Circles and curves- what does it mean to go the full circle for a translator Learning curves

Greater than 2 minutes

It’s known that for a translator to be good and of quality, the translator must take pains to actively research and dig, dig hard, dig persistently in the accessible data on the web to find that one particular word, term, expression that is needed to convey a given meaning in the target language.

When I say dig, I really mean that a translator should carry an imaginary shovel with him/herself in case of need. This is especially handy when interpreting. You simply don’t have everything at your arms’ length.

With every new solution your term bank is getting richer and richer and you slowly get the feeling that you’re heading on a road, along which your luggage gets heavier and heavier. Easily enough, the burden is not physical- the wealth of new words and terms start weighing down on the capacity of the brain to absorb them and store them there, where they will be easily found and pulled out.

Going full circle

The searching process may seem the same every time – from looking up a term at an exact web address you know you can rely on, resorting to a glossary created based on previous projects, trying additional avenues, until you reach the end of the road by contacting a fellow translator, who could have saved you the agonies of searching had you contacted him/her first. Like a circle, it is. Here you complete the full circle.

You can try going full circle or stop halfway, repeating this trip with each new term and expression you want to pin down. But, it’s not just enough to find and insert, then move on-the goal is to internalise what you have found. This offers you a recourse for similar future projects.

With every circle you enter, there’s a curve attached. The learning curve. The word “steep” is mostly used in connection with the “learning curve”. Such a curve shows how intensively one is engaged in the process of learning. For a translator, each new project adds on new layers and new requirements and each can aid to resolve the next project, if one has acquired the necessary knowledge from them.

Only if you find yourself repeatedly in the circle can you stay afloat and work off that steepness ascribed to that learning curve. You must be motivated enough to grab that shovel without reluctance. There’s so much information to unearth and profit from.

Mariann Makrai

About Mariann Makrai

Living in Croatia, born in Szekesfehervar, Hungary. As if that wasn't enough, added two more languages. Now juggling with four balls of fire, minding not to be burned too much.

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