This is an article published on 13 March 2014 in Storybook. A famous Russian Nobel Prize winner, Josip Brodski, said that translation is a father of the civilization, and our guest says that the translator is a bridge between cultures. Even in the time of great technological advancement translation is inevitable, and commuters still cannot replace a human brain when it comes to translation. Meet Ana, Ivana and Tomislav - three people with three different stories and one common trait - a love for their job.
Sometimes in life you cannot choose what you would like to translate, otherwise I would certainly not have chosen to gain the most experience (though sweat and tears) in the translation of financial documents into English and from English for audit companies, the audit chamber and various Croatian and world banks - said Ana who, having completed the study at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, attended the post graduate study at the Faculty of Economics and Business in Zagreb, and she also spent some time in USA and Italy. She is a court interpreter for English, Italian and Spanish and a conference interpreter for those languages. Although she does not deal with literary translation, she says that translators come in all shapes and forms and they are all par excellance intellectuals. As such they are very much aware that their mother tongue is a tool which helps them earn their living and that is why they have to carefully nurture their language so it doesn't wither away.
"Today a good translator must know how to be in tune with the needs of their clients in order to persevere in the market, they need to find a way to fit into the economic environment. The translator must be one with the market and always find new ways of offering added value. They must always promise less than they are able to give and give a little bit more than they promised. Everyone can have their shining moment, but true success lies in constantly giving your best", says Ana. She keeps viewing translation more an more as an occupation which, like any occupation, with time becomes a routine. Through experience she learned that the best translation is the one that you do not notice and translators are but mere shadows which should stay as invisible as they can. She says: "In each good translation the translator is forgotten; I have come to turn with this, unlike my ego, but I am working on it." Ana is aware of all the problems the translators are facing and says that there are no good news in the translation business. "An old saying applies to our profession: No news is good news.
Nobody will ever commend a translator. Unlike many other service industries, I believe that it is not indicative in our profession if you never hear from the client again, if they do not thank you for the service or do not call you afterwards, because this does not necessarily mean that they were not satisfied with your translation. Feedback of neutral or positive character simply does not exist as a category." She manages to translate, more or less successfully, countless amounts of custom pages into dozens of language combinations on a monthly basis, and at the same time interprets at the most prominent conferences related to politics, banking, audit and sometimes secret services. She coordinates all aspects regarding simultaneous interpretation and conference equipment at Studio Nixa, educates the translators to work with CAT tools, trains interpreters to work in various language combinations in a booth, writes a blog on translation, compiles glossaries, recruits new associates and motivates the existing ones, and in spare time enjoys her favourite hobby, fishing.
"And I do this whenever I can. But of course, what is most important, I am a mother of a five year old girl and two boys, an eight and a thirty-eight year old. She has been permanently employed in Studio Nixa since 2008 and this will probably not change, although in the past two years she has been using all her will power to resist filling out an EPSO application to work in Bruxelles.
"As far as the profession of a translator is concerned, the general public may not have much appreciation for what we do, but at least we value each other. I could name instantly and without much thinking at least ten translators that I value and admire, and I am actually realizing now how long it has been since I told them how great they are.