We can’t say it enough: translation is an exciting, but demanding profession. Translators have to pay careful attention to every detail, from typing errors to the text’s specific terminology, not to mention those famous sources that you’re supposed to check if there’s any doubt. However, do we really have to be such perfectionists? Why not take a slightly more relaxed attitude? 😊 As master Yoda would say “The best, the enemy of the quite good is.” So here are 5 excellent reasons not to bother racking your brains checking your sources any more:
There are too many sources to search or check
With the growth of the internet, the amount of data has increased exponentially. Specialist periodicals, official sources, dictionaries… There’s so much out there that it’s hard to know where to start. But why bother reading magazines and books when everything’s going digital? That’s so twentieth century, might as well just go with the flow!
Checking your sources means a lot of hugely time-consuming preparatory work
Checking a range of sources of information is great… when you’ve got plenty of time to spare! Checking your sources means wasting precious time, especially when you could use that time to stroke your beloved kitty, dye your hair blue, or paddle your way round the world in a canoe. What’s more, everybody has their own idea of the meaning of things, it’s such a pain when you have to come to a decision about an ambiguous or difficult term. If there’s any doubt, stick with your original idea, that’s usually the best option.
Everyone checks the same official sources
Yes, official sources (universities, government information, the media, charities, journalists, researchers, recognised specialists…) are undoubtedly clear and have been checked, but they’re open to everyone. This makes things less original, because the same information ends up being everywhere… To stand out from the crowd and not be accused of plagiarism, head off the beaten track and look for information where nobody else would think of looking. Forums, discussion groups or official pages like the Acolad Community’s, the world (of translation) has so many other possibilities!
You have to prove your skills and mastery of the language (yet again!)
Translators read sources to grasp the overall meaning of a text, correct typos, or find expressions that seem right to them and on which they can rely when translating. By checking your sources, you learn new things that you didn’t know before and improve your general knowledge. What? You worked hard for your degree or certification, and you are still being asked to prove that you know what you’re doing? It’s OK, you’ve got nothing left to prove! Besides, showing off your talents can end up looking pretentious. Furthermore, as the French writer Jean-Louis Auguste Commerson said “Modesty is the fig leaf of talent.” Remember that less is more and leave that sort of perfectionism to the beginners.
You risk producing much higher quality translations
Think twice before being overzealous and checking your sources when translating. If, despite our tips, you decide to go ahead, your texts would be excellent because they would be flawless, with good turns of phrase, accurate information and quoted sources… Agencies like Acolad love translators with outstanding expertise and would entrust you with numerous missions, time and again… That would be exhausting, when would you get time to relax? Besides, you’re perfectly entitled to turn projects down and concentrate on other things.
So, don’t feel guilty if you’re not checking your sources, no one’s perfect after all. 😊 However, make sure you check the sources of this article before taking the risk of following the advice, because as you know, blogs are full of spoof posts… 😉