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Humanness is the key to interest

Posted 5 years 90 days ago ago by Annette Labbé     0 Comments

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One of the most important things about translation (and many people don’t think about this) is keeping the writing / the translation interesting.

I maintain that to have a successful translation, it must be interesting and engage the reader. How does one write about something they don’t enjoy and still maintain a level of interest? As a translator, I’ve had to write about a wide variety of subjects, some of them completely foreign to me and by extension difficult to get excited about.  Sometimes the promise of learning something new isn’t enough of an incentive. The best way to overcome the feeling of boredom or “necessity” is to look at the material in a way that does interest you.

For example, if you’re translating a promotional piece about machine parts but one of your areas of interest is psychology, look at the text by analyzing psychological/ sociological aspects of the promotion.  What kinds of words and methods do they use to persuade? What’s the overall tone of the piece?  What is the writer trying to convey the most? How can you, as the translator, get all that information across?

There’s always a way to make even the most challenging subject matter interesting for yourself and others. Most of the time, it’s just a matter of getting back to basic humanness.

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