31 January 2009

"I need a dump truck, baby, to unload my head"


One occupational talent that is indispensable for a translator is to learn how to forget. Working simultaneously in technical translation and foreign-language typesetting, and later book design and typography, this essential skill developed over 14 years. The drawback is that once a book translation is finally printed, you can't really remember doing it. A lot of the time that's a blessed boon. It takes a really good book to stick in your head, and Stieg Larsson's do, even two to three years later. I'll leave it to the academics to figure out why. To me that's the mark of a genius writer.

6 comments:

  1. Hi,

    This might be a long-winded question but how did you get started translating fiction professionally? I understand you started as a technical translator.

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  2. Hi Gonzalo, That's a long story, which will have to wait a couple of days before I have time to answer. Gotta get back to work, weekends are my best time. Stop by again!

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  3. You're absolutely right, the right approach, no doubt. I hope it really does not mess serious move between styles and genres all the time, even the different plots must not contribute to the idea of holding everything together .. well, good luck, and do not forget to remove the trash sometimes!


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  4. It is a bit confusing when working on one thriller myself, editing one my wife translated, and reading another for a publisher, not to mention a 4th for bedtime reading, to keep all the plots straight sometimes.

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  6. Brett: Huh? Finance is not my field.

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