50 years in translation

I am finding it hard to believe myself, but with my birthday this week it suddenly dawned on me: I have actually spent 50 years in translation. That’s probably more than most.

I am finding it hard to believe myself, but with my birthday this week it suddenly dawned on me: I have actually spent 50 years in translation. That’s probably more than most. The majority of my friends from school have retired – and greatly enjoying it from what I can see. They look at me in disbelief when I tell them I am still at it.

Despite some tough times in the industry and all the changes we have lived through, I am still enjoying it most of the time, thanks not least to my fantastic management team and our translators and linguists, project managers and all the other fine professionals, who are giving it their best. My thanks go to all of them.

I like the challenges in translation, the variety of subject matter areas and different types of text, and I love finding the right tone and rhythm, an idiomatic turn of phrase, or slogan. I even like working out what the author of some obscure sentence might actually be trying to say – and then turning it into something that makes sense. Sometimes that kind of special effort is appreciated, sometimes not.

I like the fact that no day is quite like the other and most of the time I have no idea what translation challenges are going to be thrown at us on any particular day. Or what new ideas clients might have in store for us.

It’s gratifying to see that many of our longest-standing clients are still with us after several decades, and equally exciting to win new business, of course, with new opportunities.

I like being surrounded by others engaged in the same activity and working together in providing a good, sometimes excellent, service to our clients. I also think it is fantastic that we have such a mix of loyal staff that have been with us for many years, while at the same time bringing in new people, fresh out of university, who are enthusiastic and keen to learn and embark on a career in translation.

If anyone was to grant me a wish I’d say I would like to see a more collaborative approach from everyone – both within our working environment, but also on the client side. Translation relies on a relationship of trust. Let’s all work on it, together.

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