Use your hard times to do some more marketing - Interview with translator Eleonora Imazio
This is the eighth in our series of interviews with translators from all over the globe. Translation is a very diverse industry - we want to introduce some of the people behind making the world a more multilingual place. This episode is an interview with Eleonora Imazio.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I've been a full-time translator for 6 years (wow, six years already!) and I work and live in Italy. I translate from English, French and Spanish into Italian.
I started doing some small translations while still studying at the School for Interpreters and Translators of Trieste. I graduated in conference interpreting and, after one year spent working in the European Office of the city, I decided to specialize in Multimedia Translation at the School for Interpreters and Translators of Forlì.
I specialize in video game, software and web translation and localization, video script translation and adaptation, tourism and fashion, and I am trying to find my way in literary translation as well. Last year, I translated three short stories (two of them with Manuela Dal Castello) for a collective book dedicated to AGEOP, the Parents' Association of Pediatric Hematology / Oncology.
I also started a collaboration with a graphic designer and we are building a web site: www.sinestetico.com. It's not yet online, but it will be soon, so stay tuned!
How did you decide to be a translator? What makes you passionate about languages?
I think it was back in high school, but my love for languages started in middle school thanks to my English teacher. Among other things, she made us listen to The Beatles and Queen and created lessons starting from their songs, it was great!
I love languages because they mirror the cultures in which they are spoken. They prove the evolution of cultures and how people from different areas interact now and interacted in the past. Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, languages change at a fast pace, but I was in India recently, doing a volunteer project in a school and I could discover through hindi (and sanskrit of course) the deep roots uniting so many languages: ancient roots connect us and this is really fascinating to me.
What have you done to improve your translation skills in the last year?
Every day, I read articles from specialized blogs and groups on LinkedIn. I also keep up-to-date attending training courses in the fields I love the most. Last year I attended a course on food and drink translation, a workshop on fashion translation and another one on literary translation.
How do you prepare for a translation project?
This is a tough question, it depends on the project really. However, as a general approach, when I start a new project I check the client's requests and I ask him/her as much information as possible about it. Then I look for other information on the Internet. Of course, when I translate a video game or a TV series, I can find tons of info online. If I am localizing a web site, I connect to the original version of it because it helps a lot to see where the content is located and how it relates to other parts of the web site.
What aspects of your job are the most challenging?
When it comes to technical translations it takes some time to find serious and reliable references, especially online. However, I think the most challenging aspect is finding new customers and having prospects which understand how much effort the translation process requires.
What excites you the most about the languages you work with?
Discovering new idiomatic and slang expressions and trying to find an equivalent. I also love to work on play on words, songs and rhymes which are so popular in video games.
What is the funniest translation experience you can remember?
Every video game is a funny experience, but I especially enjoy working in team because dealing with bigger chunks of text you can actually see the video game story unrolling under your pen... well, under your keystrokes!
What are good or bad things about freelancing?
Flexibility is one of the main advantages of freelancing to me. I love the fact that I can pretty much choose when I want to take a break or go on a vacation. The downside is uncertainty, but that's part of all independent activities.
What are you wishes for 2014? What excites you, what are you sceptical about?
I hope to find some gratifying jobs in the multimedia fields and I wish to carry on my volunteer teaching project as well: after India, our next stop will be Medellin, Colombia. I am part of a group called Disc Roots and we aim at uniting frisbee practice with language learning and art activities.
What would you pass on as personal advice to new translators?
Being a freelancer can be hard sometimes. Some months are very tough, with few jobs. Don't let this stop you! Think about it as free time to do some more marketing, to connect with colleagues, to look for new clients, or simply to have a coffee with your friends and relax.
If you are just starting as a translator, look for as much information as you can about translation practices, useful software, negotiation and rates to get a global picture of the industry and don't be afraid to ask.
Thanks to Eleonora for the answers!