“The word 'translation' comes, etymologically, from the Latin for 'bearing across'. Having been borne across the world, we are translated men. It is normally supposed that something always gets lost in translation; I cling, obstinately to the notion that something can also be gained.” ~Salman Rushdie
Walt Disney tells us that it's a small world after all. Well, it still costs over $1,200 to cross the Atlantic to Europe, and going through customs can feel like an eternity, but the fact that we can go halfway across the world in a matter of nine hours is nothing short of miraculous. The fact that a journey that used to take months now takes about five hours on an airplane is also pretty amazing. Maybe Walt Disney has a valid point.
Now consider that in a few hours, at a well lit desk, a literary translator can open up a whole new world for the reader--a world that may previously have been a cultural mystery.
So, as we are deeply involved in the study of human language, I thought perhaps it might be interesting to look at some of the occupations that specifically fall within the area of language and communication. One of those occupations is a literary translator; a job that is projected to grow 46% over the next seven years! So, what are the requirements of the job? Well, for starters, you need to be fluent in two languages, and familiar with the cultures (including the values, norms, idioms & expressions) of which those languages are a part. As of 2013, the median salary was $42,420 annually on average, but with experience and the right literary connections, the salary can triple, making it quite lucrative!
So, what are the duties of a translator? Well, to start, many book translators choose novels they admire to translate. Therefore, they must develop a knack for choosing exceptional novels and authors that publishers will want to publish.
Book translators are constantly sharpening their writing and translating skills by practicing translation using various literary works. When translating a book, book translators may read through the text several times to ensure they grasp the book's concept, plot and theme, identify and preserve the author's voice, ponder any problematical translation areas and solutions and ensure complete accuracy. They may work directly with the book's author, if possible.
I have here attached two videos for you to watch about becoming a translator, and on how translations are selected by publishers. Watch both and share your thoughts! Anyone interested? Could there be some future literary translators out there? Might be fun to get lost in the translation...fun and profitable!