Ten things I learned from my latest translation project

Tonight, I'm handing over my latest translation project. I can't tell you what it is, yet - but I can tell you that it was a lot of fun! I can also share with you the most important things I learned when working on this freelance project.

  1. There is a world of difference between the way in which you work on projects you have to take (for money) and projects you choose to take (because they're interesting). This was the latter.
  2. There is only so much you can do to make average bits of text read OK...
  3. And you shouldn't be trying to make them read much better than they are in the original.
  4. Having said that, bigger project will always mean more chances to come back to an idea, or a joke, or an image, which couldn't work in translation in its original place. It's like having a thousand places to plant a seed instead of just ten - you'll find a good spot for it, if it's worth finding one.
  5. Choosing good soundtracks is crucial for me if I'm to focus well.
  6. Working in the evening / at night seems to be better for my translation than working in the mornings.
  7. There are certain things that no machine model will ever be able to do better than a human translator, and this gives me hope...
  8. Although there are some things which I wish machines were already powerful enough to do - for authors and translators alike!
  9. I enjoy being able to imagine the story I'm translating, and the voices / accents / habits of my characters. This also determines word choices - would my soldiers use shovels or spades, for example?
  10. To avoid last-minute rushes, I decided to commit to regular progress, and had several mechanisms in place to make that the schedule remains in place. It worked!

You'll only receive email when they publish something new.

More from Vic Work: notes on learning, technology and play
All posts