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Профессиональный путь переводчиков

С одной стороны, переводчик обладает несомненными преимуществами перед «простыми смертными» благодаря своему двуязычию, позволяющему ему оставаться «на высоте» в тех ситуациях, когда остальные становятся по существу совершенно беспомощными из-за недоступности даже самой обыденной информации. С другой стороны, однако, профессия переводчика отягощена и целым рядом свойств, на первый взгляд вызывающих у «среднего обывателя» ассоциации скорее негативного свойства.

Отвечает Линн Виссон*

- Почему Вы стали переводчиком?

- I have always been fascinated by the process of communication, by how thoughts, ideas and images in one language can be recreated in another tongue. That process does not merely involve the selection of appropriate lexical and semantic units, but requires a shift into another culture, another way of perceiving the world. Only through an understanding of the culture in which a language is embedded can the interpreter/translator successfully convey the full meaning of a foreign linguistic/cultural system. Growing up in America a quadrilingual household - my parents spoke their native Russian, as well as French, German and English - probably fated me to be an interpreter. My parents were from a generation of Russian intellectuals who thought that any child who did not speak four languages fluently by the age of four was probably mentally retarded. They didn't give me much choice as far as language learning was concerned! I very early fell in love with Russian and French literature, and was intrigued by translation and interpretation problems. Extensive contacts with Russians in the US and my own trips to Russia reinforced my interest in language and interpretation. Interpretation provides instant gratification: you immediately see the result of your work, the communication and understanding you provide people who otherwise would fail to understand each other. And you understand how much good a talented interpreter can do, how greatly he can help people understand each other, and how much damage a poor interpreter can inflict.

- Что Вам дала профессия переводчика?

- My more than twenty years as a staff interpreter at the United Nations, working in the English booth from Russian and French, in addition to my previous work for the US Department of State and in the private sector provided me with a unique opportunity to work for international understanding and to be directly involved in international communication. It allowed me to deepen my understanding and knowledge of Russian, French, of the languages and cultures. Contacts with my colleagues at the United Nations have been deeply gratifying. Work as an interpreter has expanded my intellectual and cultural horizons, as I moved from a more narrowly academic focus to explore Russian-American relations in the context of Russian-American marriages and the impact of culture on language. My background in teaching Russian and my involvement with the United Nations interpreter training program prompted me to write a textbook, praktikum and other materials on issues of Russian-English interpretation, and other works. If it were not for my career as an interpreter and my interest in Russia I would never have met the wonderful people at RValent and the many outstanding Russian interpreters and translators who have become my friends and colleagues. And United Nations conferences have provided an opportunity to be a direct participant in negotiations and to travel all over the globe.

- Что отняла профессия переводчика?

- I gave up a promising career in academics to become an interpreter. With a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures, and a dissertation on Sergei Esenin, I was sure that I was destined to teach Russian language and literature, and I taught at several American universities, including Columbia University, for nearly ten years. While I very much enjoyed teaching, I have no regrets about leaving the rather narrow confines of academics for interpretation, which has proved to be far more rewarding in all respects.

- Кто был Ваш учитель?

- Life. An interpreter learns from dozens, from hundreds of colleagues, speeches, books, contacts. It would be absolutely unfair and wrong to single out any one of the many talented individuals to whom I owe so much.

- Самый трудный случай в практике.

- In 2000 at the Millennium session of the UN General Assembly I was given only the English - but not the Russian - text of President Putin's speech. That English text was a horrendous translation, stuffed with lexical and grammatical errors. What was I to do? Read that out? And do an enormous disservice to all those in the hall? I decided to drop the hopeless text and did the speech by listening carefully and rendering it into grammatical, literate and idiomatic English.

- Самый поучительный случай в практике.

- When I was just beginning my career as an interpreter, back in the 1970s, I was working at a conference of Russian and American women. The American delegate, a radical feminist, announced that in her country there had been great progress: women were now allowed to work at construction sites, in mines, operate heavy machinery, etc. The Russian delegate immediately responded that there must have been a mistake in the interpretation, for in her country there had also been great progress: such heavy work by women had just been prohibited by law. Two very different definitions of progress!

- Книги, к которым Вы чаще всего обращаетесь

- I don't believe in "nastol'nye knigi." One never has enough time to read all the interesting books and posobiia which would make one a better interpreter - and a better human being. I do, however, think that every interpreter should have a solid background in the classics of world literature - Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Dante, Goethe, Flaubert, Balzac, the Greek and Roman classics, and, of course, the Bible, which is the basis of Judeo-Christian civilization and which should be required reading for all interpreters and translators.

- Пять словарей, которые у Вас всегда под рукой.

a) The OED (Oxford English Dictionary)

b) Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary

c) BTC (Bol'shoi Tolkovyi Slovar' Russkogo Iazyka (Sankt Peterburg: Norint, 1998)

d) The Russian-English/English-Russian Oxford Dictionary

e) Larousse Dictionnaire General Anglais-Francais/Francais-Anglais

- Ваши пожелания молодым коллегам

- I hope you realize - and enjoy - the fact that being an interpreter is a life-long learning experience which doesn't end when you finish your schooling - it only starts then.

I hope you keep an open mind, an open heart, and keep asking questions. What does this word or expression really mean? How do we say this in my culture? What does it mean and how is it expressed in another culture? I hope you keep constantly reading in all of your working languages. I hope you keep up with current events, news, new discoveries in science and technology, new developments in the arts, new trends in literature. I hope you are continually in contact with native speakers of all your working languages.

I hope you travel to the countries where your working languages are spoken, I hope you enjoy helping people communicate and understand each other, and that this is as important to you as the material rewards of this profession. I hope you share your experience and pass it on to others, so that more and more talented people join this profession.

I hope you always have as much fun as I'm having, and that you never lose a sense of humor!

* Имя Линн Виссон хорошо известно всем, кто интересуется английским языком и вопросами межкультурной коммуникации. Американка, родители которой в начале XX века эмигрировали в США из России, и к тому же жена российского эмигранта, Линн прекрасно разбирается в российской культуре. И не только благодаря своим семейным связям, но и профессионально: ее докторская диссертация, защищенная в Гарварде, была посвящена творчеству Есенина, после чего Линн преподавала русский язык в Колумбийском и других университетах. Много лет она работает в должности главного синхрониста-переводчика ООН.

А в свободное время Линн пишет книги - разные, но так или иначе связанные с русской культурой. Например "200 блюд русского зарубежья" - это кулинарная книга, включающая рецепты старой русской кухни, которыми с ней делились именитые российские эмигрантки. А "Женатые незнакомцы" - о русско-американских браках. Есть у нее и учебное пособие "Синхронный перевод с английского на русский".

Полный текст статьи: LingvoDa

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