Qui est le traducteur

The translator’s true nature

In order to address preconceived ideas and dispel the vagueness surrounding the translation profession, learn about the true nature of the translator here.

“I don’t do translations, I’m a translator.”

In a profession as solitary as translation, having the opportunity to read a colleague’s comments is always a mine of information and also lifts the translators spirits (since they have finally found someone that shares the same problems), even if sometimes the content of the work being revised is negative.

An article published on Slate.fr is a good example of this. A translator had decided to get a negative experience regarding the stigma (??) around freelance translation off their chest, after an awkward encounter with their doctor (although he only had the best intentions).

In order to address these preconceived ideas and dispel the artistic vagueness surrounding the translator’s profession, Bérengère Viennot suggests a universal declaration (and provides useful data on tariffs) which I have summarized below:

A freelance translator is not:

– a dictionary
– a teacher
– just gifted in languages
– an available person
– an interpreter
– afraid of Google translate
– the freelance translator doesn’t make pocket money
– the freelance translator does not want to work at an agency
– the freelance translator does not work in any direction

The essential question then arises: what is the true nature of the freelance translator?

I started with a few suggestions and invited my colleagues to add to the list:

The freelance translator is:

– a gold mine of words
– a navigator of the flood of internet pages
– an excavator that digs the meaning of a sentence all the way to China
– a brilliant forger who reproduces works of art in their own way without betraying them
– a language converter
– a magician who gives meaning to a mysterious mess of syllables
– a juggler of expressions
– a “resolver” of linguistic puzzles
– a genius in decrypting international acronyms
– a firefighter who extinguishes the fires without sleep for 48 hours (of course, no one sees their corpse when they get back to work)
– ….

Translation into English: Chloe Findlay

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This article has been written by Laurence

Laurence graduated from Sciences Po Paris. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature from La Sorbonne. She lives in Argentina where she founded the Argentinian version of Inrockuptibles.