The Linguist

The Linguist 52,2

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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FEATURES 40 years of EU English Rosie ter Beek looks at the history of translation into English at the EU, as it marks its ruby anniversary 24 The Linguist APRIL/MAY translation, covered in his own and his reviser's handwriting, was distributed at a gathering of mining experts from all over europe. The requesting department had not had time to retype it. Translators became skilled in dictating as correctly as possible, so that only minimal changes had to be made afterwards. 'if only it had been possible to "search and replace" back then if you decided mid-way through to change the term used,' smiles Rouse. 'That would have saved some red ink.' The fact that translators typically worked from only two or three languages meant that there was far more scope for specialisation than there is today, when many translators are required to translate from all the languages Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0) Many of the translators in the Commission's english department are approaching retirement at a time when there is increasing demand for english translation. This means that the department is recruiting translators who can fill their shoes. a recruitment competition for english language translators is expected to be opened in June. 'We are looking for high-calibre university graduates who are able to translate into english from two other official eU languages,' says a spokesman. all permanent in-house staff are recruited through a process that involves a cognitive reasoning and professional skills test, practical linguistic tests and a structured interview, staggered over about nine months. a pool of suitable candidates is created, and individuals from that pool are recruited as posts become available. Salaries for translators start at €48,000 (about £44,000). For further details, see other useful links include;; and via i HOW TO BECOME AN EU TRANSLATOR JLogan used my mother's gardening book to research terminology for a Commission decision on breeders' rights for rose growing,' recalls Malcolm kilgour, a senior english translator with the european Commission's Translation Service. 'Back then we had to use the books available, and be resourceful.' That was in 1985. 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of english becoming an official eU language and therefore 40 years of official english translation within the european Commission, years that have witnessed some huge changes. in 1973 there were only six official languages, as opposed to 23 today, and translators typically worked from only two or three languages into their mother tongue. They dictated their translations and a large pool of typists produced paper copy. Since translators had a very good knowledge of these languages (and did not have to translate out of the 'exotic' languages that have recently become official), dictation came easily and output was surprisingly high. dictation became a very natural skill, says david Crowther, who joined the Translation Service in 1976. 'You had to watch you didn't go home in the evening and greet your partner with a cheery "good evening, comma, darling!" by mistake.' dictation was, by all accounts, faster than typing, but required a good memory since translators couldn't scroll back and check what they had put earlier in the document. a good microphone voice helped too. all corrections were added by hand and passages quoted from other documents were photocopied and pasted in. Bryan Rouse joined the Translation Service as a trainee in 1973. on one occasion, his they know. The ability to research unfamiliar subject matter quickly is now a key part of the job, but in the past, translators invested in gaining expertise in a particular subject area, for example coal and steel, or railways. They kept abreast of new processes and developments by reading specialist journals, magazines and literature, contacting experts and even, for example, visiting a mine to see what life was like at the coalface. The kinds of resources available meant that research was a far more lengthy process. The first port of call was the filing cabinets in the archive room, where translators could search for related documents, then the library, card indexes or, failing that, contacts in national specialist organisations. in the late 1970s

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