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Write, right, right?



Right, write on your right — all right! As translators, we are all writers at heart. After all, there wouldn't be any text if we didn't put it there, would there? It is true that with the marvels of artificial intelligence, and along with it, machine translation, we do sometimes resemble assembly-line workers but that's neither here nor there.


There are many styles of writing that escape any kind of machine translation, and other times when you are using a CAT tool, or even machine translation, you still have some writing to do. There are so many creative texts out there: brochures, menus, not to mention books imagine translating a work of fiction without solid writing skills. You would surely founder.


As you already know, Rome wasn't built in a day. For those of you just starting out, practicing your writing in your target language is essential. If you have been around for a few years, you could still benefit from writing exercises. Here are some of the advantages:


Writing is the next best thing to pure thought that happens only in your head. I find speaking to be much less efficient. It's full of stops and starts and stops and hesitation. People sometimes backtrack, interrupt others and leave thoughts incomplete. This does not happen with writing, unless you are bent on not completing your thoughts.


Writing is not as bound by time as speaking. You can pick up where you left off in an hour or a lifetime later. You decide the deadline, unless one has been set for you. This also means that you have plenty of time to make amendments to your document or delete it entirely if that is your wish.


Writing is a great way to put forth those "dictionary words". When speaking, I feel that one is more restricted, and has to seek words that everyone or most everyone understands. Writing, on the other hand, invites people to go to the dictionary, or perhaps you are writing to an audience that understands certain jargon.


Writing withstands the ages. We can read those Sumerian as they were chiseled out millennia ago. You can also reach more people through writing, because the spoken word fades away, and even though there are audio recordings, there is no comparison to something that can be read and reread and analyzed, corrected, critiqued and translated.


So, with this in mind, I encourage you to get your pen, pencil, stylus, keyboard, keypad, or whatever it is you use to write with. I'm guessing that you use a computer. What should you write? I recommend not translating/writing an existing text right now, because you will be taking an extra step in translating and comparing your writing to this source document. I would prefer that you just let your mind flow for starters.


You might like to keep a journal, write an imaginary letter to someone you admire. You could write something having to do with your field of expertise. Whatever you write about, try to be simple at first at least. Try not to use clichés or stock phrases, or at least keep them to a minimum.


Try to do this every day. If it helps you, set maximum number of words like 500. After you have assembled a sizable number of writings, take a look at them. Read them. Read them out loud. Would you change anything?


Well, if you do take up this writing exercise, which I hope you do, let me know how it goes. I will be glad to give you some pointers if you're interested.

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I'm not good at computers

Please don't say that, not to me, not to a potential client, and not even yourself. You see, underestimating your computer skills is the equivalent of a monolingual translator saying that he or she do

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