Translation English to Italian Guide: Meet Desiree Cocola, English Italian Translator
The Translation English to Italian Guide spoke with Desiree, English Italian Translator, to get the inside story on the craft and challenges of Italian translation. At the bottom of the page, you'll find information about average translator rates and other useful resources. (No, I want a free English to Italian online translation.)
Conversation with Desiree Cocola, English Italian Translator
Q: Why did you decide to become a translator?
A: I believe translation is one of the most challenging professions, and it is very stimulating. It requires quite a lot of commitment and knowledge, and you have to be constantly updating your knowledge.
Q: How do you update your knowledge?
A: Staying up to date with a language is very important, and you do it by every means possible -- writing, reading, the Internet -- to keep up with what words are being used today, how the language is evolving. Language is a work in progress. You can't lose contact with the language for ten years and then go back to translating it. Quite a lot of commitment is required to be a translator.
Q: Tell me about your educational background.
A: I took a specialist degree in languages and wrote a dissertation. After that, I practiced translating for many years. I became a member of the Institute of Linguists based on my experience.
Specialized translation studies are not what you need. In those programs, you learn the theory of translation. But what's important is the practice, the real challenges, and exposure to lots of different types of translations.
Q: What aspect of being an English Italian translator is particularly challenging?
A: Jargon is a challenge in any language. There is often jargon that's specific to a particular area, such as medical or legal jargon, and it can imply something other than what the words literally mean. There are also words such as "Hoover," [vacuum], that come from a particular brand. With that kind of thing, you only know it if you know the culture. Sometimes translations have mistakes that someone with an in-depth knowledge of the language wouldn't make. That knowledge becomes especially crucial when a precise meaning is required. Every type of translation needs to be contextualized.
Q: Is that one reason why you decided to live in the UK?
A: Yes. Obviously, before I came here, my English wasn't as strong. I had read quite a lot, had a broad vocabulary, but that's not enough. What they teach you in school is academic, but it isn't real.
I also moved here because I was interested in interpreting [spoken translation] as well as translating.
Q: What are some differences between the skills involved in translating and interpreting?
A: When you do a translation, you need a quiet place. Of course, that depends on your working style. But translation offers time to think and rethink the best way to put words in the target language.
This doesn't happen with interpreting. With consecutive interpreting, there's a little more time. But you have to find the words right away. You almost have to be bilingual. You have to be able to translate that idea into that language in an effective way, right at that moment. There's a little more stress. It's a great responsibility.
Translation, being a written text with your signature, is also a great responsibility. The difference is really about time -- with translation, you have time.
Q: What do you think is a common misconception about translation?
A: People don't understand how time-consuming the translation of a text can be. There are different choices to make about tone, different ways a text can be expressed, and that's a crucial part of the process. People think once you know the language, it's easy to translate. But it's not like that. Each time, it's a different process. It involves a lot of thinking. It involves a lot of rethinking. You need background knowledge. It takes a lot of energy. It's one of the most energy-consuming jobs. It is also very fulfilling, though.
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