Translators have to be writers. They also have to be students who delve deeply into their reading and studies. Translation of words can be relatively easy if the translators have a strong command of the two languages they are working with. Crossing between cultures can be a little more challenging and one has to be completely immersed in them to truly grasp meaning, but for a third culture kid, who has very likely lived in the two separate and distinct cultures, a little work can usually resolves any issues. But occasionally we come across an important document written by an expert in their field with very little concept of grammar, word flow or perhaps even punctuation, or redundancy. These are the brain teasers that open the door to some of the greatest work, a true lover of words will ever produce. This is when the real creative juices start flowing.
Now the translator must ask and get answers to very important questions.
- Do I really understand what I’m reading?
- Is this the word that is supposed to go here, or did the writer skip a word?
- If I use a more colorful word, without changing the deep meaning, will it encourage the readers to keep reading?
Ours is not writing for writing’s sake. We are taking a piece of important work and transferring the meaning so the chosen audience will gain its benefit. While we write and transfer meaning, we also hope to please our clients and not drive them crazy with questions. So we ask and answer the questions that we can for ourselves and then creatively and briefly gain the details we need from our clients, and hopefully wow them with a word choice we made that knocks their creation over the top! Our most brilliant clients will thank us for filling in the gaps where their communication skills wane, while allowing them to share their genius with an extrinsic culture.