Translator of the Day

Today’s featured translator is Aleksandra Prasek, who translates between Polish and English and back again. As you know by now, we’ll be asking Aleksandra the same questions we asked Jorim and Gabriele. Like lots of translators we encounter, Aleksandra has an intense love of languages, and is a bit of a polyglot, but she is also adamant that translation requires excellent knowledge on the subject in question as well as the language you’re working in. A common thread between all the translators we work with is the opinion that bilingualism (or even multilingualism) is really only the first step in becoming an accomplished translator.

Q1: How did you get into translation?

I think I was born to translate. As a teenager, I used to translate songs by my favourite artists into Polish and then focused on extended language education in high school. I learned English, French, Spanish, Russian, Latin and ancient Greek. Though it may seem a lot, it was fun back then. Eventually, I obtained a diploma in Applied Linguistics from the University of Warsaw. I have been an active translator for 15 years now.

Q2: What languages do you work in?

I work from English to Polish.

Q3: What has been your favourite project ever?

I don’t think there was one specific favourite project in my career, I remember many great projects I’ve worked on. What makes a great project for me? It must be closely related to areas I am specifically interested in and provide a lot of new knowledge so that I can constantly devour new information. I am very into social sciences, psychology and healthcare, but also work in corporate governance and many more.

Q4: Why do you like translation?

Translating texts from various fields enables me to constantly extend my knowledge. And if there is one thing I like best, it’s learning new things all the time. Also, every translation job is different – I could never do the same thing all the time at work.

Q5: If you could translate anything in the world (past or present), what would it be?

I would love to be able to decipher Mayan glyphs and translate the Dead Sea Scrolls 🙂

Q6: Do you think translation is an art or a science?

For me, translation is both art and science. You need to be talented like an artist to be able to find the right words and expressions, and educated like a scientist to know exactly what you are doing with the original text.

Q7: Do you work with Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools? If yes, why? If no, why?

I have been using CAT tools for almost 10 years and cannot imagine myself going back to the pre-CAT times. For me, working with CAT tools is not only about having powerful translation memories for my clients (this helps a lot, too!) but also about the convenience of having the text segmented and being able to automate the use of glossaries. Increased consistency of the texts is another advantage.

Q8: What makes a good project manager?

A good project manager provides clear and complete information about the job at hand, is available to answer any questions and is nice to interact with 🙂

Q9: Where do you live?

I live in Warsaw, Poland.

Q10: What do you do when you’re not translating?

When I’m not working, I spend time with my family, read books – recently in psychology and ancient history – I also go to fitness and self-defence classes, do puzzles and crosswords. Plus, I love to cook! There is nothing that unwinds me more than cooking.

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