My introduction to translation was through my semi-weird childhood education. I was homeschooled and we were taking Latin, which involved, among other things, transforming the story “Horatius Pontem Defendit,” a popular beginning Latin text, into English. So, line by line, I tediously researched the words of this dead language, deciphered the grammar and came up with my English translation. I imagined that any English translation of Latin should sound about as formal and archaic as the original. And thus the Etruscans marched stiffly across my lined notebook toward brave Horatius as he stood defending the passage into Rome. O! What would become of him?
A decade later, when I took Anglo-Saxon as an undergrad, I had to do the same thing: fish words out of the dictionary and look up noun and verb conjugations, this time for hits like “The Dream of the Rood” and “The Battle of Malden.” I can barely read the chicken-scratched pencil marks crammed above such Anglo-Saxon lines as biter wæs se¯ beaduræ¯s, beornas fe¯ollon on gehwæðere hand, “bitter was the rush of battle, warriors fell on either hand.” It was one of the most challenging courses I ever took, but I liked it because it gave me a direct window into a long-dead world. As it happens, translation is about the only way to engage with dead languages — and dead languages are often relegated to the halls of academies, far away from the daily realities of living languages and global expansion.
And that is the challenge: making sure translation is about the living rather than the dead, that the baseline studies preparing students for our industry are up to speed, as relevant as they are compelling. As intriguing as it is to try reading Beowulf or Caesar in the original, very few people will manage to make money doing that. And so our industry shifts focus, looks at technology, business and pragmatics.
Our focus for this issue, education and training, could be approached a number of ways. We could look at education within the localization industry or how education, broadly speaking, influences our industry. We decided to do both. In the first camp, we have articles on different career paths within the localization industry and how to get where you’d like to go; how to better learn to translate certain things in context; and a few different viewpoints on education in various forms and places. In the second camp, we offer two different pieces covering elearning and localization. Valete.