Welcome everyone to the seventh episode of the translation & interpreting “red carpet” series, featuring remarkable guests of the industry who kindly accepted to share with us their views on some common points. After having Scheherezade Surià, Clara Guelbenzu, Valeria Aliperta and Marta Stelmaszak as special guests in the previous episodes, the red carpet guest of this week is the British translator, Lloyd Bingham. He’s very active in the translation community, so you’ll probably know him. Yet, let’s refresh our memory a little bit anyway…Lloyd Bingham
Lloyd is a senior in-house translator working from French, German, Spanish and Dutch into English. In addition to translating, he co-manages a team of a dozen in-house translators at a translation company in the north-east of England. Outside of the nine-to-five, he tweets and blogs about language and translation as ‘lloydtranslates’, and meet up with colleagues at translation events, so he can engage with the translation community and keep up-to-date with developments.
A big thank you to Lloyd for kindly spending some of his five-to-nine free time answering these questions!
When did you first become aware of your calling and what happened since then?
“Some have loved translation since they were in school; others found it much later in life. I started taking a liking to it at university when I did some voluntary translations for a community arts organisation in Toulouse and a national opera house in Cardiff. The first was a translation of the epilogue for a book containing postcards that local residents had designed under the topic Et pour toi c’est quoi l’art? [So what does art mean to you?] and I loved that my translation made that project accessible to English speakers. The second involved working with a dramaturg to translate a batch of 19th century German poems, with lots of word play and metaphors…certainly not the kind of work I see myself taking on in future, but it was great fun and taught me that translators need to read between the lines of their texts.”
Did you choose your specialisation or was your specialisation that chose you?
“I’d like to say the former but it’s probably the latter. Going into an in-house job with little experience, it was up to me to train myself to translate the kinds of texts that the company received. Fortunately I’ve taken a liking to marketing and business translation. I enjoy translating stylistic marketing texts and like to think that idiomatic writing in English comes rather naturally to me. It’s great to see your work in action too. I’ve seen my translations published regularly on the website of a certain Swedish furniture chain. Business has become one of my specialisations since it’s been a natural major source of work, and although Business English is the bane of many translators’ existence, I think it’s quite creative and clever in its metaphors.”
Why did you choose to work as an in-house translator rather than going freelance?
“By the time I finished my language degree, I felt it was time for me to move out of full–time education and try to break into the translation industry. I thought that it would be even trickier without a Master’s, but I’ve learned more being in-house than any translation course could have taught me. You teach yourself about the theories of translation, but crucially you also learn about the practicalities of the industry on the job. Working as an in-house translator puts you in a much better position to becoming a freelance translator in my view.”
Should anyone want to specialise in your field, would you recommend anything in particular?
“On-the-job experience has been the main way of specialising for me. The research that comes with translating helps you to build up your terminology base and get used to the style associated with your specialisms. This should of course be complemented by continuous professional development to help you expand your knowledge on your specialisms and potentially branch into new sub-specialisations.”
How significant are or have been social media and personal branding for your current position?
“I wouldn’t have come to know so many colleagues or have learned so much about the industry without social media. It’s frightening to think what life as a translator would have been like without it. Still, there are translators who are completely absent from social media and who are perfectly content to continue that way. But we’re all different.”
How did you make your name in the translation industry? Any dos and don’ts?
- “Get on Facebook, get on Twitter, and get in touch with other translators.
- Share your thoughts and ideas with them.
- Listen to theirs and take them on board.
- Join your local translation association and get involved with them.
- But be humble and don’t overdo it.
Engaging in the translation community is a two-way process.”
If you’d like to know about Lloyd’s first company hunting experience and his three tips for translators and interpreters, you can read “How to find an in-house job?“, featuring also Clara Guelbenzu and Merche García Lledó.
Don’t miss next episode of the translation & interpreting “red carpet” series with Xosé Castro. Stay tuned!
As always, feel free to leave any comment. Have a great week everybody!