1.4 The importance of reading and writing
Excellent writing skills are an essential requirement for translators. In fact, many famous authors in history put their skills to work as translators (Cesare Pavese, Jorge Luis Borges, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Vladimir Nabokov and many others). In non-literary contexts, translators can sometimes move into other professions such as technical writing or journalism, where the skills of efficiently organising and formulating information are highly valued.
Less obvious is the need to have highly developed reading skills. Reading a text as a translator is a very different experience from just reading. The translator needs to understand the text thoroughly, both the words and the cultural connotations of those words.
Before we close this section and move on to examining what we mean by ‘translation competence’, listen to Professor Susan Bassnett, from the University of Warwick, talking about the skills of reading and writing in translation.
Transcript: Susan Bassnett
Had you thought before about having to read differently in order to translate? Did you view the job of translating as essentially (re)writing?