What Retired Translators and Editors Do

"See you next year!" - That's how I blithely ended my fifth(!) post about last year's (2016) Translators' Conference. And what have I written in this blog since? Nothing. Zilch. Nada. How come? Do I simply live from one conference to the next? Surely not. Was I so darn busy working that I had no time for writing? Have I not had any inspiring insights about reading, writing, translating, editing, worthy of sharing with you, for an entire year? - Rubbish! So what the ...?

Enough with the soul-searching. I'll leave that for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. But I will provide a few explanations, and if you're bored already, just skip to my next post, where I actually start reporting on the conference. [Link to be provided as soon as said post is written.]

I'm officially retired, and glad of it. I love my profession, but -- as most translators will agree -- dealing with clients can be irksome, and running our business is a chore and a bore to most of us. So, once officially retired, I was freer than ever to pick and choose what projects, big or small, to take on.
I've been lucky: people call me. They tell me about a novel, say, that they wrote in Hebrew. They want it translated into English. I glance at it and, for the most part, roll my eyes. I no longer have the patience. I might find the text long, wordy, lacking focus, flowery, or just plain not my cup of tea. So I give the writer some tips and suggestions, along with the names of trustworthy colleagues who will perhaps be willing to undertake the job. I have done this for Ella, Simona, Tali, Gili, Lihi, Haim, Sigal, Lilach, Yossi, Tamar, and others. Sometimes the text is not bad in itself but is just well-nigh untranslatable.
I take this seriously. I know that the writers put a lot of time, thought and effort into their "baby". I admire them for having the determination and persistence to sit and write. What's known in Yiddish as "sitzfleisch": The ability to endure or persist in a task. So I treat my feedback with all due respect, which takes time.

Then there are the books, or manuscripts, that I do undertake. Not to translate, but to help in other ways: To read and give my opinion, to edit to a certain degree, to offer some criticism and helpful suggestions. Two writers whom I'm pleased to say I helped recently in this way are Dorothea Shefer-Vanson and Shmuel David.

On a daily basis, I get a kick out of adding my 2 cents' worth to discussions on Facebook's translators' forums, especially Agenda, which is my favorite. And when I encounter translators in distress, particularly those who are relatively new to the field, I send them one or more of the glossaries I've compiled and/or accumulated over the years.

Oh, and for the past year I've been on the ITA's Audit Committee. Not that it takes up much of my time; after all, I'm not a professional auditor. But I try to follow what's going on in the Executive Committee and be part of the discussions and decisions, to the best of my ability.

What with three [adorable, of course!] grandkids and a wanderlust-driven hubby, I find myself roaming distant lands on the one hand, and exploring Tel Aviv and Rishon Lezion kids' playgrounds on the other hand. May I take this opportunity to recommend Gan Hamoshava in Rishon, mainly because that's where my parents took me when I was the age of my grandkids... My favorites in central Tel Aviv are Ginat Dubnov and Gan Meir.

What else does a retired translator/editor do in her free time?
- Yoga, twice a week. That's pretty demanding, for a short-limbed, non-flexible person like me.
- Mentor kids from disadvantaged families at the local public library, once a week.
- Struggle to maintain three blogs, one of which includes a section dedicated to my mother's memoirs.
- Maintain correspondence with lots of penpals... (Er... do the youngsters among you even know what that means?)
- Try to read another chapter in one of the books on my night-table, while my eyelids still obey me.
- Try in vain to keep cleaning my In boxes, upload pics to my Flickr account, glance at LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest; not spend too much time on Facebook; not watch depressing news and scary TV series. I'm being good to you and not adding links to the above sites.

Et maintenant, que vais-je faire?.. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW6QiI7hHGA]
I'll just collapse in front of the idiot-box with a nice cuppa tea and some chocolate.


anita said...

Hi Nina,
It was so nice to meet you at this year's ITA conference. If you come up to north let me know.
Anita Smulovitz
Kibbutz Lohame Hagetaot- [anitasmulovitz@gmail.com]

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