment, beyond the point when you decide NOT to handle some topics because you truly are more competent in others.

In terms of the job market, it implies you selecting the jobs instead of vice-versa. I know that might sound far-fetched when you're just beginning, but good work is the measure of success in the business, and when the world will have beat a path to your door, you'll find you don't have that much time to take on all offers.icon_smile.gif


 

Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:29
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Fields Apr 20, 2010

I obviously prefer translating within the areas I specialize in, and that includes my studies, professional background and experience, personal interests and hobbies.

For example, I know I can do an excellent job when it comes to music, cinema, audiovisual, journalism, publicity, marketing, business, tourism or fashion because I've either worked in these areas or take great personal interest.

On the other hand, one of the best aspects of translation for me is the fact that I get to learn new things everyday while I am working. Research is a challenge I enjoy.

But I do not advise you to take jobs of very specific technical content that you are not familiar with: it'll be a horrible experience and chances are the results won't be so good, which will go against you.

Good luck!






[Edited at 2010-04-20 20:21 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-04-20 20:22 GMT]


 

Brian Young  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:29
Danish to English
fields to avoid Apr 21, 2010

This is just another way of looking at it. A lot of good advice has been posted here. I agree with Paula that there is always an opportunity to learn something new, and if you have a really good knowledge of your source language then you will be able to translate a wide variety of subject material. But, unless you like spending a lot of time using expensive technical dictionaries (after having spent a lot of money to buy them), or want to invest in, and learn, some kind of CAT tool, then you might want to avoid some areas that do require an extensive specialized vocabulary. Such as medicine or chemistry. I am willing to tackle almost any subject, but I stay away from medical translation. Maybe it would be easier for you to just make a list of some subjects that you simply do not know anything about, and stay away from them.

[Edited at 2010-04-21 20:35 GMT]


 


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