Does one have to be born a good translator?

Discussion in 'General Language' started by chipmunk, May 5, 2004.

  1. chipmunk

    chipmunk Member

    I have a question for you ! Does one have to be born a good translator? Or is it possible to become one (I mean learn how to translate)?
    Dekuju chipmunk :p
  2. amraam_7

    amraam_7 Well-Known Member

    someone has the gift and tis much easier, but with lots of training, anyone can become a translator :) in my opinion
  3. Dana

    Dana Well-Known Member

    I don't know what type of translation you have in mind. There is a difference between translating technical manuals, legal contracts, and translating fiction or poetry.

    I'd say having a feel for language, an innate linguistic ability, is very important, if not a must. You have to have a passion for language to become a really good translator. There is also a lot to learn - about lexicology, sentence structure, localization, handling dialects, slang, etc. There are things that one simply needs to learn about translation. And of course, practice makes perfect.
  4. Karel

    Karel Well-Known Member

    Hi Chipmunk,

    I think it very much depends on many circumstances that may differ from person to person. From what I`ve heard it takes for a professional translator 3-5 years to get familiar with the area of the language s/he deals with. (Economics, Law, Engineering etc.). It follows that there is much more knowledge required than "just" the language drill. I cannot imagine anyone translating Whitehead and Russell`s Principia mathematica without any knowledge of mathematics. Similarly, I could never bother reading anything that has got something to do with law affairs. Boring, starchy....

    Relatedness between the languages you are going to challenge is also important in assessing how long it`s likely to take you to get proficient. Being an Italian, you`re highly likely to get proficient in Spanish in a very short time. Being an Australian, and having decided to mess about with Chinese, you`d better give it a wee longer. :D

    Is your girlfriend/wife a native speaker of the language you are going to translate from/to? Do you live in the country where the language is spoken? Do you have a flair for languages? These may speed up the years of laborious work. For my part, I don`t think that everyone can do the job as not everyone can run fast, sing high C`s and so on. One thing is to translate on this site another thing is to get professional and take full responsibility for the risks of causing some demages to the company you`ve provided your tranlasion for.

    Anyroad, whatever your choice is Good luck.

    Just my thoughts

  5. Karel

    Karel Well-Known Member

    oops, I seem to have edited my post before signing, or rather quoted myself instead of editing it. Unfortunately it popped up as a new post. I can`t remove this message altogether, can I? OK, just found the line that says I cannot delete it. sorry

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