Client education is one of the most challenging aspects - Interview with translator Suyash Suprabh
This is the latest 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 Suyash Suprabh.
I am a Hindi translator based in New Delhi, India. I studied German, Italian and Hindi in my graduation at Jawaharlal Nehru University, which is one of the best universities in Asia. My first project was a translation of an English questionnaire. It was 2002 and I was a second-year undergraduate student then! I translate from English, German and Italian into Hindi. My fields of specialization are business, law, humanities and social work. You can follow me on Twitter. I have a separate Facebook account for my translator friends. You can also join me on Linkedin. Please have a look at my English and Hindi blogs on translation and languages.
How did you decide to be a translator? What makes you passionate about languages?
In the third year of my graduation, I had decided that I would choose translation as a career. I have always been passionate about languages. Words are so mysterious! They carry a history with them and sometimes they even change their meanings.
What have you done to improve your translation skills in the last year?
I read some interesting books on translation, which include 'In Other Words' by Mona Baker and 'Translation: an advanced source book' by Basil Hatim and Jeremy Munday. Attending webinars is a great way to learn about new ideas. Thanks to the Internet, I have been able to interact with some of the most talented translators.
How do you prepare for a translation project?
First of all, I ask my clients to send me all relevant information and documents. I read the source text and ask my clients about unclear or ambiguous words. I make a list of key terms and ensure that they are translated in a consistent manner.
What aspects of your job are the most challenging?
Client education is one of the most challenging aspects of our work. Many clients are not aware of the complexities of translation. They think that translation is nothing but the replacement of words which can be done easily by consulting any good dictionary. It is not easy to convince them that we cannot translate 20,000 words of a complex legal document in two days.
What excites you the most about the languages you work with?
German is the language of technology and philosophy. It is a language of rules. Italian is a musical language. I like its sound very much. Hindi is my native language and I am completely in love with this beautiful language! English is one of my working languages. It has a global reach.
What is the funniest translation experience you can remember?
In the early phase of my career, one of my clients asked me the total number of words I had translated. It was a face-to-face conversation and I was not prepared for this question. I was so nervous that I started counting!
What are good or bad things about freelancing?
Freedom is the best thing about our profession. On the flip side, financial insecurity can make things difficult, especially in the beginning of one's career.
What are you wishes for 2014? What excites you, what are you sceptical about?
We should be united in our efforts. One of my wishes is to make our association more active this year. I have been greatly benefited by the meaningful discussions in a Google group of Hindi translators, which was created by me in 2008. I wish to increase its membership base. Honestly, I am still worried about the negative impact of unprofessional business practices in our profession.
What would you pass on as personal advice to new translators?
I would advise them to take advantage of the marketing opportunities made available by the Internet. Twitter is a great website for those seeking information on the latest developments in our profession. Another point to consider is specialization. It is a must for success. Writing a blog can be a rewarding experience in the long run.
Thanks to Suyash for the answers!