I am gearing up to start blogging properly again, but meanwhile some reading from a website on running a small business from home. Someone tweeted it this morning, I hope as a joke but perhaps not. The site gives advice on how you can earn money as a ‘verbal translator’ (this seems to mean an interpreter) or a ‘text-based translator’ (apparently a translator). This opportunity is open to you even if you do not have the ideal qualification of having grown up bilingual:
Most organizations who are looking to hire a verbal translator will prefer to find translators that grew up speaking both languages. Fully bilingual, these translators have been speaking both languages since their childhood and this can help bring a fluid mastery that many other translators will not have. These translators will often understand the rhythm and cadence of a particular region which many students of language cannot master.
I have always had the impression that ‘true bilinguals’ are not typically ideal translators, but apparently I was wrong. Looking at my day’s work today, I must admit that fluid mastery is not the first description that occurs to me.
Another important point made, if I interpret it correctly, is that whereas interpreters can just babble away, we translators need to know grammar. That’s good, because I’ve spent quite a few years teaching grammar. The students didn’t seem keen, but I always knew it would be useful some day.
While a verbal translator needs to be able to efficiently handle the ever changing dynamics of a language, text based translators often need to have a better hold on grammatical structure of a language. Both types of translators should certainly be able to both speak and write the language, although text translators should know the specifics behind important grammatical rules of the language. Most written documents will need to have an educated proficiency behind them.
Looking behind me, I haven’t spotted the educated proficiency yet, but I feel sure it must be there.
This is why a number of different tools can all come in handy when you are learning how to become a translator.
Here I am disappointed. I was hoping they would tell me what tools they meant. Do they mean software, or is it hammers and screwdrivers? Still, I am presumably past that point and there seems hope here:
Once you are able to hold a conversation or read a book in two different ways, though, you will know that you are ready to find work as a translator.
(I wonder whether these texts are bought in from Asia?)