The work of translators

Translating is not easy. Knowing another language apart from your native one no longer suffices. Firstly, you must master your mother tongue: from its syntax to spelling, grammar and vocabulary richness. It is also paramount to learn to research efficiently to address technical texts, to know how to turn each phrase so that it sounds natural in the target language and, not least important, to find linguistic solutions to those parts that seem unapproachable.

I could draw an analogy (too daring of me though) between translators and Leonardo Da Vinci. His polyvalence as an inventor and humanist could be compared to the versatility required to translators when writing. We immerse into extremely diverse fields and become, for a certain time, in virtual experts in a topic. Our goal: writing like those professionals of the sector employing us.

Unlike Leonardo Da Vinci, we avail ourselves of much more modernised technologies; world networks giving us access to all kind of information. We must understand these new technologies and make the most out of them. Free access to the Web creates new authors; not necessarily knowledgeable in the topic they are writing about. We need to discern what information to choose and what to get rid of. Contrasting the translation options we find is a must do, as it is for good journalists to contrast the information received before publishing it. Ultimately, such a work demands professionality. All the works are specialized and have specific vocabulary and language. The assignments we usually receive are nothing like an e-mail to a friend, an informal letter or simple phone messages.

Over time, each of us will become a true expert in certain fields, where we will become confident enough to be less dependent on the intense research work. We will become more productive. Notwithstanding, at some point we will need to get back to our craft so as to manufacture new translations, to continue tracing that which is new to us. For the worse or for the better, translators do not have the luxury of ever stopping learning.

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