I have a background in science and literature, so when I passed the Netflix subtitling text in 2017, I knew I had found my passion.
I’ve always thought that a good translation is like a good portrait, and the process of translating is very much an artistic one.
But subtitle translation encapsulates its own challenges and intractability. The translator must juggle several props in the air, and do her best to lose as little information as possible. With subtitles, this is compounded by space or character restrictions, and inevitably tradeoffs have to be made.
A good subtitler is above all a master alchemist, able to distil a sentence into its essence while idiomatically conveying all relevant information.
Regarding my work ethic, is very simple: errors are not OK.
As a society, we have become so accustomed to relying on technology and apps that we think this can be smoothly rolled out to translation and subtitling. In my experience, spell-checkers make the brain less vigilant. Instead, I carry out two reviews: one for general meaning and continuity and a second reading looking at each word in isolation so that no typos slip through.
I am also fully bilingual, so I am able to capture nuances in the source language and render idioms correctly.
I specialise in science and political documentaries, period pieces, and that most elusive of creatures—comedy translation. I have a knack for puns and rhymes and the niceties of English and Spanish grammar.
In short, my passion for translation is what shines through in my work.
This is how I solved a recent terminology, style, or linguistic challenge
On an episode of “Cocina2”, I had to translate a song containing the Spanish word “mocordo”. This is how I solved it:
Among the little elvers
They thought they’d found a tidbit
But then on looking closer
They found it was a blivit
When translating a documentary on Canarian architect César Manrique, I had to render an excerpt of a poem by Gloria Fuertes. This is it:
‘Imp’ rhymes with ‘chimp’,
always up to mischief.
Let’s continue our cartoon:
A round face like a full moon.
Like all other modern kids
he drinks cough drops with a fizz.
He likes wearing groovy clothes
and his jeans are full of holes.
He wears American tees
and a cap that’s made of tweed.
His shoes have cleats on the sole
for kicking the ball like a pro.
Always happy as a lark
‘cause he has got a lot of smarts.
Carries a book everywhere,
that’s why he has laughs to spare.
As a writer in my native language, this is how I would describe my style
Because of my science background, my style is succinct, precise and clear. I tend to avoid clichés, expletives and verbose structures.
My professional methodology for a standard translation project is
For episodic content, I have developed my own KNP and formality table that make it easier for subtitlers to maintain continuity even in large projects. As a QCer, I set people up to succeed, anticipating stumbling blocks like obscure cultural references or idioms in the English template that will result in mistranslations in the different target languages. This is also advantageous because it saves time to the subtitling team as whole, since the research only has to be done once, by the pivot language QCer, rather than by each of the translators.
|Language||Literary & Creative||Medical & Pharma||Subtitles|
|SPANISH > ENGLISH (US)||€0.06per word||€0.06per word||€0.06per word|
|ENGLISH > SPANISH (ES)||€0.06per word||€0.06per word||€0.06per word|
|FRENCH > SPANISH (ES)||€0.06per word||€0.06per word||€0.06per word|
|ITALIAN > SPANISH (ES)||€0.06per word||€0.06per word||€0.06per word|
|GERMAN > SPANISH (ES)||€0.06per word||€0.06per word||€0.06per word|
|ENGLISH > SPANISH (LA)||€0.06per word||€0.06per word||€0.06per word|