Greater than 2 minutes
I’ve been reading lots of articles extolling academic degrees and certificates in Translation, saying that whoever lacks these cannot be relied upon for professional translation tasks. Well, I strongly disagree with them.
There are very fine translators who lack academic background in Translation, certificates, who loathe membership to associations, but, nevertheless, have what tons of such mega-educated, certified and “membershipped” translators most often than not lack: INBORN TALENT and LIFELONG EFFORT.
I can tell that from my 20-year experience as a professional translator in Brazil: every single semester, young, high-school graduates flock by the thousands to universities and colleges that offer degrees in Translation, with little more to their name than the indigent foreign language skills acquired in their K12 years (or in money-grab FL schools, for that matter – “one at every corner in town to better serve you suckers”).
These wannabees enter an undergrad Translation course sincerely thinking it’s a “little-more-expensive-and-longer FL course – down here, only English and Spanish). Even worse, they can barely write a cohesive 500-word essay about ANY subject, even passing the college admission tests (ENEM, FUVEST, you name it) with “flying colors” in the mandatory essay (i.e., the quality of review and scoring by the official bodies are HIGHLY questionable, too.)
Translating means, down to nitty-gritty, being able to write REALLY well and being fond of READING (i.e., imitating the style of fine authors), which is a lifelong effort, and many young students think “Okee-dokee, my Portuguese (or FL) teacher gives me writing assignments every now and then, I return the best s*** I can, and, if I get a B- or C, that’s fine.” They actually hate reading and writing , or keep these activities to the bare minimum, just to barely “make the cut”. “Oh, but I love translating song lyrics, maybe someday I can be a fine translator”. That’s the spirit.
Fast-forward, four (or so) years later: these intellectual indigents get their degrees in Translation & Interpreting, brandishing their fresh diplomas in the faces of the poor no-grads, no-certs, and making a hell of an impression on translation agency owners or direct clients, hoping to get their first professional translation jobs.
Then, when they come across a seasoned no-grad, no-cert, but highly-talented translator, able to deliver nearly perfect translations on any imaginable subject, they sneer at him, often blinding him with science, dropping names of high-profile professors, theorists, linguists, quoting Saussure and Chomsky right and left, and invoking translation theory principles, all to discredit and disqualify the battle-hardened translator.
That’s the painful truth, fellas!