Keeping one eye on the horizon and the other on the screen!

Saying “yes” to translating a book!

The last couple of month have been very busy, which is the result of me accepting an offer to translate a book “Standing on the shoulders of giants” in 10 weeks (well knowing that I would be on holiday 2 of the weeks!).

The offer came out of the blue, but it was a golden opportunity to try something new and face a challenge. The topic in question was football (soccer)! Yes I know, I’m female and “women don’t know anything about football” men often say – in Denmark we even have an ad making fool of women’s lack of sport knowledge. Never the less, I accepted!


The first text I had to translate was a try-out-test approx. 2 pages long, to see whether the editor and publisher gave green light – the thing was that I was going to translate from Danish in English – that is from my first in my second language.

Green light

The green light was given and I was given 20 chapters + introduction, thanks and epilogue. All in all 90.000 words, which I had to translate before deadline.

Before accepting the challenge, some thoughts ran through my head – I was quite sure that I was going to make it before the deadline (finished 10 days before deadline) – but when it’s the first time for anything – one often starts to wonder, whether you do it well enough, as you don’t want to disappoint the employer and/or in this case the real author.

Preparing and gaining knowledge

Before starting out I had to be sure of all the English football terms – the Danish were in place (Am not married to a football fan for nothing)! As I proceeded with the translation I often ran into other topics, which has nothing to do with the actual sport – why I regularly researched and gained knowledge of other topics as well. It was not just English words, which I added to my “head” dictionary – I also ran across a lot of Danish adjectives, which I normally don’t use or only know the synonyms to.

We all learn as long as we live!


To keep track of source and target text I used a translation tool called Trados – Trados consists of several windows, which allowed me to see both source and target text at the same time – so I didn’t have to switch back and forth between texts or writing in the same document. Another good feature is that you can save terms to a database as you go and every time starting to write an already written (and saved in the database) word it pops up and you don’t have to retype for example football. You simply save time! Another good feature is that, when opening the text in Trados – the program divides the text into sequences and removes all layout. Meaning you get a great focus point and can keep track of, how far you have come.

After I finished a chapter, I saved the target text and recreated the layout (or Trados did), allowing me to see the whole text and layout. First then I started my proofreading, as I became a better view of the whole text.


After finishing each chapter they were send of to the editor, who then made sure that the English was comprehensible. If there was a problem the text was send back for revision. I was lucky to be working with a great editor, who was easy to communicate with.


Now 10 weeks later I look back at a busy period (as I was also having my regular job next to this), but I feel more confident and wiser, both on the topic and how to “attack” such a big project. All in all a good experience, which I any time again would accept. 

What you always have to remember, when translating such a big project, is to let your self have some time off  once in a while – otherwise you get something mixed up!


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