4 In About Translation

Doing translations

Am I the only one who has some issues with the phrase “aspiring _____”? Aspiring photographer, aspiring writer etc. I do get what it means, and I really do understand that one might feel too small or undeserving of the bare title (AUTHOR, PHOTOGRAPHER) etc if one is just starting out with minimal credentials. But the word aspiring just nags at me, it’s like you are forever aspiring without putting any real effort lol. Okay maybe I’m just nitpicking.

For myself, I also wonder if I’m deserving of the title translator.

“I don’t think I’m a real professional.”

“I haven’t done enough.”

“I don’t have the certificates.”

These are thoughts I have too.

I’ve been doing translations on and off for the past few years and I also still get squirmy calling myself a translator. But I’m learning to do so, even though I still feeling like adding all sorts of caveats to it (new, amateur, green). Shall refrain from doing so though, mainly because I still subscribe to the idea that if you don’t start, you will never get better. If I’m always calling myself a newbie translator, I’ll get forever stuck in that role and mentality.

I’m starting to take on translation projects and so far it’s really fun! I always thought I’ll be Korean-English translations, but funny enough, I’m now doing Korean-Chinese and even English-Chinese translations (although the content is related to Korean). I’m now getting more comfortable with it and dare I say that I like doing C translations a lot more now?! hahaha life works in funny ways.

For the very first time I’m working with proofreaders and it’s a totally awesome and humbling experience. I really really love working with language lovers and polyglots – it’s a great learning experience and I love how everyone is so into languages. I’m so hyped up and motivated to improve my skills in the languages I know, so that I can be even better. It’s also pretty cool to be working with people online 😀

Translation work really offers a lot of satisfaction. The sense of achievement knowing that what you have done is making good content more accessible to a wider range of audience. The effort put into making sure that you don’t butcher the original meaning. The more I try, the more I’m getting to know my skills, my limits and my preferences. I realised that I’m not too fond of technical translations (product labels, manuals etc) and I still need to hone my skills in literary translation. I don’t do subbing cos I don’t like transcribing nor do I like timing subs. Currently, I’m most happy and comfortable with non-fiction texts. 😀

I’m likely going to take on another small year-end translation project and hehe I’m super looking forward to it cos it’s going to be of a different nature / genre yet again!

One of the things in my bucket list (I actually hate this term cos it’s so overused… just like wanderlust, squad goals or what not) is to have my name printed on the cover page as a translator! For now I’ll settle for having my name somewhere in the book.

Oh in case anyone is curious, I’ve left my previous workplace. Do I have a lot of translation work on hand? Nope, I’m so free that I can work on a lot of other things, as well as re-read the entire Harry Potter series and all my manga. Am I earning enough to be a full-time translator? Noooooope. Far from that. Did I leave to pursue translation? Nope. Am I aiming to become a full-time translator in the near future? erm unlikely, I’ve something else in mind.

But with all things in life, it’s always a who knows when it comes to the future!

(If you guys have any gigs or know of any opportunities, please throw them my way!)

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    11 November, 2015 at 8:19 PM

    I was just talking about this sort of thing the other day.

    I’m still at my full time job but I’m trying to branch out into things I’m actually interested in. I just haven’t gotten to the point where I can call myself by a proper title. Beginner photographer, beginner writer, beginner language learner (and that’s the one that’s definitely not true but I can’t stop).

    Translation has been in my scope for a long time but sometimes I feel like I’ll never have enough language skill to be able to do it well. I guess I just need a kick in the pants XD

    • Reply
      12 November, 2015 at 9:38 AM

      Hello! 😀 When it comes to translations, I guess we all start from equal footing (especially if one of the languages is a foreign one). The first ‘translations’ I did were of tweets and articles about my favorite idols hahahaha. At that point of time, I didn’t even know if what I translated was 100% accurate and I had to keep looking up words every now and then! We can only get better with practice! (:

  • Reply
    12 November, 2015 at 11:17 AM

    i find korean-chinese translation really fun (though its fan stuffs)! But the more I translate the more similarities I find between the two language.

    As a job its nice, as a activity I do when im free, its hair pulling… lol.

    • Reply
      12 November, 2015 at 11:21 AM

      Hehe yes the similarities is one of the reasons why I like it too!! More straightforward in terms of phrasing, less of changing the structure of the sentences. Hehe B1A4? XD

    Leave a Reply