Translation Journal
Back to TJ

Blog of the Translation Journal,
an on-line publication for translators by translators
about translators and translation.


TJ Blog
Welcome to the TJ Blog! Click here for instructions to participate in the discussions of this blog.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Goalie

They say that in sports like soccer (football) and hockey offensive players may make any number of mistakes, which are immediately forgotten. One goal scored, however, brings them glory and the applause of the spectators. On the other hand, goalies may brilliantly defend any number of shots; one mistake resulting in a goal against their team, however, will draw criticism from the "experts" and boos from the spectators.

Are we translators like goalies whose hits are unappreciated but whose misses are immediately criticized? Who among us doesn't have customers who never say a word of appreciation for many a brilliant solution to difficult translaton problems, obscure terms found after hours of research, and errors in the original text detected and corrected, but send you an indignant e-mail calling your attention to a single word omitted in a 30-page text?

Yes, translators are the goalies of the written word. Credit for a flawless style often goes to the orignal writer, but the translator gets the blame for a hard-to-read text. The penalties we suffer for errors are in no way commensurate with the appreciation we get for a faithful translation or even improvement on the original.

Are there any "goalies" out there who don't feel this way?