Does anyone here translate professionally?
How much to employers value a degree in one's native language, in addition to one in the language to be translated?
I am due to start a degree in Spanish this year, but have been thinking seriously about changing to a joint degree in Spanish & English Literature, especially if it is likely to increase my employability as a translator or language teacher upon graduation.
I have been translating, now I have moved on to "translating without source", i.e. technical writing.
I find that knowledge of both languages is equally important: it is not only a matter of understanding waht the source text says, but being able to render the flavour, subtleties and cultural diffences in the target language matters just as much.
I have been working in software translation, and in that field we prefer to talk about localization. It is not just the text that needs to be converted, examples etc. need to be adapted to local usage and customs.
In the "old days", before the Euro, Italy would use the lire as currency. And one lire was hardly worth a thing, you needed 10.000 lires for a packet of cigarettes, to give an idea.
If the source text would give an example using a $1000 amount, you cannot simply change the $ sign into LIT, because 1000 lires is not worth thinking about, whereas 1000 dollars is an amount not spent daily. So you would have to adapt the example and change it into LIT 1.000.000.
Other customization thingies: Americans have their zip code after the city name, many European postcodes come before the city name. Americans have a first name, middle name and last name, Europeans are much more creative.
But to come back to your question: I think you better bet on both horses...
These days u would rely on Google or Altavista for translation why pay $$$ when u can get it for free.....
Free isnt really all that accurate. It comes out with like missing words and sounds all wierd, the translation makes little sense when you translate it with free ones.
If you really think any automated system can translate as good as a human, you're utterly mistaken. If you know that the European Commission has been working on a computer translation system for the last 40 years, and has as yet not been able to come up with a 100% foolproof and error free system, do you think that commercial organizations like Google or Altavista could do better in the five years they exist?
Especially the English language is full of quirks and irregularities. A simple word like "find" can have so many interpretations: it can be a noun (something you find), it can be a verbal imperative ("go and find it!"), it can be an infinitive (to find or not to find, that is the question), it can be a conjugated form (I find, you find, we find). And all these cases translate differently in many languages.
And then, a litteral translation doesn't always do the trick: in Dutch for example, you don't send out someone to "find" something. You may send someone out to look for something, but whether or not that will lead to the desired result cannot be said beforehand.
In "computerese", a button displaying 'Find' in the English version, should not say 'Vind' in the Dutch version, although that is the exact translation, but 'Zoek'.
And there is no computer system that would be able to distinguish between these kind of subtleties that languages have.
Thank goodness for that ...
Being multilingual is really an advantage, esp when your looking for jobs. Im taking Japanese Language now, hoping to become an interpreter in the future. If you want to learn you can study at Berlitz Language Center which is an international firm. They are expert on languages.