This is a continuation of my description of the positives and negatives I have thus far encountered in my current projects.
Project #3 is a Translation Work. This particular project involves translating a collection of about 50 letters. This is truly the most unusual type of writing project I have ever worked on! I have never done any work with translation, apart from foreign language courses, and those usually involve vocabulary lists, basic sentences, and maybe a few paragraphs as the classes grew in difficulty. Nothing like this!
These letters are written in two different languages: one I have worked with in the courses referenced above; the other I have extremely limited exposure to. That, plus the fact that as I previously mentioned, I have not done any translation work in the past, makes this an incredibly challenging project.
But the challenge is what makes the work so fascinating!
The negative that I have encountered on this project, apart from working with languages other than my own, is that it is really difficult to read a variety of handwriting samples even when they are written in your native tongue. Trying to decipher writing when you cannot readily recognize the wording chosen is even more difficult! Mark Twain said, “I don’t give a damn for a man who can only spell a word one way.” While it is understood that creativity can be found even among spelling varieties within one work, I can safely say that the misspelled word written in another language is the bane of my existence, with regards to this project! Good penmanship goes a long way towards getting your point across in direct communication of this type.
The positives I have experienced far outweigh the negatives. For one thing, I am learning to work with other languages. That is a bonus I did not anticipate when I began writing. For another, I am learning a great deal from these letters, partly about the people who wrote them, partly about the people they were written for, and partly about the time period in which they were written. As most are from Europe during World War II, I definitely appreciate the first-hand knowledge evident in these letters.