Do translators diversify?

I’m curious how many translators out there like to work on non-translation projects, too. I love to get the occasional odd-job (copyediting, transcription, etc.). It spices up my average work day and keeps my language skills sharp.

There’s nothing like looking at a writing project from a different step in the process to show me where I should be more or less vigilant while translating. I just finished copyediting an English-language book for a Hungarian author, and the next time I translate from Hungarian I’ll be very careful about my commas. There were just a few in there that struck me as so… odd! Until I realized, that they were placed correctly according to the source grammar. (See what I mean? The comma after “realized” just looks weird in English!)

Proofreading is a very different task than translating—more mechanical, less artistic. If you have a checklist to follow, it seems almost like a word-search or Sudoku puzzle. I find it a pleasant way to warm up my brain over my morning tea. The routine of proper proofreading helps me approach my previous day’s translations as a more neutral reader, too, since I’m hunting out specific errors, rather than reading too broadly.

On the other hand, I know that some tasks just aren’t for some people. I love to be involved at most steps of the writing and publishing process, but I’ve worked with others who just like the initial writing. For them, the polishing steps are torturous. And vice-versa. And that’s OK!

What about you, reader? Do you “diversify your offerings”? Or do you prefer to stick to one language service you’re really good at? Please share your thoughts in the comments!


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