Different Stages of Translation
As a translator, I guess most of us have experienced these stages:
Excited stage: enthusiastic about translation and try to translate whenever you read an English sentence.
Machine stage: once you have enough translation experiences, you feel like you brain works as a machine, read the sentence, analyze its structure until you fully understand it and then rewrite the sentence in the target language. You translate every sentence with the same process. If there are terms that you do not know, then you check them on the internet. If there are not many new terms, you translate as conditioned reflex.
Tired stage: After a while, you get tired of the same process going on day after day, and the materials that you are translating seems to repeat themselves all the time: manuals, instructions of different kinds of products (which you do not bother to read at all in daily life), surveys… You feel like there is not much space to improve.
Renew translation-skill stage: Just as you are getting tired of all the translation, there are always reminders to remind you that you still have a lot to learn. Such as, you think your translation is fine, but then you read the edited translation and notice it has been improved a lot. At this point, you feel ashamed of your terrible skill of translation and begin to learn from others.
Among all these stage, there are still moments that you feel tired and sometimes you just do not want to translate one more word anymore. If this ever happens to you, then you are not alone. Have a good rest and look back, you will find a lot of things you can learn in translation, from which, you can find your passion again.
For example, learn two languages: Source language and target language. If you are translating two languages both ways (that is to say, eg. From English to Chinese and from Chinese to English), when you translate from English to Chinese, you can learn the English expression, which would be useful when you do Chinese to English translation; when you translate from Chinese to English, you would find some Chinese expressions are difficult to understand, which reminds you not to make the same mistakes when you do English to Chinese translation.
And of course, as we translate other languages to Chinese most of the time, learning Chinese would be an endless process, too. How can you translate the sentence more readably and beautifully besides convey the exact meaning to the reader? This topic is never getting old and we are still learning.
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