January 12, 2012 § Leave a Comment
This quarter I’m taking a course called Basic Translation. It’s designed to give us an opportunity to translate different types of texts (medical, legal, literary, cultural, political, scientific, and technical). The texts we are translating are a small portion of a larger text and the word count is 300. We have a week to complete each translation. To be honest 300 words isn’t a lot and most translators can translate that many words in an hour. Since we are just learning this process it will take us longer to translate however, I do hope that with each translation I will improve my speed. I’ll also be creating a terminology list of the difficult or unknown words or phrases the I have encounter while translating each text. This way, I can begin to build my vocabulary in Spanish and English in specialized areas.
There are two issues that I hope to work on in this class. The first issue is with regards to specialization. Specialization seems to be an important aspect of the translation profession. Many translators specialize in a particular area such as legal, medical, etc. Many translators have had experience working in other industries and know specific terminology for that industry. At this point, I don’t have a specialization but I’m hoping that the fact that I’ll be translating different types of texts will help me to focus on which area or areas I’d like to specialize in. Since I’ve worked in education and finance, these could be possible areas of specialization for me. I was also reading that a translator’s natural interests and hobbies can lead to an area of specialization. This has me wondering if my interests/hobbies in writing, history, literature, and music could be areas that I specialize in as well.
The other issue I want to work on is the fact that I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my work and study. I don’t know if it’s even possible to create a “perfect” translation of a text but I could see myself trying to make each translation perfect. This could be a huge problem and I don’t want to spend unnecessary time trying to make a text perfect. I’m putting myself on a strict schedule to help me stay focused and to not get sidetracked.
Working and going to school is difficult and most evenings I feel exhausted. I have to fight and keep pushing myself to achieve my goals. Each week I’m giving myself two days to have just for myself so that I’m not always doing school work. It’s important to take time for myself so I don’t burn out.
September 15, 2011 § 4 Comments
I’ve always been very passionate about my hobbies (writing, collecting postcards, and painting) but I was never passionate about my career. I think that was because I’ve just been floating from job to job just to survive and it seemed like I would never find a career that fit me. I’ve always had dreams of becoming a writer, owning a bookstore, and even working as a translator but all of these possibilities were almost unobtainable (in my opinion) and I think I was just stuck in a rut of going to work and coming home. At the beginning to this year, I decided that I wanted to make some major changes in my life and one of the things I’ve done was to start taking courses to work towards a graduate degree in Spanish translation.
I’ve started taking a translation class this week and already I’m learning so much and I’m very excited and enthusiastic about this class and future classes. I’m even interested in connecting to other translation students which is something that I’m not normally interested in (connecting with strangers). I’ve even had dinner with a fellow translation student and I’ve learned a lot from her on the classes, expectations, and professional organizations I can join. This is a huge change in my perspective because I would never try to network or join any type of professional organization for the career field I’m working in now. My heart isn’t in my current profession and I have no interest in gaining further knowledge in this area.
I used to get annoyed with the people that I worked with in the past who would eagerly attend conferences, happy hours, and networking events but now I understand. They were passionate about their career and wanted to meet other people who shared their same interests. I’ve worked with people in the past who would attend continuing education courses and others who had even done research and were published. Now these are goals that I have for myself. Every morning I wake up excited and my mind is full of questions. I think it’s because I’m working toward a purpose. The thought of attending a conference or a training event is actually something I really want to do. I’m also going to join the local profession organization for translators in my city. I’ve also been reading as many blogs and books as I can on the subjects of translation and interpretation.
There is a quote that is credited to Confucius that say, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. This is something I’m beginning to believe. It’s a struggle to get out to the bed most morning because I spend a large portion of my day working in a career that I’m not meant to be in. I can only imagine the change that I’ll feel once I start to work as a translator.
September 12, 2011 § 1 Comment
Today I have started a new graduate class called Translation and Interpretation: Theory and Practice. This class is an overview of the profession and will provide insight into the different types of translation positions available, tools, references, business practices, and professional ethics. It’s a prerequisite course for the Spanish Translation program.
I am looking forward to this class and I have a lot of questions to ask. I hope this course will help me to decide if I want to be a translator only or a translator and an interpreter. Many people don’t know the difference between a translator and an interpreter. A translator is someone who translates a written document or text from one language to another. An interpreter is someone who orally translates or interprets a conversation, conference, etc.
Being a translator appeals to me more because you have time to think and reflect on the best way to use your linguistic skills to translate a document. I have limited experience with translating and interpreting and for me, interpreting is more stressful. When you’re interpreting, you have to think fast and to come up with a way to interpret what’s being said. You need to be able to quickly recall vocabulary and specific expressions that you may not normally use. I’ve been asked to interpret and I’m always nervous when asked. I’m worried my brain won’t be able to go back and forth quickly between English and Spanish. I’m able to read, write, speak, and think in both languages but there is something about interpreting that can make my brain go blank. I’m sure my concerns are the same concerns that many people have had who are beginning this profession.