Translation News

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What I wish I knew before I studied translation

21st June 2018

When I was in high school, I became fascinated with the idea of translating books. Beyond improving my acquired languages, I had no idea how to go about making my dream of being a literary translator a reality.

When I started to do research, I found plenty in the way of anecdotes and personal stories, but very little in the way of practical advice. Now that I’m a few years down the road, I’ve written down some of the things I wish someone had told me me way back when!

“Literary translators come from a multitude of backgrounds. Many are authors first of all, for whom translation is a natural extension of their work. Others are literary critics or academics, who translate to give a wider audience access to the works they study. With the growing popularity and visibility of global literature in the English-speaking world, on the other hand, has come increased visibility of literary translation as an art of its own.

Like most artistic vocations, working as a literary translator in theory requires no formal qualification. Anyone with a good command of two languages and a writerly inclination can give it a shot. But a masters-level degree in translation is the fastest, most focused route into the profession. This is true whether you are coming straight out of undergrad like I was, or you left full-time education long ago and are looking to make use of your language skills in a new way.”

Check out the full article at Asymptote Journal.