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I recently read an article about Preparing Translations for Emergency Situations. While the focus was on natural disasters like wildfires and hurricanes in the USA and making sure that the public safety information and warnings are properly translated (read: by humans) so that everyone can understand them (“when lives are at risk, Google Translate simply does not cut it“), it got me thinking about another form of being prepared.

Since Covid-19 hit, things have been anything but normal, and while it seems like we are slowly getting into a somewhat more regular swing, there will most likely not be a return to how it was before.

For me and many of my colleagues in the translation and interpreting industry, business has been anywhere from slower to non-existent since about March 2020, and although it looks like it might pick up a bit, there are no guarantees, and the next variant may just be waiting around the corner – with whatever consequences.

So when I read that article about preparing translations, my thoughts turned to preparing translations – period.

To be honest, it is nice to have more free time to do other things I would otherwise never get to; however, in the longer term, not working in my trade is just not an option. Not only because I’m not one for sitting idle, but also because no matter how good you are at something, just like muscles, skills need to be used, or they atrophy, at least to some degree.

My idea is this: Why not use at least some of the involuntary furlough time to translate ahead, as it were. Find texts from areas you usually work in and translate them with your CAT tool. That way, you get to practice AND you fill your TM and your termbases with (hopefully) good and useful content.

Or pick a new area you’ve been interested in or wanted to explore and work with texts from that, getting familiar with the specific expressions and building your glossary at the same time.

Even just looking for recurring themes in the news that (may or may not) fall into your area(s) of expertise would be a good place to start. That way, once business starts to come back, you are on the up-and-up and ready to dive in head first.

Do you have any other ideas on how to prepare for translations? Please do share in the comments below!

Image: istock / nzphotonz

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