Talent Q & A: Translator Goran D
Translator – Goran Dimitriev (1417)
We are on a mission to get to know our talent better. This week we caught up with 6-star translator Goran D., a Spanish, French, and Macedonian translator with a passion for poetry.
Q: What initially sparked your interest in languages?
A: Ever since I was a kid, I have been reading books, watching movies or listening to music in foreign languages. Besides the fun in it, what inspires me is the idea that by speaking foreign languages, we build bridges between cultures and civilizations. Thus, we are connected on a spiritual level. If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
Q: Merriam-Webster defines your major, Philology, as “the study of human speech especially as the vehicle of literature and as a field of study that sheds light on cultural history.” Why is the historical context of language interesting to you?
A: The historical context of language reveals and provides answers to many of life’s questions. People can be judged by words, and words reveal a person’s character and way of thinking. If we know the histories of languages, we know more about our ancestors, and so about ourselves. The fact that all of today’s world languages do not originate from a single primeval language, but from a group of about 20-30 mutually different languages, leads us to the legend of Babylon, which steers us to life’s other mysteries.
Q: You are proficient in Spanish, French, and Macedonian translation. Do you find that after you learn one foreign language, others come more easily?
A: One language is never enough. In fact, I have translated from 12 languages and all went great. Once you learn one foreign language, others may come more easily, but only if they belong to the same family or group. Of course, there are difficulties in the learning process until we reach a proficient level, but patience is the key, as well as enthusiasm and love.
Q: In your experience, what is a common misconception regarding translators/translation?
A: There is no correct or perfect translation, i.e. an error-free translation that is completely faithful to the original. The translator is lost and drowning even before he starts swimming in the translation waters. Equivalents may exist, but they give the illusion of understanding. So we always strive for perfection, but we can never achieve it. If we were meant to completely understand each other, there would be only one language in the world.
Q: In today’s world, why is learning another language so important?
A: It can make our lives better. We can help ourselves and others in limitless everyday situations. A different language is a different vision of life, and to have another language is to possess a second soul. As many languages you know, as many times you are a human being.
Q: If you could instantly learn another language, which one would you choose and why?
A: Hebrew or Aramaic. That way, I could study the Bible more thoroughly, which is the basis of all the world’s literature. I’ve always been eager to learn the root languages of Christian civilization and of humanity in general.
Q: Do you have any advice for those thinking about a career in translation?
A: First of all – go freelance! Then, try to specialize in the area you love. Whenever possible, translate what can be of help to someone and choose to work in domains that would be beneficial to the welfare of humanity. It’s humane to work on texts related to health and medicine, rather than video games, for instance. Our profession can save lives, so cherish it. Always support your colleagues. Try to contribute to the development of the translation industry in a benevolent way and transfer the knowledge you possess to the freshly minted translators. And words are not the only variables to translate; the whole picture behind the curtain must be painted as well – intention, tone, emotions, and so on.
6-star translator Goran D. joined WriterAccess in 2016. He has experience translating Spanish, French, and Macedonian to English. His expertise lies in translating technical documents for the legal, medical, and technology fields, though his passion for poetry, nature, and sports keeps him balanced.
Goran has a B.A. in Philology.