the magical quality of words
Words can be used to create a whole world, in fact, many parallel worlds, with thousands of images that flash through your mind and that every reader “models” in their own way and according to the way they feel. My parallel worlds are three: publishing, legal and educational.
The translator’s profession is a profession of words, but strangely they are not the translator’s own words, but the words of others. The translator undertakes to interpret the thoughts of others and to be faithful to the images already evoked, without the claim of creating other images, but intending to contribute to reveal and clarify existing images using a code that differs from the original code.
This reflects the “creative” skills of the person who interprets, and that can create a special sense of achievement. The translator’s pride stems from rendering accessible in his/her own mother tongue the concepts expressed in another language that is obscure to the translator’s reader, knowing that his/her work does not consist merely in transposing words (as so many believe!) but in recreating a world, deeply-rooted in sharing ones own culture…
And by contrast with what may be believed, this magical quality is also experienced with texts which may appear to be less creative.