Other than my series of posts on keeping up the languages I speak, I will also be sharing all translation-related activities I've been doing to keep informed and keep learning.
As with my language days, podcasts are my activity of choice for hearing about how other translators translate, manage their freelance business, keep up-to-date with the industry, maintain work/life clarity (this is a Smart Habits for Translators mantra), and generally keep sane! My faves at the moment are Smart Habits for Translators and Speaking of Translation. I've started right at the very beginning of their series, so these are some of the episodes from 2020 I listened to this month:
Smart Habits for Translators 12: Financial habits for a healthy business – with Susie Jackson (10 March, 2020, 40 mins)
Susie talks about essential but often neglected (especially by me...) practices such as time tracking, budgeting, paying oneself a consistent monthly salary, keeping a buffer for slower months, splitting income into percentages for various expenses, scheduling time for personal commitments and content creation, using accounting software or spreadsheets and much more. I will definitely try to implement some of these habits, so thank you Susie, for these hugely important tips! Also, at the time of publishing the podcast, Susie was generously offering a free budgeting spreadsheet with written and video instructions, so I will find out whether this is still the case or anyone interested can check for themselves at https://www.susiejackson.co.uk/.
Smart Habits for Translators 20: Creating professional partnerships – with Corinne McKay (16 June, 2020, 56 mins)
Meet the Translator : MAstering Translation with Chris Drew (23 November, 2020, 45 mins)
I've only recently heard about this podcast created and hosted by Dot Roberts. In this first episode of her Meet the Translator series, Dot chats to Chris about their experience of doing an MA in Translation, what they enjoyed (or not) and what they wished had been included. They also answer questions sent in by other translation students.
There are many linguists blogging and vlogging out there. This month's viewing included a couple of my regulars as well as a newly-discovered series.
I already knew about The Translator's Studio, founded by Gwenydd Jones, from their newsletters and blog. Other than running CIOL DipTrans preparation courses, I discovered that they have a series of videos of interviews with established and novice translators on YouTube. This month I watched the first episode:
Ross Edwards on Starting out as a Translator (13 May, 2022, 20 mins)
Ross talks about how he started as a Spanish to English translator and copywriter. He went from translating TED talks (gaining useful feedback from mentors), then paid translation through recommendation by Gwynedd. He discusses diversification in writing and translation styles (literal vs. free translation), the importance of agencies clearly communicating what clients want, and how essential it is to receive feedback from project managers and proofreaders in order to improve. Ross suggests that novice translators focus on 'mastering the craft' and selling their services and recommends creating a website to spark interest. Finally, he feels that machine translation should not be seen as a threat but rather an opportunity, as it creates new roles in post-editing. For anyone interested in volunteering, there are links in the comments of the video. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1ZltM9JGvE
I have a rapidly growing collection of books on translation which I've only dipped into, especially during my MA. I've vowed to do them justice and read them for pleasure rather than for studies. My first will be:
Becoming a Translator, by Douglas Robinson – targeted at students, professional translators and scholars alike, the book covers translation theory, learning and memorisation techniques as well as practical information for fledgling translators.
As a member of the ITI, I receive their monthly bulletin which is packed full of articles on a whole host of subjects relating to the translation and interpreting industry. Inevitably, I have a pile of unread bulletins, so my goal is to set aside some time to go through them and comment on anything of particular interest. As I'm starting from the May-June 2020 issue, this could jog the memory of those ultra-organised ITI members who faithfully read their bulletins cover-to-cover as soon as they land on their doormat!! Watch this space...
Ditto the above... I think I shall have to take a few weeks off just to catch up on all this reading....
Slator Weekly, The Translator's Studio newsletter, American Translator's Association (ATA) blog 'The Savvy Newcomer', and many more...
Slator Weekly (26 April, 2022, Christy White - https://slator.com/post-editing-machine-translation-limits-creativity-in-literary-translation/)
Post-Editing Machine Translation Limits Creativity in Literary Translation — Research
It doesn't exactly come as a surprise that the results of the assessment ranked human translation (HT) as “extremely good translation,” machine translation (MT) as “extremely bad translation,” and post-edited (PE) translation as “neither good nor bad”. MT is notoriously bad at translating any text type - in this case literature - that involves nuance and linguistic creativity.
