Never Stop Studying

Simply put, language learning is a lifelong process. I never claim perfection, but I do strive for it. This requires regular and extensive reading in all of my working languages, including English, as well as ongoing contact with native speakers. It’s a time-consuming proposition, but I’ve never found anything I enjoy more.

Translate Only into English

With enough background research, decades of exposure to the language, and if necessary, consultation with native speakers on any questionable points, it is indeed possible to fully comprehend the meaning of the source text. Just as important, however, is the native speaker’s ability to express the meaning of the original in smooth, natural-sounding prose, as though the text had been written in English in the first place. This is why I translate only into English.

Be Versatile

I have found that my living outside the US for 12 years and learning multiple languages has yielded unexpected benefits. Access to the vast variety of reference materials, dictionaries, glossaries, and websites available in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, and French has proven to be invaluable—I often find exactly the term I need for a Chinese-English translation in a Japanese or German source, for example. And the variety that comes from dealing with five different worlds on a regular basis keeps the work fresh and interesting.

Make Background Research a Priority

I specialize in the areas of medicine, the biosciences, and chemistry because I have always loved science, particularly medical science. I make it a point to spend as much time researching the subject matter as I do translating the text—medicine in particular changes continually. Fortunately, the Internet has made it possible to verify every technical term used in translation to ensure that it would also be used by a native-speaking professional in the field.

Complete All the Work Yourself

Because I translate from five languages into English, I am sometimes asked whether I am an agency or an independent contractor. I am definitely the latter–I do all of my work myself, and although I do ask native-speaking colleagues for clarification on occasion, I never subcontract my work out.