Posted by: tierratemplada | April 10, 2013

Repeat after me: I’m a translator, not editor

/rant mode on/ Some employers think a translator is an orchestra-man, translator, editor, proofreader and designer in one. So today I got a really serious scolding from my agency, almost threatening to break co-operation altogether, because the translation was not good enough. I looked over the corrections they made and there were no errors per se. They were cosmetic, stylistic changes, many of them simply “beautifying” the original, which was a horrid mess. The editor basically rewrote some sentences, completely straying from the original text. I don’t blame him/her, but I don’t get paid to edit the original – I’m supposed to faithfully render it in the Target Language. When I pointed it out to my employer, he said that since the text looks better after editing, clearly it was possible for me to improve it even more. Here’s the thing: a translation is never perfect. Perfection is the unattainable ideal. You can improve and correct a text to death, and still find things to correct. But that’s the job of the editor/proofreader, not the translator. /rant mode off/

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