Role models
Thread poster: Mario Chavez (X)

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dec 13, 2017

I developed my professional path following examples, mentors, role models. Older and more seasoned translators in New York City opened doors for me, and I owe them a debt of gratitude. I still keep touch with one of them.

I wish I had had role models in university, but none of my professors were translators: they were language or grammar teachers, and I had a philosophy teacher who gave me an A+ for my final exam.

Learning to be an independent professional can be easy,
... See more
I developed my professional path following examples, mentors, role models. Older and more seasoned translators in New York City opened doors for me, and I owe them a debt of gratitude. I still keep touch with one of them.

I wish I had had role models in university, but none of my professors were translators: they were language or grammar teachers, and I had a philosophy teacher who gave me an A+ for my final exam.

Learning to be an independent professional can be easy, difficult or downright impossible depending on the models we follow and on our particular circumstances. Accustomed as I was to work 9 to 5 for a company, I never envisioned working on my own, with peaks to climb and valleys to trundle before I became a full-time translator in New York. I have a mental list of names I owe thanks for the road I've taken. Some of them have been real role models, many of them translators themselves.

So, who's been your translator role model?
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:10
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I don't have any role models Dec 13, 2017

I live my life in my own way, without feeling the need for role models. There are people I particularly admire, of course, both well-known and closer to me. Many of them are successful women or people who have surmounted other "disadvantages". But I don't see them as role models. I would however like to feel that the people I admire see similar qualities in me (or would, if they knew me).

 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:10
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Saint Jerome Dec 13, 2017

Just a quill and some parchment. With all that entails. You're all concentrated on that translation, about to write in the last line, and suddenly the wretched monastery bell starts ringing, and you write the same word twice by accident and you have to start again. Or the inkpot falls over it all. Or the brethren bang at your cell door for prayers, and your hand slips and trails a line through it all. And then a lion shows up with a thorn in its paw.

We translators don't know we're
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Just a quill and some parchment. With all that entails. You're all concentrated on that translation, about to write in the last line, and suddenly the wretched monastery bell starts ringing, and you write the same word twice by accident and you have to start again. Or the inkpot falls over it all. Or the brethren bang at your cell door for prayers, and your hand slips and trails a line through it all. And then a lion shows up with a thorn in its paw.

We translators don't know we're born today.
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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:10
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Who has been my translator model? Dec 13, 2017

Sometimes I am confronted with a question I never thought about, like this one. I guess I never had a role model in this respect. Like Sheila, I also just lived my life, came in contact with languages, loved them, studied them and finally became a translator. That's all folks!

[Edited at 2017-12-13 21:25 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-12-13 21:28 GMT]


 

The Misha
Local time: 12:10
Russian to English
+ ...
Role models? Lucky you! Dec 13, 2017

Me, back at the time, I had no time for any such luxuries. I had a living to make. Then I just grew up, I guess.

 

Daniel Frisano
Switzerland
Local time: 18:10
English to Italian
+ ...
Skender, forgot his last name Dec 14, 2017

When I worked in construction - must have been the early 90s - there was a young fellow from Albania called Skender who spoke flawless Italian despite having just moved to Italy. He said he learned Italian just studying the dictionary 4-5 hours a day for a few months. He also said he watched Italian TV at the beginning to pick up the right pronunciation but gave it up as soon as he realized that his language had evolved past TV standards.

Perhaps some day I'll Skenderize my way into
... See more
When I worked in construction - must have been the early 90s - there was a young fellow from Albania called Skender who spoke flawless Italian despite having just moved to Italy. He said he learned Italian just studying the dictionary 4-5 hours a day for a few months. He also said he watched Italian TV at the beginning to pick up the right pronunciation but gave it up as soon as he realized that his language had evolved past TV standards.

Perhaps some day I'll Skenderize my way into a totally new language. It could be interesting.

[Edited at 2017-12-14 01:38 GMT]
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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
What's the opposite of a role model? Dec 14, 2017

Both in translation and in life, I think I've been guided more by not wanting to be like certain other people.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 17:10
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Hear, hear! Dec 14, 2017

Chris S wrote:

Both in translation and in life, I think I've been guided more by not wanting to be like certain other people.


 

Robin Levey
Chile
Local time: 14:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Spot on! Dec 14, 2017

Chris S wrote:

Both in translation and in life, I think I've been guided more by not wanting to be like certain other people.


I reckon role models are for folk who can't work out for themselves how to do things, or can't learn from their own experience.


 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:10
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Opposite of a role model? Dec 14, 2017

Good question, that. Answers on a postcard, please.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:10
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
In a nutshell Dec 14, 2017

Chris S wrote:
Both in translation and in life, I think I've been guided more by not wanting to be like certain other people.

That's what I was actually thinking when I wrote my post, but I didn't like to be too "extreme" in the first response .


 

Nikolaki  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:10
French to English
No role model I Dec 14, 2017

I may not be a role model, but I can at least serve as a horrible warning.

When my daughter was first asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she thought for a second, and replied "Definitely not a translator".

So proud, so proud.


 

Sundar Gopalakrishnan
India
Local time: 22:40
English to Tamil
+ ...
My Role Model... Dec 15, 2017

My role model is A.K.Ramanujan. He was an Indian poet and scholar of Indian literature. He wrote in both English and Kannada. Ramanujan was a poet, scholar, a philologist, folklorist, translator and playwright. His academic research ranged across five languages : English, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit. He was affiliated with University of Chicago throughtout his career, teaching in several departments. Some of his translations are : The Interior Landscape: Love Poems from a Classical Tamil... See more
My role model is A.K.Ramanujan. He was an Indian poet and scholar of Indian literature. He wrote in both English and Kannada. Ramanujan was a poet, scholar, a philologist, folklorist, translator and playwright. His academic research ranged across five languages : English, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit. He was affiliated with University of Chicago throughtout his career, teaching in several departments. Some of his translations are : The Interior Landscape: Love Poems from a Classical Tamil Anthology, Speaking of Siva, Hymns for the Drowning, Poems of Love and War, and When God is a Customer: Telugu Courtesan Songs by Ksetrayya and Others.Collapse


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's is quite something! Dec 15, 2017

Sundar Gopalakrishnan wrote:

My role model is A.K.Ramanujan. He was an Indian poet and scholar of Indian literature. He wrote in both English and Kannada. Ramanujan was a poet, scholar, a philologist, folklorist, translator and playwright. His academic research ranged across five languages : English, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit. He was affiliated with University of Chicago throughtout his career, teaching in several departments. Some of his translations are : The Interior Landscape: Love Poems from a Classical Tamil Anthology, Speaking of Siva, Hymns for the Drowning, Poems of Love and War, and When God is a Customer: Telugu Courtesan Songs by Ksetrayya and Others.


Thank you, Sundar, for your contribution. I guess different people assume different things when speaking of a “role model.” I can relate to your approach.

I've come to admire several colleagues along my career. By seeing them as role models, of course, I don't idolize them or put them on a pedestal, or substitute their way of living and looking at life for my own.

If I had to name one translator role model, I'd have to say Jorge Luis Borges. He was a superb writer but he was also an accomplished translator. His approach to translation was against the grain, iconoclastic. He wasn't a rebel but a questioner of some of the received wisdom that passes off as authoritative in translation circles. One of his sayings is “the original is unfaithful to the translation.”



 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:10
Member (2008)
Italian to English
My hero Dec 15, 2017

Mario Chavez wrote:

So, who's been your translator role model?



You.


 


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