An interview by the Chicago Manual of Style Online with a translator
Thread poster: Suzan Hamer

Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:19
+ ...
May 6, 2013

"Great books come in a multitude of languages and thanks to translators, readers are able to access interesting works and important research from around the world. Like editing, translating can call for some mental acrobatics and requires a clear understanding of mechanics and meaning. Teresa Lavender Fagan takes us through her translating process and reveals what words just don’t make the leap into English."


Local time: 14:19
Italian to English
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Interesting May 6, 2013

An interesting read. Thank you.


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:19
Spanish to English
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How the other half live May 7, 2013

Interesting article. The author's working method certainly is luxurious. First, she reads the original work a couple of times to internalize the overall meaning, looking up any unknown words or phrases. Then she does "a very rough draft translation" before going over it line by line against the original, focusing again on any problematic words, etc. Finally, after several days (!!!) she reads the translation by itself, usually out loud, to make sure it sounds like English!

This is how it should be done. If only we could all enjoy such a tranquil pace, the translator's world would be a better place. However, in the real and fiercely competitive world I operate in, I rarely have time to do more than quickly skim original texts - and I may not even do that if I'm familiar with the client and subject area. And the comment about reading the draft "after several days" really made me laugh - 99% of the time my clients are in a dreadful hurry and barely give you time to breathe.


LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:19
Russian to English
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Yes, definitely.This is the old good school May 7, 2013

This is how translation, more or less, should be done.It is very important to reread the translation at least 24, but even better 48, hours after it was done, to edit it, because you cannot really see many mistakes, or feel an awkward style, right away.


Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:19
Chinese to English
Translation is an amateur pursuit May 7, 2013


Teresa Lavender Fagan has translated over twenty-five works from French. She is also the marketing distribution manager for University of Chicago Press.

Is marketing distribution manager a part time post? Or is this another entry in the great book of "Ugh! Translating for money?! That can't be any good, can it?"

Lilian's right, when translating something creative, you do need to give it time. But that can be built into a professional working schedule. It doesn't mean that you have to do it in your spare time.


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An interview by the Chicago Manual of Style Online with a translator

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