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A Day in the Life of a Translator: The Search For Vocabulary

by Kalina Maleska-Gegaj Freelance TranslatorI have been dealing with freelance translation projects for fifteen years. Due to the fast-paced nature of the business world, I can’t remember there ever not being a tight deadline. Therefore, I get up early in the morning and surround myself and my laptop with several dictionaries (Oxford, Longman, bilingual dictionaries – in my case Macedonian-English and vice versa), and in addition to this a thick grammar book in the target language, even if it’s my native language – there is no harm in double checking everything. Of course, no translator has a perfect command of all the technical words in the languages they work in, and, for me, searching for the correct term is certainly the most time-consuming part of the translation. In this respect, what I have in mind is terminology related to transport, machines, medicine, law – fields whose vocabulary is not in use on everyday basis for the general public. Translation Book ResearchAdditionally, no such specialised English-Macedonian dictionaries exist for most fields, so translators do not have the necessary words at their disposal. So, if I can’t find the proper term in my books at home, or on the Internet, then I try to remember where I have seen books on a particular field – and I call my friends to ask them to lend me those books. Or I call friends who know someone who is an expert in one particular area, to ask for his or her phone number, and then call them directly to consult on what the most appropriate word would be for a given context. I have even called a truck company and spoke to the employees who were really helpful in giving me the corresponding Macedonian terms for: trailer, clutches, mudflaps, fenders. Of course, the most important thing is – the text is translated, and it is translated correctly – and always managing to “meet” the deadline. Liked this blog? Then feel free to click on those buttons below to share it on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Want to comment? All you have to do is enter your comment, then your name and email into Disqus and press register. That’s it!

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