The Collaborative Edge: Mutual Revision as a Way to Improve Translations – and Translators

Good enough.” That was how Simon Berrill and Victoria Patience rated their translation work two years ago. Like many mid-career translators, we were in a rut: we wanted to improve the quality of our texts but knew that getting every translation professionally edited might not be practical or appropriate for all clients.

We decided to try a different approach and set up a mutual revision and critiquing arrangement with a third translator, Tim Gutteridge. Our online exchanges had a much broader impact than we had expected, helping us to improve not just specific texts but our translation technique in general and becoming an unexpected source of professional support.

In this talk, we explain how what we call “RevClub” works, examine the benefits of a collaborative approach to improving translations and show how this differs from standard editorial or academic revision. By arguing that giving and getting supportive criticism is vital to our professional growth as translators, we hope to inspire others to turn to their colleagues and explore active community-based approaches to CPD.

Victoria’s obsession with Latin America began on her first day of primary school in Hong Kong, when her mum’s car broke down and a Colombian classmate’s family drove her home, speaking Spanish all the way. She never forgot her decision to learn the language herself, which eventually led her to a BA in Hispanic Studies at King’s College, London. After travelling extensively in Mexico and South America, she put down roots in Argentina in 2000.

She spent several years writing about her adopted home for different guidebook companies but ultimately found translation to be a better way of bridging two cultures. She has now been a freelance Spanish to English translator and editor for 12 years and is a certified member of the American Translators Association and a member of Mediterranean Editors and Translators. When not working on publications on the environment, development and economics for international organizations and university researchers, Victoria can be found chasing her chickens out of her vegetable garden and trying not to stand on her children’s Lego.

Victoria will be presenting with Simon Berrill.