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Translation Workshops at The Translator’s Studio – A Review

Written by Rana Shabibi

Rana Shabibi is a graduate in English language and literature. After studying law conversion and legal practice courses, she worked in the London offices of several law firms. Following a year in Colombia, she opted for a career in writing and translation. Her poetry has been published in Grand Little Things, Lucent Dreaming and Lighten Up Online.

Six heads are better than one when it comes to writing a translation.

Did you know that The Translator’s Studio runs periodic translation workshops? These events are a great opportunity to work with other translators to improve your translation skills in a safe environment. Don’t take our word for it though. The review below is written by our former student Rana Shabibi.

My experience of the translation workshops

I attended the General, Social Sciences and Business translation workshops run by The Translator’s Studio in autumn 2021. With a view to sitting the DipTrans exam the following year, I signed up for them so I could get some translation practice within a group context.

Up until then, I had worked on all my translations alone. So, I wanted to get a feel for what it would be like to work on a translation with other translators. During the sessions, held on Zoom, students took it in turns to share their translations of the DipTrans past papers provided before the session. There was just the right number of translators attending for the workshops not to feel overwhelming or unwieldy. This meant I felt comfortable sharing my work with others.

"To sum up what the translation workshops were like in one sentence, I'd describe them as a melting point of diverse ideas and unique approaches." Rana Shabibi, translation workshop attendee. Click To Tweet

Why I decided to join the translation workshops

Before I attended these translation classes, I was stuck in a rut. This is because I was translating in a literal way and sticking too rigidly to the source text syntax. It was affecting the quality of my translations. I knew I was suffering from tunnel vision when it came to translation and that my approach needed a complete overhaul. The translation workshops couldn’t have come at a better time as they coincided with my recent start on The Translator’s Studio’s Advanced Translation Course with DipTrans Preparation.

Translating with others diverse ideas and unique approaches

Through each translation workshop, I was exposed to fresh approaches, new language and innovative ideas. That stood me in good stead when it came to putting these diverse approaches into practice on the Advanced Translation Course. To sum up what the translation workshops were like in one sentence, I’d describe them as a melting point of diverse ideas and unique approaches.

Six heads were indeed better than one during the translation workshops because the past papers were tough texts to translate. I came unstuck on several occasions when translating them on my own. This is because I really struggled with some of the ambiguities, idiomatic expressions and vocabulary. The workshops showed me I wasn’t alone in feeling overwhelmed. In fact, other students had similar issues with the texts.

But our difficulties didn’t stop us from pooling our ideas together. We discussed the word and syntax choices in our writing in detail (as well as giving our reasons for our approaches). Then, we tried to reach a consensus on the best choices, with the help of our tutors Gwen, Sarah and Nikki, of course. The final joint translations were always excellent pieces of work. It’s amazing what happens when you work as a team!

How a translation workshop can help you prepare for the DipTrans exam

While you won’t be able to consult other people if you sit the DipTrans exam, the translation workshops do get you used to thinking outside the box. The contact helped me adopt a more flexible approach when translating alone. The activity exposed me to different approaches, understanding and knowledge. This was very important in helping me to move away from the tunnel vision approach. Seeing new ideas and approaches in action is very important in a field like translation, which can be very subjective and where a one-size-fits-all approach often doesn’t work.

Why the translation workshops are great for CPD

Translation can be quite an insular and lonely process and you may not get many opportunities to bounce your ideas off others. During the translation workshops, no translator held back in expressing their opinions. So, you got a really good insight into how the participants came up with the translations they did and the thinking and research behind every word choice.

Translation classes of this type are a great opportunity to see how other people tackle the processes involved in translation: how they analyse and interpret the texts and how their approaches compare to your own. You can then add these new ideas and approaches to your toolkit, to use when you’re translating. I believe such a thing is quite a rare and unique training opportunity within the translation industry.

I thoroughly enjoyed each of the different sets of translation workshops because they showed me that a translation doesn’t start and end with your own interpretation of a text. In fact, there’s a plethora of other ideas, approaches and words out there waiting to be explored and adopted to enhance the quality of your translations. No (wo)man is an island when it comes to translation and that’s why six heads are indeed better than one, especially when you’re dealing with DipTrans past papers!

Join us on an upcoming workshop

Our translation workshops are suitable for working translators and linguists interested in a career in translation and wanting to explore what the art of translation is like. They’re particularly popular among translators preparing for the DipTrans exam. Currently available in Spanish to English, our workshops will give you the chance to flex your translation and writing muscles in the realms of journalism, literary translation, business and the social sciences. Find out more about our workshops and other translation courses.

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