With International Translation Day coming up on September 30th, we are planning to create a blog post to celebrate and promote the art of the profession.
In this blog post, we would like to include the voices of real-life translators, and we believe that the best way to do this would be by having you all participate!
If you have a few minutes to spare, we would appreciate it if you could leave a comment here to tell us your name, location, and what you enjoy most about being a translator. We will be accepting comments until end of day July 31st.
Looking forward to reading all your comments!
My name is Kevan and I am an American living in San Francisco. I have been translating Italian to English on Gengo for over a year now, and I simply love it!
What I love most about translating is the excitement and mystery of opening an Italian document that needs to be turned into perfect English! I never know what I'm going to find—a humorous travel blog, a customer's e-mail question about a tech product, a personal (and poignant) note from a child to a parent he's barely seen, a news article about a rock star, a message from a bank to a customer, promotional material for a hotel/resort, a frozen foods website, a press release about a fantastic new product—I could go on and on!
Almost every job requires some research, so I'm always learning something new (both in Italian and in English), and that's the bottom line for me. I love researching and learning new things, and translating allows (requires!) me to do that.
My name is Sarah. I'm originally from New Zealand and am now based in Osaka, Japan.
I've been translating from Japanese to English on Gengo for about a year now. It's fascinating work.
It's hard to say what I love the most about translation. Especially when working with two languages as different as English and Japanese, you find yourself constantly having to make judgement calls about how to best express something in the target language, while still being true to the source. Good writing skills in the target language are a key part of this.
Japanese and English are each rich languages with their own quirks. Some Japanese words and phrases can be difficult to translate into English, but I really enjoy the challenge that these kinds of words present. I'm lucky to be able to keep learning more and more about the Japanese language every day as I work, while also learning more about my own native language at the same time. So much about a culture is tied up in the language. I find that the more I learn, the more aware I am of the differences in culture and ways of thinking that exist between Japan and the West.
Hi, I'm Cheryl. I'm originally and currently in France. To me there is no better moment while translate than to take a French phrase where there is no real English equivalent and making it culturally relevant in the target language. This came about from watching an American film with French subtitles. An American used John Wayne's name but in the subtitles, they changef the name to something relevant to the french. That's stuck with me ever since. Translation is a big puzzle of fitting words in the most natural way possible.
I am Sergio, a native Italian actually living in Italy. I've been working for Gengo since February 2016 and what I love most of this job is that it lets express your creativity and imagination whilst enjoying a real passion.
I've been loving the English language since I was a boy, when a prepared, passionate and severe teacher was able to instill this passion into me.
Here on Gengo you can find quite every kind of job. So, what better way to discover new things, improve your knowledge and, at the same time (but above all), to apply something you consider essential in your life?
Translating means slowly approaching to bilingualism, which means completion of what a person is in himself and achievement of what he aims to.
For all this, I think we also should thank Gengo.
I'm Carola and have been a Gengo translator for EN > GER / GER > EN since April 2015.
My favorite part of being a translator is that this profession requires equal amounts of skill -- knowing the source language down to recognizing idioms, and mastering the spelling and grammar of the target language -- and creativity. After all, translations are never simple equations along the lines of "word x + word y = translation z". There are often several different routes waiting to be taken. To be able to give the original author a voice in a language they didn't even know they were speaking is a great challenge and privilege.
Good morning to all time zones! My name is Kay-Viktor and I’m a German living in Germany and translating from English into German. I have been a software developer for more than 30 years now, and I still have a good job in this area, so you could ask why should I start a second career as a translator? I’m not that much into languages, but I needed English all the time for my job, so I’ve always had near-professional English skills. I think what you really need as a translator is a certain love for your own language. Your own language is the modeling clay you create your works with, and your perfection in your own language is what your clients are paying for. I’ve always written articles and other pieces for professional and hobby purposes and to my own surprise I found that I love writing.
When I started my professional career, there was no such thing as the Internet, online dictionaries or other sorts of information at your fingertips apart from the books you had on your shelf. With the options of today’s technology, working not only from home, but even from another country or continent has become feasible. And I find this idea absolutely fascinating. It might be somewhat of a stereotype, but the thought of sitting on a small tropical island, watching the sea waves and working with a laptop on the terrace is dreamlike for me. You could say that this should be possible in my original job as a software developer as well, but in reality that’s not so easy. Software development is team work, projects are long and complicated, meetings with other departments or clients are necessary, and doing all this online might be possible but it’s really not the same. On the other hand, most translation jobs are comparably short, meeting clients and agencies online is normal anyway, and I cannot think of any reason why I could not do this anywhere on earth where I find a reliable Internet connection.
