Recensie van "Vertalen moet je durven!"
"Something happened that I was totally unprepared for!"
By Kumar Jamdagni
Review of a workshop given by Teamwork on 20 November 2009
Even though I was convinced I was already producing translations that were as good as, or even better, than the original, I decided to sign up for this workshop for the following reasons:
- The workshop was to be held in my adopted “home” town of Zwolle
- I had wanted to see Tony Parr in action for some time
- Having had a rather poor year businesswise, this would be an opportunity to widen my network.
The aim of the workshop was to get us to free ourselves from the straitjacket of the grammar, syntax, style, and even content of the source text, and to produce texts that re-created the essence of the original text, rather than simply being a “true and fair” reproduction of it.
And was it worth it? It certainly was. And not just for the reasons specified above. Because during the course of the day something happened that I was totally unprepared for: Tony radically changed my vision of how to produce a good translation. And, in the process, made me painfully aware that up till now I had been producing work that was “good enough” rather than “excellent”.
Letting my clients down
I’d always been convinced that my approach to translating was what the customer wanted and appreciated: I’d get as good a brief as I could from the client (establish the flavour of English required, the intended audience, the response the author wanted to elicit from the reader). And then I’d get on with it, deliver on time, send off my invoice and that was that. Very rarely did I get any feedback (positive or negative) from the customer. But what Tony made me realize was how much I had been letting my clients down by sticking too close to the original text, without considering the options of:
- Leaving out text altogether (I’d always considered that a sin)
- Shuffling whole passages around (wouldn’t the client complain?)
- Choosing the right idiom (but non-natives have to be able to understand it too, don’t they?)
- Changing the tone of voice to suit the aim of the text (see my comments on points 1 and 2)
How did Tony do this? By having us translate a wide range of texts or by getting us to compare and contrast translated texts (many provided by the attendees themselves); encouraging peer review; and, most importantly, by creating an atmosphere in which we could ask any questions without feeling uncomfortable, and by providing feedback and suggestions in a gentle and nonjudgemental fashion.
So Tony, I can’t thank you enough for your invaluable insights. And – coincidence or not – I just posted my best ever first-quarter results!
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