Two disciplines, common goals: understanding cultural codes, discovering order in “the foreign,” rendering through language an appreciation of “the unknown other.”


To an ordinary reader, translation might mean finding “equivalents” for the words of the source text in the target language, thereby making the words of one language understandable in another. But for a translation researcher, it denotes a broader phenomenon where the strangeness has to be found out, decoded and incorporated into the rendered text. → continue reading


Translation and interpreting have a fascinating historical role in the development of empire and the postcolonial world. AN INTERVIEW BY THOMAS J. CORBETT

The work of Robert J. C. Young, Julius Silver Professor of English & Comparative Literature at New York University, concerns marginalized peoples and cultures. Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction devotes its final chapter to translation. Translation is seen not only as a colonial activity but also as a metaphor: transplanting England to New England, for example, is itself a form of translation. The interview began with an oblique question, a question that provoked a typically original and enlightening response from Professor Young. → continue reading


The young whippersnappers today have no idea how good they have it. BY INES SWANEY

When NCTA was founded in 1978, any mention of e-mail would have been understood as Express Mail known in the United States as Special Delivery. This was the common way of sending urgent information, all typed or printed on paper, of course.  Fax machines were a luxury that some major companies had at their offices. I still recall my first encounter with one of these devices. Someone explained to me that it worked just like a photocopier, except that you started with an original and then the copy would come out somewhere else, even in another continent, as long as everyone’s telephones lines were working properly and you got to keep the original. My cousin in Houston, who was involved in the energy industry, bragged that he had received a fax all the way from Qatar. → continue reading


Professional translation is a multi-step process. BY DAGMAR DOLATSCHKO

Why do we need editing and proofreading at all? Shouldn’t all translators be perfect to begin with? What’s an editor and why is proofreading different from editing? And why should I pay anything extra for editing and proofreading? Isn’t that part of the translation process?

To illustrate the first point I’d like to start out with a little story about a lawyer in Germany. The law firm wanted to find out more about how we work and how we ensure quality. So I proceeded to explain the usual process:   → continue reading


Advice for ensuring the relationship between freelance translator and client remains harmonious, productive and pleasant for both sides. BY HERBERT EPPEL

In the 15 years since I started diversifying into translation I have worked with around 100 different clients and have encountered dozens of others, many of them translation agencies. Based on this experience it is worth reflecting on what distinguishes these agencies in terms of their interaction with the translator. → continue reading


The often dysfunctional relationship between project managers and freelance translators may stem from a simple lack of communication. BY SUSAN AYOOB

In a fast-paced, deadline-driven industry, freelance translators and project managers communicate constantly, yet there is often a lack of true communication between both parties. In a way, this is understandable, since there is often little time to discuss details when a project has a short turn-around time. Call, confirm, translate, and deliver. Yet regardless of a project’s scope—be it the translation of a few sentences in Word or a file consisting of thousands of words and involving the management of a hefty translation memory—clear project instructions are an absolute must in order to ensure an on-time, accurate delivery (as well as the avoidance of headaches on both sides). I have worked as both a project coordinator and a freelance translator, and I know that there are certain things that project managers would love for freelance translators to know, and likewise, translators often wish that project managers could do some things a bit differently. → continue reading