Translator Interview | Birgit

How’s 2014 treating you so far?

Very nicely thank you. I started the year by working away from home, I rented a house in the UK to get a change of scenery, and it’s turned out to be quite busy, so I haven’t seen as much as I had planned. But it’s still nice to get to work in a different environment, which I find quite inspiring.

What are your goals for the coming year?

I want to travel a lot this year, so my trusted laptop and a stable internet connection is all I need. I can continue working while on the road.

Could you tell us a little about your specialist areas for translation?

I specialise in travel and marketing. I have found that these areas require more creativity as texts are translated and adapted to “flow” in the target language rather than being a word-for-word translation.

Another area, quite different from the above is waste management.

How did you start specialising in those areas?

I kept getting all sorts of different texts from clients (I still translate a variety of texts) and it turned out that I enjoy translating stuff that I am passionate about. It sounds weird to be passionate about waste management, I realise that, but in the face of all the environmental dangers it is great to hear about all the wonderful things that can come out of waste.

Can you share any advice for translators who want to be successful?

Be yourself, be open and don’t cling to your source text. Look at how it will sound in your target language. Think, is this how people would actually express themselves? A text should not read as if it has been “translated”.

What things make a translation agency easy to work with?

For me, it’s getting on with the PMS and not too much bureaucracy. I have had some agencies approaching me who requested pages and pages of questionnaires to be filled in, asking everything short of my shoe size. Honestly, I give up after the second page; I haven’t got time for this!

I have worked with Web Translations for 8 years now, and I love the relatively informal communication.

What kind of thing do you like to read? Is it similar to your favourite type of text to translate?!

No, not at all!

I don’t have much time to read to be honest. But when I am reading I enjoy easy going, funny stuff. My favourite book after all these years is probably still The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.