According to the back cover of Don’t Trust Your Spell Check, “Everybody makes mistakes”. Unfortunately, its author, Dean Evans, is no exception. In a book that promises “pro proofreading tactics and tests to eliminate embarrassing writing errors”, nothing could me more disappointing than finding some of the latter in the body of the text and the tests. Given that this is an independently published book, I guess there was no money for a copy editor and/or proofreader, which is a shame.
Having said that, as an experienced editor and content writer, Evans describes strategies and gives explanations that are well worth noting. And the many tests in the second half of the book are extremely helpful as a training exercise. Although it would be more useful to discuss differences of opinion in person with an experienced tutor, tackling the tests is far better than doing no practice at all.
As wordsmiths, translators need to use language and terminology as correctly as they possibly can. And that’s why I believe we shouldn’t perpetuate the common misconception that it’s good to be ‘a little bit OCD’. Because it’s totally wrong to assume that being a super-organised person who pays attention to every detail and likes everything to be just so means you’re a bit OCD.
The word is out: having your translations revised is THE way to grow as a translator. If you continue to work in your bubble without any feedback, you’ll make the same mistakes again and again, your word choices will remain narrow, you’ll never learn to think outside the box and your translations might never ever sing.
“I am not sure that one gains too much useful knowledge from a course on revision. Experience of being revised (whether monolingually or via translation) and revising is what makes you a better revisor. The interaction involved in close translator/reviser collaborations on big projects can be an abundant source of learning.”
“I work in a team of three where one person translates, another revises the translation (and the translator accepts/rejects the changes) and a third colleague does a final proof. This system generally works well and we all learn from each other too.”
“My case is special, because we are essentially an in-house team (some of us off-site), working for a host of departments/divisions as our ‘clients’. We have the same cycle for nearly all projects: translator – content reviser – translator – language reviser – translator – final approval (head of team). Therefore the translator has the final say in what to accept or reject from the reviser’s changes. But again, it is generally based on discussion and consensus.”
We started working as freelancers in the translation industry just over a year ago. As we both have a similar background (we graduated with the same master’s degree, TSM—Traduction Spécialisée Multilingue—from Université de Lille 3, North of France) and we completed an internship in the same SME, we thought this post would be a good opportunity to look back and see to what extent our studies have impacted (and still impact) on our daily professional lives/careers.
To illustrate this point, we have decided to mainly focus on the second year of our MA, for the following three reasons:
As I sat on a boat to Hvar, Croatia, knowing that I wanted to leave my job and mulling over the options available to me, I had my lightbulb moment: “I know,” I thought, “I’ll go back to university to study for a Masters in translation.”
After returning to the UK, I set about researching my options (part-time vs full-time study, distance learning vs attending lectures and the like), but what was always clear in my mind was that I wanted to become a translator and I wanted to be ready to delve into the profession as soon as I left university. I settled upon the University of Westminster’s MA translation programme as it seemed to me the best and the most practical course out there – and I wasn’t disappointed. Here’s why:
In 2011, I found myself in the same situation as many other students: nearing the end of my undergraduate degree – in my case, a BA (Hons) in French and Spanish – and unsure of what to do next. I had really enjoyed the translation modules during my course, so I decided to continue down this road, and, a few months later, began my year-long MA in Translation Studies at Cardiff University.
In August I rediscovered what an exceptionally beautiful part of the world the Lake District is (we were blessed with sunshine throughout our stay, however). Now that Brexit has probably scuppered my plans of moving back to the Continent to retire near the lakes in northern Italy to be close to family, I might just end up in the Lake District instead.