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Tales of Translators: From the Mountains to the Sea

Tales of Translators: From the Mountains to the Sea

From the Mountains...

I love the mountains and their ability to transform; how, throughout the different seasons, the very same places look completely different, tinted in distinct shades and emanating different fragrances. I love them even more the higher I go, as the air thins, and the landscape becomes more rugged, virtually inhospitable. I’d even say that this very part, the most demanding, is what appeals to me most and makes me love the mountains so much.

Translation is the same: a challenging and often difficult path. But if we embark on it prepared and humble, with determination and perseverance, it brings such joy and satisfaction.

Just like when you’re climbing a mountain, struggling along a difficult path: suddenly, when you think you can’t go any further, your efforts are rewarded with a breathtaking view, reserved only for those who have worked towards this goal.

To explore the mountains you need to be prepared. And it’s the same for translation.

Don’t take shortcuts: find a translator who knows the right path.

Clara the Sea

Before Simonetta set me this challenge, it had never occurred to me that there may be a link between my two biggest interests: translation and the sea.

It turns out they have a lot in common.

I absolutely love immersing myself in the sea. It’s like entering a surreal, parallel universe.

I take a deep breath, dive down, and find myself in my element. Sounds are softened, almost to silence; time comes to rest. I am captivated by this underwater world inhabited by living beings of every shape and colour, all so different and so unique. It’s a world of its own, a world for exploration and discovery.

Translation, for me, is also a journey of exploration and discovery.

Each and every time, I find something new.

I immerse myself in the texts I translate with the same passion, spirit and respect as when I dive into the sea.

Translation throws open doors onto such a fascinating world, full of machines, technology and mechanisms that do incredible things. I lose all sense of time and I am captivated by this world and the words that are part of it. As I explore its different levels, I lose myself completely.

Who knows how far I will go as I immerse myself in the depths of a text?

Who knows where my search for the perfect translation will take me?

Who knows how many new things I will discover and learn?

Just like the sea, translation is governed by its own distinct and essential laws. If you get distracted for a moment, you can lose the meaning of a sentence.

Just like swimming is not just about making the right movements with your body and passively observing the marine environment, translating is not just about replacing words in one language with words in another.

It’s about exploring differences, contrasting cultures, and immersing yourself in a world that is distinct from your own.

It’s about discovering and accepting the limits of your linguistic and expressive resources, and learning to overcome them.

It’s about being able to go back over your translation and re-translate if necessary, to find the best way to communicate what is being conveyed in the original language.

It’s the result of years of ongoing study and patient hard work, founded on a deep and meaningful relationship with words.

Translating is paying attention to each and every detail, exploring and diving deeper into a text until you can glide through it like a dolphin.

So remember, every time you read a translated text, beneath its surface there are all the years of discovery, exploration and research of a translator.

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