Every now and then, we receive a translation content that sends us down the emotional roller-coaster. As professionals, we are not to infuse our work with our feelings. We are to remain neutral regardless of our stance on the matter.
Is that always possible, though?
I recently had to work on the most difficult project of my entire life. Not in terms of language or theme, no. It contained some very graphic gore. Very. Graphic.
Like I said, a good professional is to be able to detach from the content and simply do their job. But a good translator also needs to experience the content in their mind to be able to recreate it fully in another language. Our imagination works overtime to present us with a tangible form of the mere words in front of us, which we then absorb and express in our own words. Now, couple that with the gore I had to work on.
A translation project is drastically different than simply watching a horror film or reading a tragic story. It is different than watching the news, it is different than listening to a drama podcast. In all these activities, you simply witness whatever is happening in the content. When translating, however, you experience it.
Does it make any of us any less professional to be affected by such content? Personally, I think it only makes us more human. The only condition, of course, is not to allow your emotional state to affect your work. As long as you produce your best work, you are allowed to have as many nightmares as you like, or to snarl and gnarl as much as you like, and you will still be a professional. Easier said than done, I know.
You might have come across such content already. Something that contains a pet peeve of yours, perhaps? Or a subject that you’re heated on?
If you eventually managed to produce an impartial outcome, then no worries. You are indeed a professional, but not detached.