We’ve asked Patrick Rieckmann, one of our most reliable and long-standing translators, for his thoughts on some of the most discussed translation topics. Here is what he told us:

  • How did you start working as a translator?

My first paid translations started coming in after taking my first DPSI, for the language pair English and German in Glasgow in 2006 (before that I mainly worked as an interpreter).

  • Which CAT tools do you normally use when translating?

I use Wordfast Pro and MemSource.

  • Have recent technological advancements affected your work as a translator? What do you think about machine translation?

Back in the day i.e. about 12 years ago, I used to grab a pen and paper and write down my translations manually. The internet, my laptop and CAT tools have sped this process up a lot and the quality of my translations has benefited from these technical advancements as well. Machine translation? Never done it but my friends say it’s handy as it’s extremely quick and it provides a rough idea of the source text. As long as we’re aware of machine translation’s shortcomings (poor quality, etc.) it can actually be helpful.

  • What do you enjoy the most about your job? Is there any aspect of your work that you do not enjoy?

The aspect I love most is the freedom and independence of being my own boss. What I detest is deadline pressure, but then I guess I can’t get one without the other…

  • What kinds of material do you love translating?

Since my specialisations are social sciences and law I love translating anything within the range of these areas which include history, politics, geography, news articles, etc.

  • Can you tell us about any particularly challenging translation jobs you’ve done?

Once I translated a 30-page document on the different ranks within the organisational hierarchy of fire fighters from Hungarian into German. I ended up visiting a nearby fire brigade to get first-hand advice.

  • Do you have any advice for newly qualified translators?

Don’t give up! The road ahead of you can be a long and rocky one. It might take you several years until you get into the position of being able to make a living out of translating. But it’s definitely worth it so go for it.

We know how busy Patrick is and really appreciate his taking the time to answer our questions. Many thanks Patrick, and keep up the great work!