12 In Korean learning journey (:

Translation. Is it for me?

Some time back, I went for a translation test. I have a love-hate relationship with translation. On one hand I really find it interesting and I love the fact that I’m bringing Korean content to a wider audience, no matter for internal uses / business purposes or really bringing it to a wider audience like book translation. On the other hand, it’s a damn tedious process and very taxing both on the brain and the eyes. It’s frustrating when understand perfectly what the original text says but struggle to find the right words in your own language.

Back to the point. We weren’t allowed to use any external help (Internet) and that was a huge (but damn fun) challenge for me 😀 At first I was like SHIT HOW NO INTERNET!! but as I do it, I find it super fun hahahaha. I think I have become very reliant on dictionaries and feel rather insecure without it. I use the dictionary to double-confirm some of the meanings and also to find out meanings of words that I don’t understand. And I need the Internet to check the translations for certain nouns that obviously I don’t know. Like company names etc.

That being said, I’ve never used google translate or any other translation devices to help in my translations. I rely on my own skills. XD

In any case, I had a lot of fun in that exercise. Because it forces me to really guess, use my intuitions at times and also test my true skills! DAMN FUN. Okay, I probably sound crazy but the feeling of not knowing whether you translate rightly or not is super… exciting (?). And I realized that my translation speed has improved. I wonder why? I haven’t been doing much?

I really want to up my game and try interpretation one day. Seriously, I think it’s EXTREMELY FUN AND CHALLENGING AND EXCITING!!! hahahaha. I think interpretation is something that really requires a lot of training and a lot harder than translation. Mmm I shall see what I can do on my own. But probably harder to get chances to do interpretation D:


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  • Reply
    7 February, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    Hi!! It’s the first time I comment on this blog and, first of all, I’d like to tell you that I simply love it and you are such an inspiration for me (sorry, that sounds corny).
    I studied Translation and Interpreting at university and I totally understand you. Most of the time I love translating and find the brain processes involved in translation really interesting, specially when the language combination is unusual (Korean-Spanish, for example). But every once in a while I really wish I studied anything else :). How was the test? To which language did you translate? How many words do you translate per hour? I hope you don’t mind me asking so many questions!
    Oh, and I definitely recommend interpreting. It’s very tiring, but super exciting and challenging :). I was scared just to see the interpretion booths, but now I freaking love it ^^.

    • Reply
      10 February, 2013 at 9:22 PM

      Hi Mai!

      Thanks for leaving a comment 😀 😀 I’m always happy to see someone leaving their first (and hopefully not the last) comment 😛 wow we don’t have such a course in our school so I’m really interested in what it covers! I haven’t seen an interpretation booth before, but I think it will be super exciting XD Which language did you specialize in??

      hehe I translated from Korean to English. Don’t remember the number of words I translated though :/

      • Reply
        12 February, 2013 at 12:13 AM

        I specialized in English/German – Spanish, and I’m currently learning Korean so that I will at least work as a translator :). I don’t think I’ll ever be able to work as a Korean – Spanish interpreter, because the structures are soooo different I think I’d die. But who knows :).

        Woah, Korean to English. It would be really interesting to know how your brains work when working with such different languages (sorry, tried to rephrase it but it still sounded creepy). Do you find it hard?

  • Reply
    7 February, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    I love this post, I’ve also had a chance to do some Spanish translation , and yeah, it’s very fun, if also exhausting haha. But I think interpretation might only seem harder to you because you don’t have much chance to practice your spoken Korean. Maybe another Visit to Korea is just what you need. 😉

    • Reply
      10 February, 2013 at 9:25 PM

      hehe I definitely need another visit (and hopefully via a one-way ticket) lol 😛
      I am afraid my short-term memory will be disastrous in interpretation XD Haven’t tried it before, but it just feels challenging.

  • Reply
    7 February, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    Like the people that commented here, I love translating too 😀 Although my knowledge of Korean vocabulary isn’t good, I love this kind of challenge to my brain, and to being able to spread information to people.
    But, yes, these unusual combinations are the most interesting… portuguese with italian, english or spanish isn’t funny… but Portuguese-Korean really makes my brain release some smoke because of overwork hahaha

    I can’t say I have already done listening-speaking interpretation, but once I did reading-speaking interpretation, does that count? hahaha But, still, I was very happy that I could do that (it was one of that breaks during kpop concerts on a DVD I was watching with my mother). Thinking on a few experiences I’ve already had, I think I work quite well under pressure, like this or talking on the phone hahahaha

  • Reply
    8 February, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    whats the difference between interpretation and translation?

    haha i have a love/hate r/s with translation too. on the one hand it really gives me a headache. but on the other hand you feel a sense of satisfaction that your words are being published to the world or spoken out in speeches and interviews and stuff! :p

    • Reply
      9 February, 2013 at 2:23 AM

      Interpreters work with spoken language and translate it to someone while someone else is speaking. E.g. if you go to a foreign country and need to be helped in a hospital, but you don’t speak the language they might find you an interpreter so you can understand the doctors. The same if you’re in a conference with people from all over the world and you don’t have a common language.
      A translator works mainly with written language. Those translating books would be called translators, and not interpreters because the “live” element is missing.

  • Reply
    10 February, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    shanna, if you haven’t already, are you interested to start out for Korean to English translation assignments? I’m currently working in a translation company and most of the times we have such assignments + interpretation as well. You can contact me if you are interested!

    • Reply
      10 February, 2013 at 8:45 PM

      will be interested to know more! ^^

  • Reply
    11 February, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    It’s awesome that you enjoy translation. I don’t know if it’s that my Korean is still too poor or what (I’m prepping for TOPIK level 5), but I cringe at the thought of doing translations. I like Korean, but when I translate things into English, I feel as if my focus shifts from Korean to English as with translations the emphasis is often placed on the output language. I derive joy from simply understanding things in Korean and lose patience quickly when I have to restructure my understanding into beautifully phrased English, because then it becomes all about my writing skills in English, which is fine, but I like my Korean studies staying focused on Korean.
    But maybe this is a feeling that goes away as one gets better? I don’t know. I’m curious about it, but for now translation is off the table for me.

    • Reply
      11 February, 2013 at 7:59 PM

      hahaha it’s definitely not about your Korean proficiency. Actually I only like doing translation when it comes to Korean, I absolutely wont touch English-Chinese translation even though I’m more fluent in the language lol. I just like things when they are linked to Korean 😛

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