Translators, those solitary beings, are they really capable of working in a coworking space? The answer has to be yes when you consider the number of followers of St Jerome (patron saint of translators) who work at Betacowork (your humble servant amongst them). So how do you find a translator? And where is the interest in investing in a professional translator? Some light on the subject.
Translators, these strange creatures
First, let’s examine these strange creatures, these workers in the shadows who hide themselves behind their computer screens and their dictionaries, books, websites, the reports that you read, or even the Power Point presentations (that sometimes make you yawn – admit it!)
Even if the profession is not regimented, many translators have, in effect, followed a specific training. “ Ah, so you did languages !” No, the translator has not “done languages” : he has (frequently) followed translation studies (yes yes – it exists), through which he has not only learned working languages, but also French linguistics, economics, law, nuclear physics (believe me, I’ve been through it) and even global politics. For to translate well, you have to, above all, understand what the author you’re translating is talking about.
If not with a diploma in translation, a translator is more frequently specialised in a specific field (law, architecture, finance etc.) and has decided to put his translating skill at the service of his chosen field.
Next: the translator is a linguist. his mother tongue holds no secrets for him. This is how you can spot him at a cocktail: he’ll be the first to tell, you when you say “I would of…” “NO you should say “ I would HAVE!”, whilst choking on a peanut, and then goes on to explain past participles to you (yes, the translator can be a bit heavy sometimes, but admit it-it can be for your own good.)
Translating and coworking – the advantages
So let’s see why so many have taken to working at Betacowork.
Open to other sectors
For Pierre, who translates into French, Betacowork offers “convivial and friendly space which allows for concentration, but also relaxation. It is also a great place to swap ideas and to develop new projects”.
For in being involved in other sectors, the translator not only opens up horizons, previously unknown, but also, why not? – consult coworking lawyers, architects, designers or developers for questions of a more technical nature on the text he’s translating. Handy!
Get out of the house!
Helena translates into Dutch: “even if I don’t go frequently, when I do go I have the feeling of belonging to a community. And also, I’m frequently glued into my seat at home. When I’m at Betacowork, I feel that I am moving and that I am “going to work”, as I used to, it changes my outlook. I also feel that I have colleagues in the fellow translators who I can share questions, jokes, and anecdotes about our chosen sector”.
Find new clients
Helena, just like Pierre, or Muriel, Armel or your humble servant, have all met new clients through working at Betacowork, whether among the other coworkers or through their recommendations. Logical when you consider the number of different professions that use the coworking space.
And your concentration amongst all this?
Most translators are used to working alone. Up until two years ago,when I started working at Betacowork, I never believed I could concentrate while surrounded by other people. I was wrong: for those like me who have a need for absolute calm in order to translate, Betacowork has the solution: The silent room. In this room, as the name indicates, it is forbidden to take calls, to talk loudly or for long with one’s colleagues: silence rules!
And when you want to take a break, you no longer need to go to the baker (just to hear another human voice) here you just need to go to the cafeteria to have a chat (or go and bug the coworkers in the other rooms :)
How to choose your translator?
You’re aiming to have your website translated, an article, a power point? Let’s consider the principle considerations in choosing a good translator.
Rule #1: go for a native speaker. If you need to translate your text into English, choose an anglophone! If you need it translating into French, choose a francophone! And so on. The secret of a good translation is that it doesn’t “smell” of translation. Only those that master perfectly the translated text can achieve this.
Next, check out his sector specialisations and ask if has the right experience or understanding of your sector in your text.
Also, don’t forget to agree on the timing and deadline for your translation. The translator is an exceptional, outstanding, phenomenal … (well, I’ll stop there) human being who also sleeps at night, just like you. The more the timing is reasonable, the more you can be sure of high-quality result.
If your text is technical, you can also ask him which tools he uses. Most translators work with what is called translation memory : a sort of virtual brain that retains exactly the way each sentence has been translated (amongst other advantages). Tools like this give the translator the ability to offer strong coherence in his work.
How much does it cost?
That’s THE question. In Belgium, the translator usually charges per word or line (and no, he doesn’t pass his nights with his finger on the screen counting up his production for the next day: most tools can show the word count of a text).
The price can vary according to various criteria:
- the complexity of the text;
- the languages (a translation from Japanese to Finnish will cost more than a translation from English to French);
In Belgium, you can estimate an average of 12 and 16 cents per translated word (a rate that can, of course vary between higher and lower between translators for the same text).
Oh and if you’re asking; yes, but what about the spaces, are they also included? If you like, your translatorwouldbeonlytoopleasedtogiveyouadiscount
And Google Translate?
I would say that Google Translate is good enough when you need work out an e-mail that’s been sent to you and the content is not that important. Because, yes, Google Translate does make errors. Google Translate is not a human being with a brain that is capable of reflection, capable of understanding the second degree, capable of understanding the subtleties of a sentence, capable of understanding the hidden meaning behind words and, above all, capable of delivering a text that doesn’t “smell” of translation. Watch out for the kind of catastrophes this “wonderful tool” could produce.
Where to find a translator?
What a question! at Betacowork of course. There’s quite a few of us here practicing this marvellous skill. Translators are charming people, don’t hesitate to pop by and see us – even if we can’t do the job ourselves, we can certainly help you find the person you need.
Well, convinced? If you are a translator, come in and meet us for a chat, and , why not take a free trial?
The original post has been published by Katia in the French version of this blog. Translation into English by our coworker Jeremy Blezard.