At this point in my life, translating is still a side job for me, it’s kind of a test to see if it works in the long run, and I am not in a hurry. But some years from now, who knows, maybe you’ll find me on that island.
To me, translating is like an exercise for my brain. Something I can't seem to get from any other activity.
Among the variety of works that I did through years as an engineer, translating is the one that's closest to meditation.
Who wouldn't like to make money while meditating! :)
Greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina!
This is my 3rd year translating English to LatAm Spanish and I think I simply couldn't live without this.
Since my background includes two degrees in Music and Education, I also work as a teacher at the Conservatoire. However, there's some special thrill I only seem to get from translation. That's why I love it. Our workflow can give us an adrenaline rush when we least expect it!
Ups and downs aside, I believe facing new topics everyday while dealing with meaning subtleties and ambiguity makes us develop an acute awareness of what is truly human: language.
Hi I am Shihpin, English to Japanese translator at Gengo, for say, 5 years now?
What is important for me about being a independent translator is, I own means of production.
When industrial revolution took place centuries ago, workers had to gather in factories to produce,
and when they were let go, they had to leave means of production behind.
Many people who work in companies today, they are same, when they are let go, what they do is find another company to work for.
I think I am forever indebted to Steve Jobs.
I'm Sara. I live in Austria. I've always enjoyed writing, and translation lets me use my writing skills to the full. It requires me to make judgment calls regarding what terms to use and translation agencies trust my judgment. Each translation is like a fascinating puzzle to solve. Above all, I'm completely self-taught. I attended university, but I didn't even graduate, and my course of study was certainly nothing language-related. I taught myself the source language I translate from and it means a lot to get good feedback from Gengo and other agencies about the work that I do. I am a successful one-woman business, and I find that very satisfying, and I have Gengo to thank for giving me the confidence to reach out to agencies to find work.
This is awesome! We love reading all your replies :)
We would like to be able to feature as many as your replies as possible in the blog, but we have a limited space, so I was wondering if you guys could provide a shorter version of your comments? Maybe within 100 words - just to highlight what you love the most!
You are of course welcome to write an official 100 word version and then to expand, though, to keep the conversation going ;)
«With 26 years of experience in journalism and many travels around the world, becoming a translator was a new way to live with cultural differences, every single day. I started my amateur translations back in 2006 when I was in Dublin, doing a job about the European Union, and a guy from an arabic TV Broadcast thought that i was from his country. Indeed, Portuguese people has too much in common with them, but since that day my intercultural life has changed forever. And now Gengo is giving me the chance to travel, even when I am on my laptop.» Paulo Caldeira (Translator EN-PT)
My name is Jonatan. I live in Stockholm, Sweden, and I've only this year started working for Gengo as a translator from English to Swedish.
What I love most about translating is that as much as it is about language it is also about culture in general. Sure, the words we use are different, but the way we use them is too, and translation is one of the best ways, if not the only way, to bridge that gap and to not only bring yourself closer to the "other" language and culture, but to also bring both languages closer to each other.
I love those moments when you realize that a word in one language sums up what you need five words to say in another, and your like: "how have we gone without this word all this time?" And I love working around those obstacles. It's a great way to keep learning languages you already thought you knew, and add to their evolution.
Hi, my name’s Damien, I translate English to French, somewhere, in the French countryside.
Translating is all about a daily learning. From translating the description of a new app, a geological study of a land in Benin, the speech of a bridesmaid for a wedding,… you're linked with the world. Our body stays behind a laptop, but our mind travels everywhere in the world. And, being someone in the shadow, who helped, even in a very little aspect, in the building of a power plant in Africa or in making a wedding a very special day for a couple somewhere in the world makes you really happy.
Hello everyone! My name is Bruno, I'm from São Paulo, Brazil, and I'm translating from English to Brazilian Portuguese.
What I like most about being a translator is the fact that I'm always learning while I'm working. No matter the type of job, there is always something new that I can learn from the need to research and really understand the source and its meaning to be able to translate the best way possible. All this especially with Gengo, where I can work/learn on the go!
