On Translation – Its Challenges and Benefits

Today, I came across the podcast Out Loud (The New Yorker), and an episode where translation was being discussed caught my attention. I started listening (only twenty minutes long) and found it very entertaining. You’ll find the link here: The Challenges of Translation.

Briefly about the episode: Two professional translators are being interviewed and the whole thing turns into a lively and entertaining discussion. One of the main topics covered in this episode is how “untranslatables” can be dealt with in different languages.

Because let’s face it, every professional translator will sooner or later be confronted with “untranslatables”. And, even though these words lack an equivalent in the target language, they still need to be translated in a correct way. This is simply our job as professional language providers. Different aspects of this and concrete examples of tricky words and phrases are also covered in the interview. The book Dictionary of Untranslatables is mentioned several times, which made me so curious that I will probably get hold of it as soon as I have the time.

Translators On Why They Love Translation

When celebrating the international Translation Day last year, nine professional translators were interviewed and asked to describe why they find their profession so stimulating. All nine came up with several interesting aspects of our profession that you will find here:



Many reasons for loving translation


In principle, I agree with all these nine translators, but I thought I would make a list of my own here on the blog. Here it is:

  1. Being an independent translator gives you a lot of freedom to develop your language skills and creativity.
  2. It gives you a global perspective on things.
  3. As a translator, I get to network with colleagues and companies in other countries than my own.
  4. As a translator, you get an insight into very specific topics and industries.

4. Translation keeps your brain alert. Like one of the nine translators mentioned, I think you sometimes can compare it to a jigsaw puzzle or a crossword.