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مصادر المترجم Translator's References المصادر والمراجع والموارد التي يمكن للمترجم الاستعانة بها في عمله.

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أدوات الموضوع طرق مشاهدة الموضوع
قديم 07-08-2006, 06:38 AM
الصورة الرمزية soubiri
soubiri soubiri غير متواجد حالياً
أعضاء رسميون
تاريخ التسجيل: May 2006
المشاركات: 1,459
افتراضي The Oldest Profession in the World

The Oldest Profession in the World

by Tim Nicholson -
reprinted with permission of the author

My first contact with the world of translation was in Madrid in the 
early 1980s where I was living in a garret flat, my only source of
income a monthly wad of notes pressed into my hand by an unregistered
staff member of the Irish embassy at a prearranged venue.


It was on a balmy evening in late spring that I first met Amaia who
working the terraces in the Plaza Mayor. Of course I had seen the
"palabreras" before, shuffling from table to table offering cheap
translations, with one eye over their shoulders for the police, but I
had always avoided entering into conversation with such people. Amaia,
however, was different. Unlike the others, she held her head proudly,
and her first words were: "Any of these (she waved a dismissive hand
in the direction of the other translators on the beat) could do the
job in half the time and for half of my price, but if you believe that
quality is worth paying for,I'm the one you're looking for". I had been
brought up a strict monolinguist, and I was instinctively repulsed by
her offer, but I invited her to stay for a drink with me.


After that, we began to meet regularly, though in all the time I knew
her I never once paid for her to translate for me. Her story was all
familiar. She had had a respectable job as a prostitute, working
in some of the better clubs in the area, but desperation and an ugly
knife scar across her right cheek had led her into the sordid world of
translation. Her brother, Javier, sent by the family to Madrid to try
to rescue her from immorality, had fallen into the same trap. The first
time I met him I knew from the glazed eyes, ghoulish stare and nervous
inability to stay quiet that he was a simultaneous interpreter.


After a change of government in Ireland and a new policy on
international "diplomacy" even my pitiful income for "information"
had dried up, and I eventually went to live with Amaia and Javier and
inevitably to work with them. Despite the apparent misery of our
existence, they were not unhappy times. I worked mainly as a
"frilansa", having learnt from my new friends to avoid the agencies,
which tempted innocent young translators in with promises of steady
work and careful client control, but which always ended up sapping the
spirit of even the hardiest, forcing them to work unbelievable hours
at low pay, and never allowing them the chance to turn down a trick,
whatever the subject matter.

Of course, we were continually hounded by the police, and could not 
afford the back-handers paid by the agencies to keep the Civil Guard
away. On many occasions I was forced by unscrupulous policemen to do
free work for them, and on a few occasions even ended up doing court
translations. Eventually though, my luck ran out, and I spent six
months in Carabanchel for "comercio linguistico con el agravante de
estilo libre". Naturally we were deprived of all writing instruments
in the cell; no paper, no pencils, just an old Apple Mac, sarcastically
referred to as a computer by the wardens. I found it easier to use
excrement to mark the walls with.


After Amaia's tragic death, Javier went gradually downhill, working
first in a cheap agency and then translating computer manuals. When I
last heard from him he had become a lawyer.


I drifted north to the Basque Country. On her death bed, Amaia had
asked me to visit her parents but not to tell them how she had spent
her final
years, and when I eventually found them, a poor but proud
family of sheep farmers, I assured them that she had managed to get
away from the world of translation and had been working in a strip
club near Cuatro Caminos.


As for myself, once exposed to the "mundillo" of professional
linguistics, I could never escape. These days, Spanish law is more
lenient towards us.
The revised Penal Code practically legalises translation, stating in 
preamble that "...while the practise is generally considered vile
repulsive, [...] and condemned by many religious groups, it is our
opinion that it is a necessary evil, and that no attempt on the part
of the legislators will ever succeed in entirely ridding society of the


We also consider that legalisation of translation may help to ensure
that it is carried out under better and more salutary conditions".


I am always heartened by the support of LANTRA*. Who would have thought
just a few years ago that so many people from all over the world would

prepared to stand up in public and admit "I am a translator".

* Editor's note: LANTRA-L is one of the best translators list available on the Internet.
For more information go to:

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