The illegal Translations

Everything begins on a dark night, where a dark man waits on a dark alley with a dark purpose. After a couple of minutes, a man appears on the other side of the alley and walks towards him. They shook hands, exchange a few words and our man walks away with the roll of paper safe in his sleeve. As soon as he arrives to his office, he closes the door behind him, turns on the small light on the desk and, looking around, even though no one should be there at these hours, takes the roll out of his sleeve and carefully unrolls it.

At last, it’s done.

He reads it quickly and as he does his lips starts curving into a wide grin. It was worth the wait. And the price. Happily, he leans back on his chair and lights a cigarette, looking at the half curved papers, the smile never fading off. Finally, he stands up, puts the papers on an envelope that says “Final translation”, places it on the editor’s desk and leaves, closing the door of the office quietly.

Did you like it? I hope you did. Sadly (or not), this is not the kind of “illegal” translations I wanted to talk about today. Actually, the kind of translations I wanted to talk about are not even “illegal”. I decided to write that title because this morning I created a folder in my laptop called “Illegal Translations”.

I don’t sell the translations saved in that folder to corrupt translators or to desperate editors for a fair amount of money… Although, maybe I should consider this option in these times of crisis? No, I won’t. I just call them that because they are translations (and checkings) I do for free to my friends and my family. Obviously, they are not 100 pages long translations, sometimes not even one page, and they are not of significant importance but almost every translation requires an effort and that effort is important to me.

The best way a translator can improve is by translating a lot, as many things as they can. That’s why I always accept to do  “free translations”, because I think they’re a great way to practice my translation skills like my speed when translating, and since they are not always general translations my technical vocabulary grows. For example, the other day my aunt, who’s a physician and an optician, asked me to translate a short abstract on the perception of depth and I learned things like that “rendimiento visual” is translated as “visual performance”.

I also keep them because I think they might be useful when I get into the professional world:
  1. They are part of my “training”.
  2. Even though they are not a “proper job”, I don’t get paid to do them, these people who ask me to translate rely on my translations as if they were done by a professional and very experienced translator so I think I have to do my best to give them not just a good translation, but the best one I can do.
It’s because all these reasons that I want to keep them and that’s why I created my new folder: Illegal Translations.
P.S. I don’t think anyone will notice but there’s an Aladdin reference at the beginning of the “story”.

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