Welcome everyone to the sixth 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 Clara Guelbenzu, Valeria Aliperta and Marta Stelmaszak as special guests in the previous episodes, the red carpet guest of this week is the Spanish translator, Scheherezade Surià López. As always, if you’re active in the translation and interpreting community, there’s no chance you don’t know her. Still, let’s refresh our memory a little bit…
Scheherezade is a literary and audiovisual translator, and a language enthusiast from a very early age. She took a degree in Translation and Interpretation, followed by a post graduate course in Literary Translation along with a Masters in Audiovisual Translation. Her experience thus far has been centred on permanent collaborations with a series of different agencies and publishers. Scheherezade has a broad-based knowledge of specialised literary and audiovisual translation from English into Spanish and Catalan.
In the eight years she has been working as a translator, she has translated over twenty books, covering a wide range of subjects (romantic fiction, children’s books, essays) and has also subtitled dozens of films, such as Madagascar, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda or Puss in Boots.
In love with her work, and immensely passionate about the different branches of translation, Scheherezade also has her own blog, En la luna de Babel, where she talks about the many and varying aspects of language and its translation.
A big thank you to Scheherezade for kindly finding some time between one novel and another to answer these questions. ¡Muchas gracias!
When did you first become aware of your calling and what happened since then?
“I have always been interested in languages. It is difficult to pinpoint when it all started exactly. I loved understanding the lyrics of the bands I listened to and I loved reading books in English. When I had to choose a degree, I didn’t doubt it and I haven’t regretted it once. I think it’s the perfect job for me. I love translating meanings and working with texts.”
Did you choose your specialisation or was your specialisation that chose you?
“Both, really. I chose Literary translation when I finished the degree and did a postgraduate because I wanted to translate books. And regarding Audiovisual translation, it was the other way round. I saw a job post in Proz.com, I tried and I got my first job subtitling movies.”
Why did you choose to go freelance rather than working as an in-house translator?
“I wanted to be free and to be able to choose. Mind you, I didn’t know back then than being a freelance translation doesn’t mean you can always choose. When there are bills to pay, you have to translate things you don’t enjoy (technical manuals or contracts, for example). But basically, those were the reasons.”
Should anyone want to specialise in your field, would you recommend anything in particular?
“Experience is the best but if you start working with an agency they won’t usually give you detailed feedback so I don’t know if you learn that much. A good option in this case is helping an experienced friend who can give you an honest opinion afterwards.
A master’s degree is good, especially if it’s professionally oriented, but they are very expensive. Nowadays you can find good courses online that can be more specific than a master’s degree.”
How significant are or have been social networks and personal branding for your current position?
“Essential. I had work before I had a blog or a twitter account but these two things have helped me get more, even indirectly. Some customers have e-mailed me after reading my blog or after following me on twitter, strange as it may seem.
If you look after your image on the Internet (you are coherent with what you say and post) and you are active in translation groups, social networks can help you grow as a professional.”
How did you make your name in the translation industry? Any dos and don’ts?
“Being very active in twitter, basically. Trying to share interesting things and interacting with other professionals. Later on, I came up with the pin up translator tumblr and I guess more people started following me for that (and thinking of me when they saw a pin up, which is a good sign, I guess).
- use an optimistic tone;
- be courteous and respectful with people;
- share links, images or posts that you reckon can be useful for the rest of the translator community…
The basic social rules and good manners apply in these networks.
- don’t overdo it, don’t share the same thing a trillion times;
- try not to impose your opinion.”
If you’d like to know about Scheherezade’s first client hunting experience and her three tips for translators and interpreters, you can read “How can freelancers find new clients“, featuring also Marta Stelmaszak, Xosé Castro Roig, Valeria Aliperta, Gabriel Cabrera Méndez and Pablo Muñoz Sánchez.
Next Monday don’t miss the following episode of the translation & interpreting “red carpet” series with Lloyd Bingham!
As always, feel free to leave any comment. Have a great week everybody!