A Student's Life, languages, Translation & Interpreting

Some random language-related facts about me

  1. I speak two languages (Italian and English) fluently, and would like to become more fluent in French (it is more of a “passive” language to me… if you study interpreting, you know what I mean).
  2. I wanted to learn Japanese when I was in high school.
  3. I actually started learning foreign languages (English and French) when I started middle school, but I already knew how to count from 1 to 10 and some words and phrases in English (my Dad taught me). I have a short film of mine when I was 4, in which I translate cartoon character names, some words and phrases (like “How old are you?” and “What time is it?”) from Italian into English! ūüôā
  4. I attended a high school mostly based on languages (“Liceo linguistico” in Italian), in which I have studied English, French (both for five years) and German (for three years) language and literature. There were also Italian and Latin language and literature, besides other subjects such as maths, physics, biology, physical education, religious education, history, philosophy, chemistry and earth science.
  5. For some reason, sometimes, while talking to other people in Italian, a word might first come to my mind in English, rather than in Italian!!
  6. I would like to learn Spanish. Two years ago I bought a DVD course that came out every week with a newspaper, “Il Sole 24 Ore”. I haven’t watched all the DVDs yet, only the beginner level ones (there are also intermediate and advanced level ones), but I don’t remember much… if only I had more time on my hands, I would start watching them again.
  7. I studied Translation and Liaison Interpreting (“Mediazione linguistica” in Italian) at university. I chose that course over a Foreign Languages and Literatures one because I’ve always liked translating and studying languages with a more practice-oriented approach even if, before attending university, I wanted to become an English teacher.
  8. When I started studying Interpreting during my sophomore year at university (there was only Translation in the first year), I immediately became a fan of the subject! During the first lecture I was wondering: “How do (simultaneous) interpreters manage to speak and listen at the same time?”. I studied mostly Liaison Interpreting, but there were some lectures on Conference Interpreting as well (even if I only did consecutive interpreting and no simultaneous, because it is usually taught in MA courses).
  9. I tend to speak English with an American accent but, when it comes to writing, I try to use British spelling as much as possible (even if sometimes, for example, I happen to use the simple past instead of the present perfect, like in “I just had lunch” instead of “I’ve just had lunch”).
  10. If I have a dictionary (I mean, any type of dictionary) on my hands, I usually close it only after a while! I like monolingual dictionaries the most, and printed versions more than online or CD-ROM ones.
A Student's Life, Translation & Interpreting

You really learn something while translating!

I’m back! I know, I haven’t posted in here for almost 3 weeks, but I have been busy with my studies.

I graduated in Translation and Liaison Interpreting!

I wrote a translation thesis (from English into Italian) about interpreters working¬†on television. I translated two texts and wrote a comment, in which I explained the translation methods and the strategy I used. There were also references to technical terms, words used in a particular sense, idiomatic expressions and the typology of the texts I translated (not in that order!). It took me about 6 months to finish my thesis (I also had to study for the last¬†3 exams), but I enjoyed this experience from the very¬†first moment, because I considered it as an opportunity to learn something new, and to start putting¬†what I¬†have learnt in the last¬†3 years into practice. I felt like I was translating a book! It was a very¬†enriching experience, because it wasn’t¬†just another translation exercise this time, but an opportunity to “take a closer¬†look” at how a translator actually works. In addition, even if it may sound banal,¬†I learnt¬†words, concepts, expressions and idioms I had never heard before (I actually am a fan of idiomatic expressions and proverbs in any language).

Some lessons I have learnt:

  • learning how to proofread a translation¬†well is very important. I think that proofreading is a task that should be done very thoroughly.
  • sometimes you might think that a translation is never really¬†finished, because you happen to think about ways in which you might improve it (for example, you realize that “y” sounds better than “x” in that context)¬†¬†everytime you (proof)read it… but at a certain point you also have to¬†realize you have come to a possible final version of the text.
  • I discovered a domain I would like to specialize in.
  • For technical terms, it is better to use parallel texts or online glossaries than to use a dictionary,¬†because you might not find¬†them there.¬†Thank God for the Internet! It is a very precious resource for¬†translators/interpreters.