Are all translators the same?
There are translators and there are good translators.
What sets them apart?
Depth of skills and competence.
To illustrate the difference, we can use a linguistic translation equivalence in art: interpreting literature text into audio — book reading.
Book reading takes special skills and talent. I did not know that until I saw it done with Hollywood-grade skills and talent. See a couple of them below and more here. This is a book reading program powered by America’s film and television actors union.
These readings are absolutely compelling and riveting. The readers brought life to the book with firm grasp of the subject.
There are parallel skills and competence that good translators apply to their work.
First, good translators transcend words and work at conceptual level. They not only translate words. They pick up meanings between lines. Their full appreciation of intended messages are reflected in their write up of a translation. If the source has a narrative, it will be written in the translation as well. This ability comes from a translator’s deep knowledge of the thinking and value systems associated with the source language.
Second, in the same way a book reader is skilled with their voice, good translators can write. They write with clarity and focus. They choose the right words and style that are consistent with the original text. They write up the translation with the source author’s voice fully preserved.
These ability and skills are not natural to translators or anyone. They come with an individual’s effort and willingness to perfect their craft.
So, not all translators are the same.
And therefore, not all translations are ‘born’ equal.