Wednesday, April 29, 2009

There's a surprise...

D'other day I was given my first proper translating task:
Gaeilge -> English.
And, sadly enough, I found it fascinating! It's very, very like editing. And I very, very much love editing. But it's got the extra dimension of having to move between languages. And is, therefore, more difficult. (= more fun!)

It's like when I used to do life-drawing in Art class and it'd be on... every time....... except that I'd always 'neglect' to include that pimple, or the squint in their eye, or the frizz in their hair. I'd tidy their eyebrows... once, I even reshaped someone's nose! Just slightly. Just enough for them to say "Oh wow.. that looks just like me! Actually, I look really pretty in it!"

Ha. Editing people. Maybe that's why I like make-up so much. (especially crazy stage/costume make-up)

I love editing. Love love love it. I have been offered a certain editing position in DIT that I'm not sure if I can talk about yet... actually, I might have mentioned it on here before... God, i hope not... woops... but, anyway, I'm VERY interested. Yes, I'll be in my final year. Yes, it's quite a lot of extra work. But it's paid! And it's what I love. And it's less hours spent in this place.

Yes, I'm still on Harcourt St... but it's Feidhliocht tonight and that's easca peasca. With free coffee and bikkies.

Like normal, day-to-day, English->(better)English editing, you have a lot of freedom to do what you like with the text, but are kinda-sorta-not-really obliged to show some sort of respect for the original writer's take on it. And I like to... usually... except with that irritating German Erasmus chick...

*****sidetrack story***** ^_^
I was overall editor of our class' first edition of the Liberty (March-ish '08). We only get one shot at it, I was the only one stupid/ballsy enough to shoot my hand up, and, by God, I made the most of it. Complete layout overhaul (because it was boxy and horrible and dim.. btw, they've used ours for every issue since... *grin*) Anyway; German girl. I assigned a sub to her article, and she came moaning to me that they'd done it wrong. I asked her to talk to them about it, not me, as I had MOST of the rest of the editing/layout to do and the "team" of 20-something had dwindled to about 6 (on a good day...) and we were WAY behind schedule. But, when she once again found them "unhelpful", she went to 2 (yes, two) different lecturers who red-penned the article like a Leaving Cert. Irish paper. Back she trotted to me, proud as punch: "See? Here? I was right. This is not edited properly." And (frustrated, stressed, and low on nicotine) I asked, flatly; "You want it edited properly?"
I cut it, from over 600, down to 200 words. It was a ridiculous story idea, written all wrong, terrible English (that we would have let slide as she was an Erasmus student, but, she said properly...), very little interest or point... and I made a concise, pleasant, easy-to-read piece out of it. Unrecognisable.

There. Edited. Properly.

And we're back!

In case you've forgotten what you're reading:
Translating. Like editing. Only harder.
It's almost got an element of mathsy problem-solving to it. You have to break it down, take it apart, make sense of it in your head, and get down to the root of what the person's saying. Then re-say it. In editing, you have a frame that you can follow if you like - and you usually needn't rewrite the whole thing.

But translating - it's amazing. Blank canvas. You can say things in a hundred ways. And, when you aimsigh the perfect one - it's very, very satisfying. You need to forget about the language you're translating from, and start with no distractions!

That's why i find English->Gaeilge MUCH harder.

That's what they had me doing today. I'll never be as good as I am with the reverse, because English rules in my head and always will, and all I'll create is an Irish version of what I want to say, and I'm not allowed touch the English either! (which can be frustrating)

Ah hell... I still love it...!

But any of my Saol na Gaeilge friends who talk about how there's money in translating, srl... It just seems soooo.....
I dunno if it's for me. I could do it all day - every day. But there are a LOT of things I COULD do all day, every day. I think I'd quite like it. And my Irish - and English - would improve beyond belief. But... what about all these other things I wanna do that are far more interesting and risky...?


  1. Heh. You really seem passionate about this. Changing things for the better; putting right what once went wrong. What other things do you want to do? Cool blogpost btw. :)

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  4. Great post! Love it when people blog about things they're really passionate about. Can we have some more posts on editing maybe with more editing anecdotes? :)

  5. Risky? I would say those few prophets that translated God's will and created the Bible were playing a fairly risky role in history (look, they've got away with it for over 2000 years!)

    And then those translators that formed the Quran from the Greek Old Testament, and those that formed the King James variant that we use today... risky, risky!


    Anyway, it's late, and I'm rambling. And I've obviously got my tongue in my cheek.

    Echoing your love of translation. It's the only reason I enjoy working with computers (and programming languages) -- a thousand ways to do something, but it's about finding the best way, the most graceful!

    Oughta sleep now...

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  7. **NOTE** Freakishly thorough readers may notice that I've changed the word "mine" to "ours" in this post. It was kindly brought to my attention that it was a bad choice of words on my part. I agree. I, by no means, deserved to refer to it as "my" layout, and it was not my intention to claim sole responsibility. Ben did LOADS. Absolutely loads. He had some great ideas and did the ENTIRE sport section. Mar and the rest of the layout team did an incredible job - and the front page especially was beautiful. The paper would never have looked as good as it did without them. I did not intend to claim undue credit. Many of the major changes were mine; that's all I meant. Everyone referred to it as Ben's layout at the time, and since, but there a group of us worked really hard, and really well. It was neither mine, nor Ben's.

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  9. I cannot believe you are still pissed over that editing incident. I had forgotten it even happened. And if it was you, you would have done the same had you thought someone was being unfair to your work. So would I have. Journos notoriously dont get on with editors because of the nature of the relationship in general. If you had cut my article down that much, I know I would have been furious/devestated, and I know you would have been to had someone done it to you.

  10. No, C, I’m not still pissed off about it… It’s just a mildly interesting anecdote. I’m not ranting, I’m just retelling. I’m aware it was a bitchy thing to do, and since apologised...

    And, O? Please back off. Whatever your problem is with me, all these snarky put-downs are getting really old … and I don’t just mean on my blog; On yours too. And to my face. And for as long as we’ve known each other. Why? I’ve never once done anything to you (that I’m aware of) to warrant it. I have never retaliated, and won’t. Stop it. Grow up. Pick on someone who gives a shit.

  11. Maybe I should put forward my trip to Ireland so that I can bully some little Irish kiddies!

  12. (By deleting that comment you just prevented everyone ELSE from seeing it... But it's sitting pretty in my inbox.)

  13. I think me, you and Afafolie need to have a chat. Minus Sebastian. (no offence).

  14. None taken, fatty.

  15. Yikes!

    Before (more) hell breaks loose; he's joking, C!
    And, as regards having a talk, I don't think that's necessary. If I've somehow annoyed you, I've no clue how, but I'm sorry.

    This is the most comments I've ever gotten on a post... But, please, let's stop here!

  16. I agree with C. Wholeheartedly. And it's not about the content of this post, believe us.

  17. Em, we are friends in real life sebastian that is what I meant, that if we were having problems we should sort it out amongst ourselves in real life and not let the blogosphere know about it, as I said I meant no offence.

    But now you can go fuck yourself.

  18. And I think that was a "boo-yeah" right there.

  19. Anonymous6:14 pm

    Hope it all worked out :) *