An interview with our translator English:
For how long have you been translating?
Altogether, I have translated full-time for about 7 years. In between full-time translation, translation was a part of my duties on an ongoing basis, but not the focus. So, I never really lost my skills, thankfully. Altogether, over the years, I have applied translation, language, and writing skills for over 20 years.
My work has always entailed writing and language. I started off as a language trainer, then worked as a full-time translator/interpreter on my 20s, then started my longest career path to date in my late 20s, as a TV and Film Producer in Europe and South Africa, from the late ’90s to 2016.
Writing persuasive pitches, scripts, and marketing copy was a large part of my work. In multiple languages. Film is a language in itself. It tells a story through visuals, as well as sound and language. Lighting, angles, pace, and so forth are all part of this language. It’s the punctuation of film.
2. What made you decide to be translator?
As already alluded, I worked as both a language trainer, as well as a TV and Film Producer. I have had three distinctive, yet related, career paths in my life to date. In 2016 I decided to travel more, to live bi-continentally, so I needed a career which gave me absolute freedom of movement. I decided to become a full-time translator.
3. What technical developments did you experience and how did it influence your work?
Well, when I translated in the 1990s, we didn’t have CAT tools or any of the AI and MT we have today. I worked with hard copy dictionaries and thesauruses only. Thankfully, in my TV and film career, I kept up with the digital transformation and ever-changing software. So, in 2016, when I embraced the new technology, I was thankfully able to internalize and use various software and technology quite easily.
4. Tell us about your translation proces.
I read through the original text. I usually then insert the text into CAT software. I then translate line by line, quickly checking typos, spelling, and grammar as I go along. After completing the translation, I do one pass for technical issues (spelling, typos, syntax, grammar, structure).
I then do a second pass where I ensure that the translation flows well, and double-check any terms I’m unsure about, and replace words that I feel aren’t spot-on. I always work with a thesaurus. The correct word choice, which fits the tone and spirit of the original text, is important.
5. What is the most difficult part about translating?
I find specialized technical texts challenging, as I need to constantly research specialized terms, often in context, not just via a dictionary. It’s time-consuming.
6. What do you like about transalting?
The writing. I enjoy crafting texts, bestowing meaning to mere words, and adding emotion. The most amazing part is that I do not have a boss breathing down my neck and the high-stress levels of working in media production. I can work from anywhere, as long as I have in internet connection, and am free to travel. I also relish the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment after completing a challenging job
7. What can you do for a translation that machine translation can’t?
I have always understood that language goes beyond the spoken or written word. It is very much about tone, about subtext and cultural attitudes, about how we use communication in all its forms. The way a text is written conveys a certain spirit or message. In any visual story, the script is the basis, the writing is always the most important aspect. I am fascinated by the various aspects of language. Translation work offers the opportunity to stretch and flex many of these muscles.
8. What make translating an art?
The translation work is both a craft and an art, which are inextricably joined together. You can certainly learn aspects of the craft; in fact, one should keep improving one’s skills, on an ongoing basis. Understanding linguistics, syntax, structure, and so forth, improve your craft and skill set. The art comes in when you are able to translate the spirit of the original, to ensure that the intended message is beautifully crafted and has the intended effect.
We hope your enjoyed an interview our tranlsator English Magnette for Vertaal.nl
Is translation an art? Sometimes people ask me what could possibly be so difficult about my work as a translator. Or why I like doing it so much. They even ask me, if there still even are people who work with a translator or a translation agency. Because why use them if you have Google Translate?! Isn’t everyone able to translate their own documents nowadays? Isn’t it just a waste of money to outsource your translation work…?
Reasonable and logical statements. But funny enough it doesn’t work like that in ‘real life’. Think about it. Who has the time during their busy workdays to translate all kinds of documents? And who is 100% convinced that Google Translate can convey the essence of an original document the right way? It only takes one word translated wrongly and the message is completely changed.
The value of correct translations
And how often do we not find ourselves annoyed by the literal translation of subtitles when we are watching our favorite television shows? Also think about technical terms and other professional language, that plays such a vital role in the business world and in our daily lives. Think, for example, about the need for an international company to train their employees the right way. Or the importance of the correct translation of legal, confidential documents, that contain the most important and often life-changing facts of people’s lives. Or helping a client entering a new market by translating their website without offending the target audience in the other country or, worse, not reaching them at all!
Translation is an art of the heart
And that is exactly where we, the translators, come into play. Real humans, with a real passion and often a talent for all the aspects of language. For words, the spelling and grammar of them, the sound they make, with eye for detail and knowledge of the culture where the language they master is being spoken and written. People with the ‘drive’ to make sure that the messenger’s ‘tone-of-voice’ can still be heard and who make it their personal mission to get the message across to the people the message was meant for in the first place.
Translators think for and with their clients and are aware that communication is a skill. They do desk research when need be and will always make sure they understand what they are reading and translating. And when they complete an assignment, they quietly feel proud when they manage to get the message across. Error free. And they feel happy that they were once again able to keep a joke funny and maintain the moral of a story.
Of course, language is universal. And of course, translation machines are very convenient tools. But to build the bridge from one to the other language, from one culture to the other, and to really understand each other by conveying the message truthfully and realistic, translators are key. Translators, who come in all shapes and sizes, with a wide range of knowledge and a healthy dose of curiosity. And that right there, is exactly what makes our job so fun and interesting. No assignment is the same, no client has the same needs. So, if you ask me again, I will proudly tell you that translating is not just a job that anyone can do; translation is an art of the heart 😊
Written by one of the translators for Vertaal.nl: Christiane.
“If you talk to a man in a language
he understands, that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his language,
that goes to his heart.”
– Nelson Mandela –
Vertaal.nl continues to grow because it considers quality and service of paramount importance. It is our mission to swiftly deliver correct and reliable translations, to help improve the image of our customer and to take care of this burden for them.
It has been 2 years since we acquired the translation agency and during this second year, we have been able to deliver 50% more translations in comparison to the previous year. We are doing well and want to thank you for the trust that we keep receiving.
Below we give you a quick impression of the translations we have been working on lately:
- Legal and HR documents: instruction manuals for employees into English and Polish, agreements into English and French, sworn translations into French, Polish, English. Communication for employees into English, Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian and letters to customers and employees into Dutch.
- Technical documents: manuals and other technical documents into Spanish, German, Italian and Dutch.
- Commercial documents: an online course for sales representatives into Dutch, a website into Chinese, promotional materials into French, German and English.
A response we received from one of our customers after translating their brochure into English: “I have taken a quick look at the translation and at first glance it looks amazing. Should I have remarks or adjustments I will let you know, but for now thank you for the great translation, my compliments!” SD
Don’t you just love having 1 address to send all your translation work to? When you have a document that needs to be translated, send the original document to firstname.lastname@example.org or upload it. Within 1 hour you will receive a quotation and the estimated delivery time. Guaranteed.