A Translator Is First Of All A Writer
Why A Translator Has To Be First Of All A Writer
Translators become translators because they’re passionate about languages and writing. Writing well, I mean. We generally love grammatically correct, accurate, fluent and smooth texts that are pleasurable to read.
We can spend one hour looking for one term that condenses the idea of a whole sentence, because when you know the power of words you don’t need too many. We select and cut until the text says exactly what we want it to. We do this as writers, and even more as translators.
The stereotype is that translation is just the mechanic act of transforming text A into text B as we would do with a mathematical equation. This is called literal translation, or word-for-word translation.
Let’s break the stereotypes and say: if you are a translator and you think the same about your work, you’re confusing yourself with Google Translate. This tool tries to recognise the function of each word according to its position in the sentence, giving you a potential translation.
But what about those languages in which the word order is not fixed, thus allowing me to write the same sentence in dozens of ways? A computer program is not sensitive, it can easily misunderstand the meaning. And above all, it’s not able to write.
Whereas, translators have many elements to work with to tune the text; word order, text and sentence structure, and a wide range of terms. We play with words as a painter plays with colours.
That’s why I really believe we not only translate the meaning of texts, but we build a scenario: we translate, transform, and re-write. We have to convey the original meaning, but we are also able shape it until we create a text with its own identity. Thus, in doing so we are not only translators, but writers too.