Want to be a better translator? Improve your own language. And look for good shoes 




  • Greater than 1 minutes

    When planning our CPD we often take into consideration core activities such as improving our marketing skills, learning how to use new CAT tools, how to boost our online presence and/or find new clients, dealing with financial aspects, gaining new specializations, etc…

    But working on our native language is not less important. Yes, the use of our own language can be improved. Believe me. Even if you have good writing skills, even if you are an experienced professional.

    I started considering it when I decided to attend a translators’ workshop on my native language, Italian, last month,  run by Mariarosa Bricchi, a literary fiction editor, in Milan, and developed by STL, a first class player for Italian translators’ CPD. And it turned out to be the right choice.

    Thinking over our own language, discovering what has changed since we learned it as children, gaining a new perspective given by the speaker, and the consideration offered by other attendants have all contributed to make the occasion formidable.

    With a bit of surprise, I noticed that this event has gone unnoticed by younger translators. All other activities are important, but to make the difference, to offer the quality of a true living language, I recommend to all fellow or prospect translators to attend CPD events aiming at improving writing skills in their own language, notwithstanding  one’s field of expertise. You may work in medical field, marketing, scientific or literary fields – it doesn’t matter. The way you use your language can determine client’s interest in working with you. Native language can be improved. And develop into a powerful way to stand out.

    Here are my final and totally personal takeaways:

    We often think that good writing means using precious and sophisticated words, searching for complexity, convinced that a text has to be a sort of evening dress, glittering and high-heeled, to show up at a lunch meeting. Good looking but not suitable. No, our texts have to communicate messages, bring on topics, catch our readers’ interest while being as clear and plain as possible. The content is the dress, not our texts. Our words are the good shoes that will take it around the world!

    Are you ready for the journey?

    Silvia Giancola

    About Silvia Giancola

    Professional translator (EN,FR>IT). In Finance and Marketing fields since 2000. Not yet tired. Still keen on learning and developing new skills. Still in love with my job. And life.

    9 thoughts on “Want to be a better translator? Improve your own language.

    1. I agree with every word, Silvia. I think it’s more important to master your native language than the one you translate from. I also believe that reading is the best way to master the skills you need to translate to or from a language. I read in English a lot, I’m also always reading something from the classical Russian literature, which is the best way not to forget the language, to keep seeing the difference between the two, to keep making your translations sound natural and organic.
      Never considered workshops or courses though. Thanks for the idea 🙂

      1. Reading and writing are both can be very helpful when mastering your translation skills (and having a good and super strict editor too, if you can afford one) 🙂

    2. Hi Alieva,
      Thank you for your comment. Yes, the contact with our native language is vital. We can keep it up with reading and writing as well. I had the chance to take part to this workshop and then I realized how beneficial it turned out on my translation. It pushed me to look for clarity, putting myself on the background and letting the text and the content emerge and communicate. I’m glad I gave you a new idea for your CPD!
      Ciao,
      silvia

    3. Hi Silvia! I couldn’t agree more – the more I learnt about translation, the more important I realized knowing my own language is. Thank you for this post and for reminding everyone of this 🙂

    4. Hi Silvia,

      Great insight, you are completely right, we tend to concentrate on our second, third languages better, because we think that our native one doesn’t have to improve. Yes, it does have to. Thanks for sharing!

    5. “We often think that good writing means using precious and sophisticated words, searching for complexity, convinced that a text has to be a sort of evening dress, glittering and high-heeled, to show up at a lunch meeting. Good looking but not suitable. No, our texts have to communicate messages, bring on topics, catch our readers’ interest while being as clear and plain as possible. ” – this passage here is a home run, Silvia! Brilliant and straight to the point. Simplicity is the key.

    Leave a Reply

    The Open Mic

    Where translators share their stories and where clients find professional translators.

    Find Translators OR Register as a translator