2018: the first year when I fully abandoned academic work in favour of translation and interpreting, and I didn’t regret it for a minute.
Translations (science, advertising, technical texts, literature):
I got the chance to translate several poems and songs: into German and English from Russian, as well as into German from English – as a paid job; before that, poetry translation was mostly a hobby and passion (though my translations of poems into English did receive some awards).
In 2018, I won a tender of the Rhein-Bonn-Sieg University of Applied Sciences for sociological translations. The evaluation focused primarily on translation quality, with prices per line or word being of secondary importance. Now I regularly translate political and social science articles from German into English and vice versa – luckily, thanks to other clients, I have previous experience with topics such as social studies, anti-discrimination work, Jewish studies, social history, empowerment and social activism (before, I mainly translated from Russian into English and German, though).
The cooperation with the Business Investment Guide Magazine from Moscow remains important for me and my partner: in 2018, we again translated dozens of articles into English and German. As always, the focus was on investments, taxes, annual reports and other financial matters, but the special topic of the year was food – and translating the subtleties of international delicacies was particularly exciting. (Even though I needed three snacks per hour when translating.)
There were no specialist articles on the fine arts that year (in contrast to 2017), but I enjoyed translating exhibition texts and catalogues from German into English and Russian.
Editorial services became a more important part of my work this year – from proofreading specialist texts written in English by non-native speakers to the copy-editing of brochures and advertising copy, where every comma had to fit perfectly.
But the best thing is: I’ve finally translated a really good children’s book! Neil Gaiman’s The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, from English to Russian. I like variety in my jobs, but I love literary translation. (And when I translate advertising texts or nonfiction, it almost or even fully counts as literary translation for me.) I also translated a novel, Urig. The trick was that it was written in German but took place in Australia and was to be translated into English with a good sprinkling of Australian slang. It seems I did okay – the customer writes: “I think that’s a really good translation, a full success!” This year, a dozen of songs is due for translation into English and German, and I’m looking forward to this work!
Interpreting (simultaneous, consecutive, chuchotage, conference)
What I missed somewhat in 2018 was interpreting. There have been quite a few exciting interpreting assignments, but most of them were taken over by my partner, because technical and legal interpreting is his cup of tea, not to mention start-ups and high-tech – these are his favourite subjects, so it was only fair to the clients that he interpreted at these events. Still, I do love to interpret together in a booth at a conference, and such simultaneous interpreting assignments were somewhat few and far between in 2018. We did get to interpret simultaneously at some employee training sessions. Plus, there was a lot of whisper interpreting (chuchotage) for American or Russian customers during negotiations and meetings. But the best experience in terms of “oral translation” was at a journalist congress in Würzburg, where we performed conference interpreting for Russian, German and English, and got to know exciting people. More of it!
What I’d like to see in 2019 would be an assignment as an interpreter (or, ideally, simultaneously as a pair of interpreters) at the Hannover Fair, the Spielmesse in Nuremberg or Essen, the Book Fair in Frankfurt or Leipzig, the Gamescom in Cologne – and please also the Drupa, the ProWein or the Boot in Düsseldorf. Up to now, I interpreted at almost every Compamed, Medica, Beauty and Top Hair trade fair in Düsseldorf, and would do so again with pleasure. The IAA, the IFA, Glasstech, Wire, Tube and the Essen Motor Show require more technical interpreting; that’s something for my partner. There is a lot going on in Düsseldorf, where we live! (And if you spell it “Duesseldorf”, we still love you.) But we wouldn’t object to an interpreting assignment in London or Moscow, either:)