Translation is a bridge between two cultures - Interview with translator Gala Gil Amat

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This is the number 15 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 Gala Gil Amat.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

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First of all, thank you for inviting me to take part in these series of interviews! I am Gala, a translator and an interpreter working from English and French into Spanish, who combines freelancing with the studies in Translation and Interpreting in the University of Alicante (Spain).

The fields I usually deal with are business, human resources, journalism, and marketing. You can find me on Twitter, where I am always posting interesting articles related to the profession I have chosen, on my Facebook page and on LinkedIn.

How did you decide to be a translator? What makes you passionate about languages?

My mother is an English teacher and she has taught me this language since I was little. I loved it so much I always wanted to become an English teacher like her but one day, watching a conference on TV, I realised there were people in a kind of cabin translating the message into other languages. I looked for more information about it and from then on becoming a translator and interpreter was my goal!

What have you done to improve your translation skills in the last year?

I have attended some courses and a great amount of conferences in order to improve my translation skills since they are a magnificent way to learn from the best professionals and it is also the best opportunity to do some networking. Moreover, I really enjoy reading blogs, like this one, and also books which are specialized in translation and interpreting because you can pick some useful pieces of advice.

How do you prepare for a translation project?

I normally have a look at the files the client has sent me to see what the main topic of the translation is in order to do some research beforehand. Then, I look for the terminology of the text I am not familiar with and I get started with the actual translation process!

What aspects of your job are the most challenging?

Dealing with clients and meeting some really tight deadlines are one of the most challenging aspects of our job. However, I believe that sometimes the toughest part of this profession is the responsibility that it implies since we are the union bridge not only between two languages but also between two cultures.

What excites you the most about the languages you work with?

English has been the love of my life although sometimes it is quite hard to find the right words in Spanish to express all the nuances accumulated in this language. Now this love is being shared with French which is another fascinating language which makes me feel really comfortable translating from it.

What is the funniest translation experience you can remember?

Well…it was quite funny actually! One translation agency contacted me to work with them in a project and as usual, they asked me for my rates per word in USD. I normally send them a document with a detailed explanation of my rates but as I didn’t have it with me and they wanted it right now, I wrote the numbers without thinking. When they replied, the e-mail said: We're surprised by your En - Sp translation rate. Why is it 900% higher than average market rate? – Yes… I had left a zero out!

What are good or bad things about freelancing?

The advantage about freelancing is that you are the owner of your business, so you set your own office hours, you plan your holidays, you can work from all over the world and you are your own time manager but this last one is the main drawback since there are no boundaries between your life and your job.

What are you wishes for 2014? What excites you, what are you sceptical about?

This year I continue opening my learning fields, I am taking some courses on digital marketing and business, two specialties any translator should know in order to promote his services. Furthermore, I have been studying German for eight months to have another source language in the future, so I am really excited! Regarding what I am sceptical about, I can’t think about anything since I am a really positive person who believes that with a big smile, enthusiasm and hard work everything can be achieved.

What would you pass on as personal advice to new translators?

Never give up! We all know how complicated it is to step into the translation industry but you should never quit because when one door closes, another one opens and with willpower and perseverance you will get whatever you are determined to do! :)

Thanks to Gala for the answers!

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