I love translating as I love challenges. Each new translation I start is a challenge - to turn it into natural sounding and understandable English. Some documents are technical and require some research, others are a simple address or email response. With each translation I do I learn something. I also love helping people and through translation I feel that I am helping people beyond the small area that I live.
Hello. My name is Sarah, I am English and I live in Germany. I translate DE-EN.
I studied English at university and I love all types of writing; translation is an extension of this. It allows me to be my own boss, work from home, but get up and go out if I need a break. I never know what the subject of the next job is going to be, which keeps me interested (I have a low boredom threshold) and now, after some time of juggling teaching English and translations I earn my living mostly from the latter.
Hi! I'm Spencer Walle. I'm French-American, I live in Sweden, and I translate in a few language pairs but mostly Japanese and German into English. I love translating for many reasons!
I love the doors that are opened up by knowing a language, and how you can go from being a tourist to being a member of society.
I love the challenge of having to learn about new concepts—I'm constantly learning new words in my own mother tongue (like "hygrochromic" and "postprandial") because my job involves reading other people's ideas.
And I love the puzzle that is trying to wedge foreign ideas into native sentences. When you work with languages like German and Japanese that can be so grammatically different from English, you start to realize that writers express their ideas within the confines of the grammar of their own language, and it is the translator's job to unshackle these ideas and remold them to fit them into the target language. It's an engaging puzzle that I am endlessly grateful to call my job.
My name is Hryhoriy. I am from Uzhgorod, Ukraine.
I started translating from English to Russian on Gengo only a month ago, and have done 4 small jobs so far.
Doing any job in general and translating in particular, I most enjoy the challenge. If a customer is satisfied with the result, it makes me very happy.
Hello,my name is Lawrence Fan. I am from Taiwan.
I passed the exam for English to Chinese a while ago but so far,no job yet.
I really like being a translator because I just love language of any kind,so I want to help other realize how amazing "language' is by helping them understand another language.
Hi, all! My name is Kathleen and I live in Arizona, U.S.A. now. I translate German to English and have lived in Germany.
Here's what I love about translating:
I love being on the knife-edge of concentration, balancing lightly between two worlds which demand equal attention. Going from the original language to the target language and back again is like shifting from the use of one side of the brain to the other. There is a constant tension which must find resolution in the smoothest and most elegant way possible. Questions of grammar, vocabulary, idiomatic expression, lexical choice, tone, culture, and fundamental word order flash through the mind quickly, or rather, all at once. It’s not just being on a knife-edge, it’s juggling while dancing there. Because it’s hard, it’s fun!
Thanks for giving me the chance to express my love of translating!
Hmmm. Sorry for the repetition in my posting. I was trying to figure out how to add a profile photo.
The error message kept telling me to "TRY AGAIN"-- which I unfortunately did.
Does anyone know how I might be able to edit (i.e., remove) the extra copies? This is embarrassing!
We are still waiting for an edit function. Something which would be lovely to have since as translators we all aim for accuracy and it is doubly embarrassing to see uneditable typos in our posts when we hit "save" without proof-reading.
@Kathleen - I took care of the repeated posts for you :) I will see what I can find out about the possibility of having an "edit" function.
My name is Amanda. I live in Texas and translate Japanese to English. The thing I enjoy most about translation is that it gives me a chance to be creative. I especially love translating video games, comics, and short stories because I like figuring out how best to express the characters' personalities and feelings in the target language.
Hi fellow linguists!
I am reaching you out because Gengo is represented at ProZ.com Community Choice Awards!
Could you please give a hand?
My name is Victoria, I live in Spain I translate English to Spanish.
I love languages and of course translating. To me, the best part of this profession is to be able to help people to communicate when they can’t speak a language. It feels great to know that, even though the clients can’t see you, you are helpful to them.
Thanks so much for sharing what you enjoy the most about being a translator! I have loved reading all of your responses :)
I just wanted to let you know that today (July 31st) is the last day to comment, in case anybody still wants to join in!
We would really love to use all of your responses, but since we have received so many (thank you!) and the blog space is limited, we will have to chose only a few to be featured - thanks so much for your understanding!
If you all like the idea, I would like to keep this thread open even after International Translation Day. I think it is a great space for sharing a common passion, and that shouldn't be limited to a specific time of the year! :)
Hi every one!
I translate from English to Arabic.
To me the ability to express yourself in an eloquent way is very powerful, imagine when you can do than in another languge! The ability to express and reach out accross cultures is what drives me as a translator.