Some NOTA members trained as translators, other interpreters. Many possess English as a second language. How does one decide to translate or interpret? Can a linguist do both?
The answer is yes. Mind you, I speak only from my own experience. Armed with a MA Translation SP>EN my career veered from teaching to bilingual bill collector at a major corporation, then to translating and interpreting. Interpreting won out for the last fifteen years. Would translation be an option? Yes. Perhaps the excitement of crowded court rooms lost the luster.
This past week a legal translation fell across the desk and I leaped. This neophyte needed to secure an editor before discussion of deadlines and fees. After negotiating with a colleague who served to check the assignment, a series of Emails across the puddle secured the gig.
One catch included Portuguese text embedded in the document. Call me old school but I wouldn’t venture to translate or interpret PT>EN. After contact with over fifteen translators my friend Steve Sachs, an ATA Certified PT>EN translator, accepted the job. He just stepped off the plane from Brazil and promised to deliver by morning. Another leap of faith, eh?
Now I sit to wait my editor’s comments and Steve’s translation. Last evening I forced myself to deliver the draft so Mary, my editor, would have time to suggest changes. The document promises to whizz through cyberspace by the 5:00 p.m. deadline. Or, if finished earlier, “under promise and over deliver” and send beforehand. My mentor Rudy Heller spoke those word years ago.
Back to the title of this article. Yes, fellow interpreters, with discipline, your existent language skills and connections through the ATA website you can vault into another world. Go ahead, you’re not alone.