"Joe Williams Translation - making the complex comprehensible"
Deep down, underneath it all, I’m a sensitive soul with a profound need to express and articulate my deepest desires and emotions. In parallel to being a freelance translator, I’m also a literary editor, journalist and avid reader of literature and poetry, in English, Portuguese and Spanish. I trained as a classical guitarist as a teenager and studied music for two years, a BTEC National Diploma in Music Practice.
I’ve been working in languages since 2012, when I graduated from a history BA and relocated to South Korea to work as an English teacher. After several other teaching jobs in Vietnam and the UK, as well as NGO work in Guatemala, I transitioned into translation in 2017. I started out as a project manager with Translators without Borders, before eventually deciding to focus exclusively on my freelance business. I graduated from an MA in translation studies in 2020.
Insatiably curious and a motivated learner, I’m most commonly found working on academic and non-fiction texts, especially social sciences and humanities. Clients include the University of Deusto and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, as well as several direct clients in various other academic institutions. I’m also confident at the more creative end of the translation spectrum and find corporate and marketing texts a delightful challenge, giving me chance to employ the more artistic techniques I’ve acquired via my literary background (literature is a passion of mine). In September 2022, I will apply my fascination for the role of literature in the construction of national identities in 20th century Europe to a PhD in history at the University of Coimbra.
I thrive in communicating ideas and concepts, constantly striving to find the right language to facilitate end-users’ comprehension of the text and deliver bespoke, artisanal translations.
What to expect
When you work with me you can expect a committed, passionate, energetic and driven translator, one who is communicative and responsive to individual clients’ specific needs. Get in touch with me via my website or email if there’s anything you’d like to discuss.
As a writer in my native language, this is how I would describe my style
I’m a pragmatist, who understands translation as a problem-solving activity. When solving linguistic and communicative problems (or challenges, as I prefer to call them), flexibility is vital; a translator must be sensitive to both the original author’s intention and the reader’s requirements, finding a way to mediate between the two parties. This requires a negotiated approach to produce a text which satisfies the end-user’s needs without compromising the original author’s intended meaning. As context is crucial here, there are no golden, essential rules for achieving this, beyond due diligence in reading and versatility in writing. Perhaps my writing style as a translator can be best illustrated by way of analogy, namely via Bruce Lee’s famous adage that Jeet Kune-Do was a “style without a style.” Be water, my friend, be water…
Joe’s work as a translator from Spanish and Portuguese is sublime, including with advanced literary texts. Joe really seeks to understand all the nuance of what he is translating, and he consults to find ideal solutions. I have a very high level of confidence in his ability and the choices he makes as a translator and recommend him unreservedly.