Spanish translators are some of the most critical people I know. Now, I’m not saying this to be mean or demeaning, but rather just stating something that I have come to observe over the almost ten years I have worked in the translation field.
If you’re not a translator, it might be hard for you to understand what I mean by this, and maybe it is different for translators of other languages, but when Spanish translators first see something that has been translated, especially if the English and Spanish are together, we immediately begin to pick apart the translation. We point out all sorts of “mistakes” made by the translator, complaining that a different word should have been used or that some of the meaning was lost from the original.
Just the other day, I went into a fast-food restaurant and started to read some of the signs they had in Spanish. Was I reading them to find out what they said? No, I was reading them to see if there were any bad translations.
So why do we Spanish translators continually look for faults in other people’s work and get overly offensive when someone does the same to ours? I don’t know, and I don’t know if it will ever change.
However, by recognizing that this happens, it is a little easier to see that an “accurate” Spanish translation can be somewhat subjective. There will never be a single objective way to determine what actually constitutes accurate Spanish translations.
Many people want to treat translation as a strict science with one right answer. However, this will never be the case, as we translators all have different experiences and backgrounds that will always affect the way we translate, no matter how objective we try to be.
We translators are just going to have to learn to live with our disease… and try to not be so hard on others.