For those of us who translate into a foreign language, as I said earlier in a post, it’s extremely important to visit the country where the target language you’re translating into is mainly spoken. I’ll be talking about translating lessons Salzburg has given me even before I decided to take the trip.

Translating into a target language not your own equals a destiny of that of a kamikaze. OK, maybe this is a bit far-fetched, but likenesses which shock may be more haunting than ordinary ones. There’s some dose of fear always around when you have to work in a field which is not entirely known to you. Your mother tongue should be known territory. The target language, the language you decide to transfer thoughts, facts, feelings, data etc. into by way of an “entry” language is labyrinthine, way too complex if you yourself have not been born into it.

Many language experts would be perplexed, even taken aback: “Good heavens, you’re really doing that? I know it’s natural to do that in the opposite direction. Only into your mother tongue.” Venturing into that peril could make you or break you. If the latter, you won’t be able to come back to your position you held before- It’s a risk you take.

But this is precisely what many agencies and even freelancers do here in Croatia. Even cutting on proofreaders, native speakers at that.

My practice has so far been to assess very carefully and in detail whether I could take on that burden. If not, it was a must to secure myself a network of reliable fellow translators to delegate jobs to them and checking the quality afterwards. Finding out your inaptitude while in the middle of the job is something I wouldn’t wish to any translator. Take the time and don’t be bothered by the nagging and urging of clients- if they want quality, then they have to wait in line. Difficult tasks shouldn’t be carried out quickly. Nothing good can come of it being quick.

Visiting countries of the target language can make this easier for you, and staying a few days may alleviate the confrontation- it may open up a void, unbridgeable at present or it can consolidate your position as a translator only into your mother tongue. Same as when you opt to specialize. These steps must be taken with care and forethought.

Translating lessons Salzburg

Salzburg added a note of excitement, because I went to see the place as a small award to myself after having gone through a very dynamic business year. New clients, new prospects along with holding on to old ones and maintaining the quality level I have been providing for them.


Share This