There you go, how about another new year resolution?! January is not yet over, we’re allowed!
What prompted this post? I hear you ask. Well, I’m revising a text about a piece of electronic equipment I’m not entirely familiar with. I’m not a specialist of RF devices, so before I start revising the text, I cram for it. Hey, no shame in cramming! We’re not supposed to know everything about everything. In less than 30 minutes, I find all the relevant material on the Web, written by specialists (no Wikipedia, real professionals) and when I’m confident enough that I have all the data and all the terminology in the target language, I open the file I’m supposed to revise, and I make a start.
Oh dear. That’s when I realise the translator has not done his/her homework and does not even know what he/she is talking about. Aaaargh!
Not doing our homework? Reflects so badly on us…
Doing our homework is good because…
1 – We are translators/revisors, not technicians or engineers, and that’s fine. Our main skill is translation and linguistics, not engineering.
2 – Human beings are learning machines. We can learn about anything, quickly and efficiently. There is no shame in not knowing exactly what we are translating about. With a bit of research, we can understand the subject, learn about it and translate a text about it competently.
3 – If we really don’t get the subject, we should walk away, admit we are not competent, and leave it to someone who really gets it.
But doing our homework is critical. It is not only about integrity and honesty, it is about fun and the excitement of learning something new, or at least trying to understand something new, and feeling good about ourselves. That ‘Yay! I learnt something new today!’ feeling.
I think life is about learning, and as translators/revisors, we have the perfect job for that, don’t you think?
I hope you’ll learn something fascinating today. Have a great day! 🙂