Translation: acquiring skills and spotting the trends

Latvian translator Valters Feists is interviewed
by Darya, a translation student at the
International Institute of Practical Psychology.

May 2003


Why did you decide to become a translator / interpreter?

VF: I realised that I liked the profession and that I could excel in it, plus make my living from it. And it does not become boring.

How did you study to become a translator?

VF: I studied linguistics and translation at the University of Latvia. I also went to French language evening classes and found tutors who were native speakers. Self-taught, too, was important to me.

For how long have you been working as a translator? Where?

VF: For about 7 years. I have worked free-lance for quite a number of organisations and individuals.

What type of documents have you translated?

VF: The main areas are technology and business...

How do you keep your language skills dynamic and up-to-date?

VF: It helps to know which languages are essential to me. I took interest in a number of languages, but now there are about four main working languages (my native tongue Latvian, English, French and Russian). Whenever I need some information, I may easily seek it in any of the languages in which I am fluent.

Do you think human translators (interpreters) will still be needed in the future? Or, will computers take over the job completely?

VF: No, computers will not. Editors (experienced translators capable of editing the contents and style of texts) will be especially valuable. It is important to develop teamwork skills, in order to work efficiently with one's colleagues and supervisors.

Are translators and interpreters nowadays in demand in Latvia and in the European Union?

VF: Yes, indeed. The trend has been much the same as in other modern fields: the biggest increase in demand might have occurred right after Latvia became independent again (in 1991). In fact, there is competition between the many professional fields for bright and productive minds. In all of them, intellect is required, and the translation business is not an exception.

Is it difficult to find employment in the field of translating and interpreting?

VF: I wouldn't say so. I assume that the search is done in more or less the same way in many professions. Though, you may plan your career in a smart way, for example by deciding to work five years as a translator, then become an administrator of sorts, later maybe even move to another profession.

What is your wish to the next generation of translators?

VF: I wish they can have fun, enjoy good health and develop some interesting hobbies.

Tel. +371 - 29-666-322


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