So what does a typical day look like for a translator at a translation agency specialised in the agrifood sector? To give you an idea, we spent a day with Jeroen van der Hoef - our in-house German translator.
Computers and other technology have revolutionised how people work, and the profession of translator is ideally suited to working from home. The assignments are sent to the translator by e-mail. Special translation software uploads the source document to an application. The content is translated in this application and then the competed assignment is returned to the Project Manager. Most search work is done online; paper dictionaries are hardly ever used. The in-house translators at AgroLingua alternate between working at the office and from home. Effective communication ensures everything goes smoothly.
Jeroen likes to start his day by doing a final self-review of the last translated assignments. He reads through his recently completed translations before they are sent to a revisor. Why? It's much easier to spot your own mistakes, or refine a text, if you can step away from it for few hours, or even better sleep on it for a night. This will benefit the quality of the final translation. The aim is to send a good translation to the revisor for a post-translation check.
The assignments he is sent by the Project Managers determine his programme for the day. Jeroen translates texts from Dutch to German and revises texts from other translators. Most assignments have a deadline, so it is important to structure the day by deciding which texts to start working on when and leave enough time to re-read them. Any urgent projects are prioritised.
It is not always possible to indicate how long a translation will take to complete. Quite some time may be needed to look up specific terms, or research the subject matter, and a translator can only move on once they are certain the translation is correct. Translations that require creativity and innovative writing are a nice challenge. This often involves humour, slogans, spelling, proverbs and certain expressions that have to be translated and properly conveyed to the target audience. There's nothing a translator enjoys more! They can use their skill and inventiveness to play with language and be creative. Good translation matters. The text should not never read as a translation, but as an independent text that captures the same message and nuances.
Translating is an intense task. Working eight hours a day is virtually impossible, because after about six hours of pure concentration the creative output can start to suffer. Tomorrow is a new day, which preferably starts again with another revision for Jeroen.
Back to news