The Translator’s Mind – Part III, Translation Training

What do translators learn? How is translation education different from other types of language study, such as e.g. a study of linguistics? Why does it make a difference, whether someone with proper translation training translates a text or someone without such education?

I will try to find some answers to these questions in this new addition to the Translator’s Mind series of blog entries…

First, a little list of characteristics of the translator training at university:

  • Translator training focuses on transfering textual content from one language to another
  • Translator training does not delve into issues of grammar or semantics, because knowledge of these is considered a prerequisite for being admitted in the first place
  • Translator training does not investigate works of literature in either language, although students are welcome to read as much as they can
  • Translator training considers the geographies where the studied language(s) are spoken and offers recent cultural background knowledge to raise the students’ awareness of the overall cultural context in which a language exists
  • Translator training introduces the concept of “target group” into the heads of the students, i.e. consideration of the person who actually receives, “uses” and reads the translated text
  • Translator training is an education with lots of hands-on courses where you learn to distinguish between different meanings, intentions and reader types until you drop
  • Translator training has immediate practical relevance by asking students to e.g. translate a text for different audiences, which helps to develop the necessary mindsets for different types of texts and different types of readers
  • Translator training draws much attention to terminology research before starting a translation
  • Translator training distinguishes a large number of text types and technical jargons and teaches techniques how to treat them during translation
  • Translator training puts emphasis on the target group of a text, i.e. the intended readers and their use of the text

All this is very specific and, I suppose, very different from other linguistic studies, such as language teaching or the linguistic studies of a certain language. Naturally, because the work of translators is and has to be very different from the work of a teacher or a linguist.

And all this enables translators with the proper training to produce high-quality and reader centric texts, which evoke the intented effect also in their translated form.

trust the trained
Karoline

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