Talent Q&A: Translator Katarzyna D

We are on a mission to get to know our talent better. This week we caught up with 6-star Polish translator, Katarzyna D.,  a seasoned translator with a passion for the European Union and and affinity for technical topics.

Q: What initially sparked your interest in languages?

A: I was quite good at languages at school and language lessons were always my favorite. However, at first I did not think about languages as the base of my career. I just treated them as a window to the world.

Q: What do you feel is the most difficult thing about translating?

A: In general, I believe translating is not easy work at all. And one of the most difficult aspects is that the result of a translator’s effort is subject to continuous assessment, often not very objective. At the same time, it is very rewarding when you hear that your work is really well done.

Q: In your experience, what is a common misconception regarding translators/translation?

A: I guess what always amazes me is an idea that translation can be done by anybody that knows the source language. What about more than average knowledge of the target (native) language or the ability to understand sometimes quite complex topics you are going to translate?

Q: In today’s world, why is learning another language so important?

A: Today, the world is a globalized village. In your private or professional life, you very often need or want to communicate with people on the other side of the globe or just gather some information or help other people to do it. Every day, you cross the border of your country virtually, not even being conscious of it.

Q: If you could instantly learn another language, which one would you choose and why?

A: If I approach this question practically it would be Chinese. It seems kind of obvious. China attracts people for many reasons now. But thinking of it in a more romantic way, I would choose Hungarian as I love its melody. Besides, Hungarian is considered one of the most difficult languages in the world so it could be real fun.

Q: Are there any common mistakes or incorrect translations that you tend to see with the Polish language in particular?

A: We all make mistakes. One of the most common errors that I can observe, especially in case of beginners, is copying English punctuation or capitalization rules in the Polish language. I have been there, too. Luckily, then your skills develop and your mistakes become less obvious.

Q: You are proficient translating high tech documents as well as legislation. Are there particular skills you need to have for those texts vs. others?

A: Certainly there are several skills nice to have: the first is the ability to use special language and terminology and apply it consistently. The second one is to absorb and understand complex technical aspects or legal concepts and present them in a precise and disciplined way. Apart from that, it is helpful if you like such topics and can get immersed in them with some excitement, which is my case. Your vivid imagination would also be helpful here to picture how this device you are writing about really works. But, I guess, imagination is needed with every type of translation.

Q: Do you have any advice for those thinking about a career in translation?

A: If you think you would like it, go for it. There are many interesting opportunities that can suit your skills and interests. You can work from home or in companies of different types, in your country and abroad. For beginning translators, I have one piece of advice: be a specialist. Select several domains you are interested in and develop your specialist knowledge. That way you can not only become an experienced translator sought after in a given discipline but also be involved in subjects you really enjoy.

Q: What is your favorite thing about living in Poland?

A: I suppose this would be our geographical diversity. We have mountains, lakes, the sea, primaeval forests and rural picturesque landscapes.  Also, there are beautiful old towns and historical architecture. I love taking pictures so I have many marvelous places to shoot around me.

6-star translator Katarzyna D. joined WriterAccess in 2016 but has been working in translation and localization for over 10 years. She is a trusted translator for the European Parliament and the European Commission, with a particular interest in legislation and technology. Katarzyna has a Masters in Economics from the University of Lodz in Poland.


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