Better (trans)late than never…

First of all, apologies for the awful pun. It’s probably not the best way to begin your first ever blog but my thinking was that, from that initial low, the only way is up… and that can only be a good thing, right?!

As mentioned, this is my first ever blog; but why now? I guess now is really the first time I feel that there is something that I am really passionate about, and about which I have something valuable to say; I’ve spent the last few years really getting into translation theory, careering through all that translation studies has to offer and exploring the profession. But anyway, we’re getting ahead of ourselves..

I can’t realistically expect to say too much with this first blog and so I just wanted to say a little bit about myself and what it is that I do. For starters, I’m a freelance translator working from French and Italian to English, I completed my degree in French and Italian a few years ago now, lived in France and Italy and then went on to study an MA in Translation Studies which was brilliant. Quite simply, I’m a translation fanatic.

It wasn’t always that way though and looking back even a couple of years I’d have to admit that I didn’t even know what translation was! Of course, we all have an idea of what it involves and after four years of language study I thought that I had a better idea than most, but it wasn’t until I started my MA that I really started to realise ‘wow, there’s a lot more to this than learning the language and sitting in front of your laptop with a nice, big dictionary..’

Unfortunately, that is the view that many people have and that was pretty much my view after finishing my degree as I naively decided that I would start out in translation. I could speak the languages, I could rite quite gud, what more did I need? Surely it was just a matter of finding the one-to-one equivalent of each word and mixing it up a bit so that it sounded passable in English…

The idea that what you are producing is a text which must function in a desired way in a specific part of a culture alien to the original text hadn’t crossed my mind. Considerations of ethical issues, fidelity to clients, authors, readers, the way the translation industry actually works, the implications of your decision to translate a certain term in a certain way, all meant nothing to me.

Of course I realise that all of this raises many more questions than it answers, and in a way that was the aim of the exercise. If people start to question what is involved in translation, then that is a great thing. Proper training is absolutely vital for the translation community to earn the respect it deserves and hopefully I can begin to demonstrate some of the things that are at stake when translating with future blogs…

Here’s to hoping.


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