Let’s Get Slamming

Last week, after trying to attend one for ages, I finally managed to go to my first ever translation slam. If you don’t know what that is, you’re not alone. Although they’ve been happening for several years, they seem to have focused firstly on literary texts (which not many of us actually translate for a living) and/or been held at conferences that target a particular language pair (French and English in the “Translate in…” series) or that sell out quickly (MET, ITI).

However, Bath and Bristol universities are now holding regular translation slams in conjunction with the ITI WRG (Western Regional Group). And I hope that more ITI groups and other associations and universities will get on board as slams are a great way to delve into the minds of our colleagues, explore translation choices and improve our own craft.

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On Loneliness, Friendship and Resolutions

Ours can be a very lonely profession. Especially if we live on our own or are tied to the home as parents or carers. And jobs that ping into our inbox at unexpected times can make us change our plans and batten down the hatches until we meet the deadline. Because we need the money, don’t want to disappoint the client or cannot find anyone else to take the work on for us. And perhaps also because we’ve become workaholics.

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Books on My Shelves – Don’t Trust Your Spell Check

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.

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Why it’s not OK to say “a little bit OCD”

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.

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Revision Survey Results – Part 5: The Final Comments

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.”

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Master Traduction Spécialisée Multilingue (TSM) at Université de Lille 3: an MA in Tune with the Times

maries-postWe 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:

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Learning to become a translator at the University of Westminster

westminsterAs 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:

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My MA in Translation Studies at Cardiff University

natalie-soper-cardiffIn 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.

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Revision and the Quality Crate

Nikki - pic1 - summary for theTL_DR crowdThis guest post cannot possibly say everything about revision and does not need to. Nikki Graham has already grouped together a number of revision-related blogs worth reading  here for your convenience.

This means I am free to skip all the usual definitions and give you instead a hotch-potch of impressions and experiences which might give you some food for thought about how you approach revising your own work, how to refine your response to revisions by others of your work, and how you, perhaps, perform revisions on the work of others. I have written from the perspective of a revisor; a revisor whose own translation and revision work has come under harsh scrutiny where some revisions made and conclusions drawn have been justified, and others not. I continue to hope that insights thus gained serve to make me a better translator and a better revisor.

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