For a long time, I thought that my only real translation project had been lost. But that was OK, I tried to comfort myself; it couldn’t have been very good. After all, I did it after having taken French 101 and then immersing myself in France for a couple of months. I distinctly remember sitting at home, evening after evening while the other study abroad students were doing something more fun, craning over my dictionary, painstakingly composing sentences in English from a French World War II refugee’s journal. I followed her preparations, her flight over the Pyrenees into Spain, her overnight stays in inns and jails, and finally her jubilant meeting with her husband, who had fled to Northern Africa to fight there.
This last week, I found it buried in an old notebook and reread it. A few more complex phrases were noted in their original French; apparently, I had wanted to come back to those later. However, no other copy of the source text remained. Perhaps the Frenchman I had borrowed the journal from hadn’t wanted me to photocopy anything. I don’t even remember his name or how exactly I had managed to get in touch with him to get my hands on this journal in the first place. In short, even though it reads pretty smoothly in English, my translation is the work of a rank amateur because I have absolutely no way of checking its accuracy. Validation is key in translation, as I know now. But I knew no translation theory, not even the basics.
This issue’s Core Focus takes a look at some of the basics of translation, though more from the point of view of business-oriented translation. Jeremy Coombs has some advice on using macros to improve translation efficiency, and Jeff Williams has interviewed a few translators about machine translation, quality and so on. Igor Vesler provides an overview of some online resources to aid technical translators.
Our Region Focus is Ireland, and to that end Brian Ó Broin covers Irish (helped by a sidebar from Nataly Kelly), Ciarán Ó Bréartúin and Seanán Ó Coistín cover Irish computer software localization, Laura Grehan covers its localization industry and Dermot Quirk covers its internationalization. We have a review of Wordbee from Silvia Rodríguez Vázquez. Additionally, Kate Edwards looks at locale shipment strategy, Terena Bell compares localization with Downton Abbey and Gary Muddyman discusses the benefit of having local clients. In our Takeaway, Benjamin B. Sargent takes a look at Arabic and the Arabic online market.
When I sat and penned that translation, I had no intention of making translation anything more than a hobby. And, in fact, I think many of us have arrived at this career somewhat accidentally. Accidents, however, can be quite happy, and I remembered this when I once again discovered that old translation quite by accident.