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Thread: So... um...

  1. #21
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    May 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by AllAboutSoul View Post
    substitute! Very glad you're here.
    Very glad? Awwww shucks!
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

    "When it all comes down to dust
    I will kill you if I must
    I will help you if I can" - Leonard Cohen

  2. #22


    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    I know sometimes I do make long posts, if this offends anyone then please feel free to skip them and don't feel obliged to respond (he shouts into the ether); if not, then party on!
    Hi substitute.

    I always read your posts when I run across them; they're well-written and entertaining.

    The biggest problem I have with your posts is your handle "substitute." I occasionally listen to a web radio station, and I hear the Who song of the same name pretty regularly. So I see your handle and that song starts playing in my head. It's not a bad song, but not really one of my favorites.

    Until recently I worked as a freelance translator and researcher...
    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    I just needed a Slavonic language and I'd be able to have a good stab at understanding most European languages, as long as it was just in text translations and I didn't have to speak or compose sentences...
    I was a freelance translator for years, and now have a staff translator/reviser position with a big organization. I do mostly Russian-to-English, but also some of the other Slavic languages. For a while after the fall of the Soviet Union I was doing a lot of Ukrainian and even Belarusian; now I do some of the Central European languages as well.

    I only translate into English, and like you I don't interpret. Last time I was in Russia was 1988 just before the fall of the Soviet Union, so my conversational Russian is just about nonexistent these days.

    By the way, here in the U.S. translation from Russian into English has just about dried up. Russian translation was big during the Cold War, and then business stayed strong in the 90s when Russia was an economic basket case and there were big flows of foreign aid. But now Russia is a stable democracy and has good English translators of its own. So Russian translators are going hungry here in the U.S.

    I'm hoping to hang on and stay with translating until retirement, mainly by virtue of stacking on more and more languages (mostly Slavic) and chasing the available trickle of work that way. But I wouldn't be surprised if I'm out of the business and working at a car lot selling cars in a couple years. Times are tough for translation in the Slavic languages.

    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    Well, learning the alphabet was the easiest part. I was already familiar with inflection and case systems from Latin, so I had no problem with that in Russian. The real trouble was just the sheer unfamiliarity of everyday vocabulary - the way that none of the words for anything sound even vaguely like anything I could recognise or access, so there wasn't much room for guessing, blagging and y'know, just figuring things out as I go along - I had to sit down and learn vocab lists painstakingly, which isn't my forte.
    I learned Russian from scratch in college. I had always had a knack for languages, and Russian seemed exotic. With the Cold War on at the time, there was even half a chance of using it professionally after college.

    At the learning stage, I treat languages like a jigsaw puzzle. Dictionaries, verb conjugations, declension charts, etc. are the tools; I sit down with the text and try to fit the endings and the pieces together until I get enough words and context to aid the translation. I see it almost like playing a game. Then over time the vocabulary and grammar lodge themselves in my head and the translating goes quicker of course.

    A single long translation assignment can bring me up to speed in a new language, especially if it's my fifth or sixth Slavic language. But I lose the new material as quickly as I learned it if I don't have opportunity to use it again soon.

    I just sold my half of the business to my luscious ENTJ business partner, since as a single parent of a disabled child, in the UK I'm entitled to welfare payments that mean I don't have to work, and I thought I'd take a break and focus more on my family and the non-money-making sides of life.
    Sounds good! Translating can mean irregular hours (at least as it's traditionally done by freelancers here in the U.S.), and a change of pace is always good.

    For me, translating has been good money and interesting work. But if the supply dries up and I end up picking up a new career, I don't think I'll miss translating. I like an occasional big change. I've done other work in the past, and one way or the other I expect translating won't be the last work I do.


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