Friday, 14 August 2015

Meet a Translator

Alma Edith Garcia 

Bilingual/bicultural from the U.S.-Mexico border, Alma has been a translator and proofreader for the past 15 years. She is a member of The American Translator's Association, the ITI, The Society for Editors & Proofreaders, the IAPTI, and The American Literary Translators Association. She holds a Master of Arts in Translation with an editing focus is from Durham University in England and a Master of Arts in Advertising from The University of Texas at Austin. Her professional experience includes working in English and/or Spanish for clients in a variety of industries in the U.S, the U.K., Canada, Australia, and Mexico. Alma did an excellent job of translating Triskele author JJ Marsh's collection of short stories, Appearances Greeting a Point of View. JJ found Alma via the translation site Babelcube and was delighted with the result. Here, Alma talks about the skill of translation.

What do you consider the essential qualifications for a translator?

Ideally, growing up bilingual and bicultural to have both languages embedded into psyche, which facilitates making semantics and syntax “decisions” when translating a text.

Having a degree in the subject and professional experience translating a broad range of topics. Every text to be translated entails researching terminology, usage, content, and lexicon in itself. The vast majority of texts will include references to several other subjects, so being familiar with sources is a must. It helps to be inquisitive and know a bit about anything and everything.

I would add that being affiliated to industry associations is a plus to be “in the know” about translation and linguistics. Such affiliations are also beneficial in that they are reassuring to current and potential clients.

What practical issues might authors overlook when working with a translator?

The best collaborations are those where the author/client is available for any doubts that may arise throughout the translation process (this rarely ever happens, but just in case).

 Do you refuse work you think is not suited to you?

I do enjoy translating texts from certain fields more than others, but will accept all texts that come my way. I see it as a chance to learn something new, and who knows? I may come across a new favourite subject matter.
What defines the ideal author/translator relationship?

Aside from response to question #2 above, I would say that to a translator, it is an honour to be able to convey the author’s text in another language. An ideal relationship is one where the author understands that his/her work is very important to the translator, who makes it his/hers throughout the translation process.

Can you give an example of where a translator's skill enhances the author's intent?

I would prefer not to exemplify, but can explain as follows: I would say that it is when the translator has several alternatives to choose from to convey a thought in the target language, and opts for the one that is most familiar to the reader. To translate is to ensure that a text doesn’t sound foreign to the reader.

What about examples of failures where words and meaning clashed?

There are plenty of examples like that in translated texts in journalism, social media, in books even. I think it has to do with overlooking mistakes from being in a hurry and from tight deadlines.

Why do you work with Babelcube?

I like that there are so many different genres to choose from and that it is a platform where all parties involved are approachable.

Are you a writer?

I used to have a blog about introspection and reflections about every day life that had somewhat of a following, but came to a halt to focus on translating, editing, and proofreading.

Find out more about Alma here:

To find out more about Babelcube:

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