Interestingly, but again not surprisingly, the translators in the study felt “primed or conditioned” by the text to be post-edited, likening the constraint to wearing a “corset,” and feeling that the machine-translated text was “difficult to step out of”. They concluded that MT “does not yet have an ‘eye for context’ and has ‘no eye for style’ and that it 'misses the coherence of a whole text, only partially working at a sentence level.'
I'm certainly not against machines and consider them to be useful and definitely part of the translator's toolkit. I can't remember who said it, but I agree that translators won't be replaced by machines but rather by translators who use machines.
Webinars, ITI Revision Clubs...
One of the many perks of being affiliated with translation associations is their regular programme of webinars, short courses and workshops, as well as having access to their webinar library, for those of us who only joined relatively recently. This month I attended the following:
CIOL Webinar 'Get paid on time and protect your cashflow' (6th May, 2022). Presented by Sarinya Wood, a Thai interpreter, the webinar was packed full of valuable information, including terms and conditions, late payment and administration fees, reminders and filing small claims applications, and most importantly keeping everything documented as evidence, should you ever need to take a client to court. And I thought we freelancers just had to accept LSP’s and client Ts&Cs…! I shall definitely be implementing some of these tips in my working practices.
CIOL Webinar 'Translating User Experience - multilingual marketing in the midst of machine translation' (27th May, 2022). Maria Strange presented this extremely interesting webinar on reframing how we translate through the perspective of how the target reader experiences a translation. Takeaways were focusing on the target reader as a consumer, trying to reproduce the same reaction in the target reader as the source text reader and the importance of closer collaboration between linguists and marketing departments. Maria also reassured us that user experience translation is not within the reach of machines (yet...)!
I only recently created a LinkedIn profile as it was encouraged during my MA in Translation and I have tended to read only rather than actively engage. However, I feel I should make more of an effort to participate and in the spirit of this new networking moi, I signed up for:
'Always fully booked as a freelance translator' (16th May, 2022). A virtual roundtable organised and presented by Dr. Sylva-Michèle Sternkopf (https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-sylva-mich%C3%A8le-sternkopf-a3224126/). This inspiring and hugely energetic mentor told us her story about how she became successful as a translator and agency owner. She gave us many tips on how to get work and very generously offered to give feedback on how we approach a potential new client (specifically the wording we use in our applications) as well as a 30-min private chat with her to discuss fulfilling our potential. She also invited us to join her new LinkedIn group 'Fully Booked Translators'. Here's to finding new clients but also colleagues and friends!
Another bonus of membership with the ITI are its geographical, language and subject networks, of which I am a member of the French, Spanish and Italian networks. They regularly organise Zoom calls, translation slams and other events and this month I took part in:
ITI Italian Network 'Aperitivi: Netiquette' (19th May, 2020). As a newbie to the Italian network, this was my first 'aperitivo' and in preparation for the ITI conference, the coordinator Selene Genovesi had proposed we discuss online etiquette. We talked about the distractions of Zoom calls, including our background (i.e. what people can see behind us), interruptions from partners, children, pets etc., turn-taking, technology issues, discussions going on in the chat box (relevant and not...), as well as whether to have the camera on or off. With the ITI conference imminent, some participants were happy about the hybrid option, although some considered the cost of online attendance too high. I look forward to the next session in June - a translation slam from Italian to English.
ITI Revision Clubs
I think the idea of revision clubs originated from an ITI blog post by Kerry Gilchrist in 2021 (https://www.iti.org.uk/resource/the-power-of-revision-clubs.html). A few months ago, I had the opportunity to join two of them: there are three of us in the Spanish and four in the French club and so far, we have translated four very different texts. There's no doubt that it's a hugely beneficial exercise. We can learn so much from one another and it never ceases to amaze me how many different ways we come up with to translate even the most common words!
I'll post again in a month or so but, in the meantime, would love to hear what kind of activities other translators are doing and if there's anything coming up in the next few weeks you'd like to share.