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Handmade Shoes, Translation & Success


This morning I took a walk while listening to a motivational video that reminded me about the importance of being true to ourselves. It basically said that there is no way to universally and objectively define success. What success means for one person might differ A LOT from what it means for another.

So I began thinking "as a translator, what is success for me?". Here are my thoughts:

I feel translation is a craft. And craftsmen have time to listen to their clients, to suggest what's best for them, to literally craft a tailor-made product... Why should translation differ?

Let’s say you need a pair of shoes: would you rather buy a 100 EUR pair of Italian handmade shoes, in natural leather, which are soft, comfortable, and will keep your feet healthy for a long time OR a pair of 20 EUR plastic shoes made with poor quality materials which are hard on your skin, uncomfortable, will cause problems to your feet and posture, and will probably fall apart after a 1-hour walk?

For me (and many others – luckily), translation is about having the time to FEEL and choose the right words among many which seems synonyms, but have a slightly different meaning.

For me, translators are successful when they have the time to craft their translations, just as if they were a pair of handmade shoes, carefully picking each material in order to create a product that will last and will give their customer a comfortable experience.

I am not saying that for some occasions a pair of 20 EUR shoes won’t do, what I am saying is that we all have the possibility to choose whether we want to invest in something good or settle for less. Neither I am saying that you should expect a translation to take ages to be delivered or that it is going to cost you a fortune (and if you search the Internet, you'll see that a bad translation could too...): it’s all about finding the right balance, and often times it varies depending on the project.

That's why good communication between client and translator is of paramount importance for the success of a translation project: a good translator will listen to his/her customer's requests and will be able to explain what they can realistically expect, and what’s not feasible. Just like a craftsman, a translator must to be a sort of consultant, guiding clients towards choices that are the best for their specific situation, and creating a final product that is tailor-made to meet their needs.

As I said above, this is only my approach, and I am not saying it is the best... it's just who I am: I love languages, and love means respect. This means that each time I receive a translation request, I feel I owe respect to my client, who entrusted me with their project, and to the languages involved (English/French/Russian as source and Italian as target) as well.

Maybe I am a hopeless romantic, but in a world that is spinning faster and faster, where everything seems to be urgent, I would like to offer my clients the beauty of something created with care and respect.

If this resonates with you, and you would like to buy your content a pair of handmade leather shoes to start walking the Italian market, please feel free to contact me!


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