04.10.2012, Signed by Valentina Ursu
Free Europe: How is it to be a translator in Moldova?
Eleonora Rusnac: “Flexible, sly, knowing a priori what the speaker wants to say, to guess the message thereof, to correct him/her when necessary.”
Free Europe: It is not easy to translate, to do simultaneous translations, within press conferences or seminars, it is more complicated, and if the speaker is from Moldova, the translation becomes an art –states for Free Europe Mrs. Eleonora Rusnac, president of the Association of Professional Translators:
Eleonora Rusnac: “Our Association is called the Association of Professional Translators of Moldova. You asked me if we have work, if we do not… The work is seasonal. We depend very much on what is happening in the country: if many delegations come, if many conferences, seminars are held, then the Association’s translators are also very busy…”
Free Europe: Who requires your services: Moldovan institutions or those from abroad?
Eleonora Rusnac: “We may say: 50 to 50. There are already world-renowned (famous) translators who are already in international networks, e.g. TAIEX or European Union, various institutions… And then it happens like this: they visit the Association’s website, make proposals, more translators apply, they make the selection and then there are direct contracts. And it is an honor to have direct contracts because they are better paid… But, unfortunately, we depend on small local officials who are in projects: all kinds of secretaries, manager assistants who often employ for ‘beautiful eyes’.”
Free Europe: You know that sometimes reproaches are made to translators. Recently, we had been officially visited by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Many people were upset with how the translation was done. The translation quality matters a lot…
Eleonora Rusnac: “Unfortunately, Mrs. Merkel ignored the Moldova Translators Association. But we must however admit that German is less known by translators. Nevertheless, within the Association there are translators with a very good German. But I still agree with all those who were dissatisfied, because a manifestation, a seminar really depends very much on translation’s quality…”
Free Europe: When you make a translation, translate the message, do you translate verbatim?
Eleonora Rusnac: “In the Republic of Moldova you must have an ability to draw up the speech on the fly. So local speakers are, they came… we all know from what era…”
Free Europe: The Soviet environment where more people were thinking into Russian and there were more loan translations…
Eleonora Rusnac: “Exactly. Exactly. The beneficiary does not know about the linguistic situation in the Republic of Moldova and, ultimately, will accuse the translator for poor translation. Therefore, within the seminars conducted by the Association of Translators, one of the disciplines that I personally teach is drawing up the native message. You must on the fly understand what the speaker is saying and translate into English, to be understandable for that beneficiary, but not to contort too much also this native meaning of our speech.”
Free Europe: So, how is it like to be a translator in Moldova?
Eleonora Rusnac: “To be a translator in Moldova… You must be very flexible, sly, to know a priori what the speaker wants to say, to guess the message thereof, to correct him/her where necessary. There are many, many… To speak Russian from the beginning, no one asks you: you know, you do not know Russian, you perform translations from Romanian and Russian; to have an enormous capacity of work: in the morning you go to a seminar of electoral instruments area, in the afternoon you are already at the Ministry of Health, going to a hospital…”
Free Europe: The whole terminology must be known…
Eleonora Rusnac: “That’s it. The Republic of Moldova is a small country; the translation market is very small. We cannot get specialized how it is done worldwide, where translators make deals: I translate only into Romanian, you translate only into English, and then they switch. We do not do such way, we are used to want more, better and pay less.”
Free Europe: Are young people coming to the Association of Professional Translators?
Eleonora Rusnac: “They are, fewer. Of course we still strive to select persons who have experience and can face the name of a professional translator. Unfortunately, very many translators are still outside the Association. And I suppose that the beneficiary is guilty of, i.e. the customer, for not requiring such quality from a translator. He/she accepts the translator without holding a membership card. I recommend them to request for the Translator Association membership card. A professional translator is much more flexible, knowing more…”
Free Europe: How many languages do you speak?
Eleonora Rusnac: “Romanian, English, French, and Russian, of course. They who work in the area know that, first of all, you are satisfied when the translation is performed well and everyone is content. Very often it happens that, at the end of a conference, the people clap their hands for you, exactly as for an artist, a fact which makes you feel very good. So, it is very difficult, but it is a beautiful and hard job.”
Free Europe: Have you not been somehow tempted to translate from literature?
Eleonora Rusnac: “I must admit that we fell into the trap of better earnings. We wanted to earn better…”
Free Europe: But do you earn well?
Eleonora Rusnac: “Yes, a good translator, if looked for by customers, is doing well. Better as a teacher. Namely this fact made me leave the job of English teacher that I really liked very much. There you are really as an artist in front of the public. It was very nice. But we all know the reality, how teachers are paid and I had to adjust myself.”
Free Europe: What should a man of culture do in a turbulent period, like the one we are going through?
Eleonora Rusnac: “He should adapt to the times in which we live. We must be flexible and do what is looked for.. Nu prea inteleg sensul. Otherwise, we get to hold out our hand.”
Free Europe: I suppose that there exists a fierce competition among translators. And the difference afterwards is done by those who have flair.
Eleonora Rusnac: “It’s true. Competition exists. But once you have created a name, you have a share on market; such competition does not affect you too much. The majority of professional translators who perform simultaneous translations are members of the Association and this fact is known. And even competitors, such as translation agencies, companies, recognize this: that, , the translators performing simultaneous translation, most of them, not all, are members of the Association. Therefore, we must fight to win a name, to do good things. In fact, this is true for any profession.”
Free Europe: What does it mean to have flair?
Eleonora Rusnac: “It means many things. First, to have that presence of mind, being at a translation with the ambassadors of Sweden. You have to be strong, not to abandon yourself to emotions… Because, if you abandon yourself to emotions, that is it, you lose the thread of thought and, next time, you do not have chances to be invited. There are translators who are very brave. And they can speak in front of the crowd. Others are shy. And they cannot do such a thing. So, it is a psychological matter. But there is also a dose of courage, you have to be confident that you are the best.”
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