The Work-in-the-Mother-Tongue Myth

I was surprised recently by the reaction of some guys when I told them that I work mostly in English. English is not my mother tongue, you know, but I have been writing in and translating into this language for over 13 years now. These guys seemed all but shocked over my presumptuousness.

It made me realize, however, that the translator colleagues I know are totally untypical of the profession. Most of them work in the foreign tongue. They write original texts in English and they translate texts from other source languages (most of them German) into English. Most of the translator colleagues I work with have years of experience in this and the feedback they receive from native speakers is overly enthusiastic.

On the other hand, and I guess this is what gives us credibility, we are all professional translators. We all have finished translation studies at university level. Maybe this is not so typical of translators as well. Many people offer translation services, although they have no official translation education. Well, many translated texts I see are of extremely low quality.

Makes one wonder, whether there’s a connection…


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