1) Introduce yourself: who are you, what do you do, and why is it important?
My name’s Victoria Patience. I’m a freelance Spanish-to-English translator and author’s editor, and am also a mother, reader, cook, runner, lapsed cargo-biker, and on-off vegetable grower. Professionally, I help Spanish-speaking government organizations, nonprofits and researchers communicate effectively with English-speaking audiences. Most of my translation and editing work focuses on development, human rights, and environmental issues. Translation is important because it opens up conversations and allows many more people to take part in them. Editing work helps people say what they mean more clearly so that they can be heard better. If there is to be any hope of our finding solutions to the global problems that affect all of humanity, albeit differently, we need to be able to talk to each other and understand each other despite the linguistic and cultural chasms that separate us. Good translations are an essential part in this.
2) What’s your most valuable skill?
Solving clients’ needs/requests/problems with a minimum of fuss.
3) Describe a tool, technique or practice that makes a difference to your work.
A collaborative working arrangement that I started with two colleagues I met online. We take it in turns to send each other short texts and give each other feedback and discuss interesting issues that come up. What started as a simple exercise to improve the quality of our translations has grown into an all-encompassing professional support network that I couldn’t do without. Through it I have learned that a sure sign of good collaboration is when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
4) What advice do you most need to hear?
You don’t need to say yes to everything. Think, breathe, and think again before accepting projects, responsibilities, deadlines — anything, really. It’s much easier to say no than to say yes and try to back out later (or wish you could).
5) Suggest a humorous or endearing question for question number five – and answer it.
This is neither humorous nor endearing but I’m your sister so I can flout your rules.
Question: Share a quote from a film, book or record that applies to your work (and hint at how it applies).
Answer: “A relationship, I think, is like a shark. It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark” (Woody Allen in Annie Hall). The final sentence is how I’d like to phrase the “it’s not you it’s me” emails to clients that you know you need to break up with but just haven’t quite done it.