I sometimes hear or read of translation and translators talked about in romantic terms or through stereotypes you might find in fortune cookies. A picture which is quite far from reality and also risks to harm our reputation.
Translation is, first and foremost, a profession. A translator has nothing to envy to physicians, lawyers or other such professionals. Not in terms of the lengthy studies and ongoing training needed to succeed and stay afloat in today’s competitive market. Not in terms of the strict standards and confidentiality you need to abide by if you want to be part of the sectors’ professional bodies and be taken seriously by peers and clients. Not in terms of entrepreneurial spirit and networking abilities, essential to make your business prosper. Nor in terms of being able to work to the highest standards, asking for the right price for your work.
So, is translation not an art as well? In part it is. Insofar as by art we mean talent, and being aware of how hard cultivating talent really is. As I wrote here, I believe even technical translation includes a part of creativity, just like writing does. After all, Marguerite Yourcenar said, rather authoritatively, “Translation is writing.” Do you know how hard it is to write something simple, clear and effective? Now think of translation and double the efforts.
[photo credits:Photo by Rita Morais on Unsplash]
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