Saturday, 13 October 2018

Runners and translators: Pushing on uphill together

It’s easier when you’re not alone.

This thought occurred to me as I was making my way up the hill to Hinton Blewett on this year’s Chew Valley 10k in the company of other runners. We were running up the hill slowly, with about 5k still ahead of us, panting and puffing – but full of determination!

There is a sense of connectedness when you’re in it together. Running alone usually helps clear my head during work breaks, yet I also enjoy and see many benefits in running in a group. Knowing you are not alone running uphill does push you on, so you will keep going.

Running up a hill is tough: it’s exhausting, and it can be painful! It takes a lot of mental determination and strength. But doing it with others means you can relate to one another. There is something powerful about that.


It’s rewarding to be connected with like-minded people and feel part of something bigger!

This sense of connectedness is typical not just of my runners’ world, but also of my translators’ community. Knowing, for example, I’m not alone in getting hot under the collar when confronted with ignorant comments about what machine translation (apparently) can do is such a relief.

Ignorant comments are typically made by people in the business world who don’t have much of a clue about how the mechanisms of language really work, its intricacies, its beauty. I therefore feel there cannot be enough blog posts, tweets or social media shares spreading the word about the absurdity of (most) machine translation.

Spreading the word about what good translation involves, what it is all about, can be tough and exhausting, even painful at times! But doing it with others creates a sense of community. It’ll push us translators on in our mission to explain to the public where the value of human translation lies.

There is something powerful about knowing you are not alone in an uphill battle. It’s rewarding to be connected with like-minded people and feel part of something bigger!