The Ideal Translator
I won’t take your time with my rant. Instead, I’m going straight to the point of this post.
I came up with the idea to write-
Oh, sorry about that.
Okay, so the ideal translator. Again, just like the ideal voice over actor which I had written before, this is basically what I think and in my opinion what an ideal translator needs to have.
If you find it disagreeable or would like to counter the points I’ve written here, please leave your comment below.
Anyway, the ideal translator.
In my opinion, these are the qualities a translator need to be great or good in their work.
1) KNOWLEDGE and UNDERSTANDING
-Knowledge is important, more so to a translator because a translator will be the one who’ll do the knowledge transfer. Knowing the language well and with deep understanding will lead to a better translation and better knowledge transfer. Then comes Understanding. Understanding compasses the knowledge of the customs and culture of the work a translator translate. Sure, a translator could translate a work with only the knowledge of the language, but without the understanding of the language’s custom/culture, the translation would only be half complete and won’t achieve full knowledge transfer.
-Why the need to understand the culture/custom instead of simply knowing about them? Only by understanding can a translator understand why the text/dialogue/whatever was written the way they are written. It helps the translator breaks down their work to its most core form and thus understand the core knowledge hidden in the work they are translating. Things like wordplay, idioms etc. needs understanding as not every one of them can be directly translate to another language.
-Again, just like with the ideal voice over actor, being a translator needs passion. One needs to like the work their doing and do it at the utmost of quality regardless of the payment they’ll receive. One easy way to see if you have the passion to be a translator is to join an anime fansub group. Fansub groups, while considered renegade by some, is in my opinion the best place to cultivate that much needed passion. Anime fans especially are some of the harshest critiques one could find and they don’t mind voicing their disappointment with the quality of the release if they find it disappointing. So a translator, be it to their liking or not, will be pressured to give their best with every release.
-Yes, even translators needs to do research. It is common sense since only through research can a translator gain knowledge about their work. Now, by research I don’t mean using Google Translate, that is plain lazy and stupid. By research I mean knowing the names, the places, the settings, the work itself in a whole and deep enough to understand what the original work is trying to say. Research can also lead to less mistakes in translation. Mistake in translation is a very powerful thing because it carries itself as long as the work is being used. Hence, even the simplest of mistake, like misspelling the name of the main character, could have dire consequences to a translator’s reputation.
-Here’s a good idea for those who are not fond of going through the internet every single day:
a) Search for the title of the work
b) Collect as many information as you can about the work (open as many tab as possible)
c) Copy and paste every information you collected into a Word document (or whatever word processor you’re using) and place it inside a single folder with the title of your work. Remember to copy and paste to a different file for every information you copied from the net. It’ll be easier to digest compared to a single file filled with 100 pages of information.
d) place the folder into another folder marked “Research/Reference [insert the title of your work]” and placed it inside another folder named “Work”
e) Place the “Work” folder on your desktop and voilà, you have everything you need in front of you and you no longer need to go to the internet every single day.
There you have it.
Are they impossible to achieve? Not really, it’s pretty achievable if you really strive to be the best and not just another translator.