Translation - A Lot More Than Words

"People often underestimate the work that goes into translation" explains Rhea, a CSIS translator. Words cannot be translated literally, since their meaning can only be properly determined from the context and sometimes the geographical origin of the writer. "Those in the know agree that in order to provide an accurate translation, linguists must have a high comprehension level of the languages they are working with and the social contexts" she adds. Patience, meticulous attention to details and the ability to work under pressure are three essential qualities to succeed in this profession.

Rhea’s love for words, languages and dictionaries has made her eager to expand her linguistic knowledge. Although this interest has always been present, it flourished when she was living abroad in Asia, Europe and South America. "I believe there is a difference between travelling and living abroad. When you live abroad you learn to more fully appreciate other viewpoints and cultural differences," she says. After raising a family and living overseas for 10 years, Rhea decided to focus on her career.

With a background in linguistics, literature and translation, she worked as a freelance translator at CSIS for five years before becoming an indeterminate employee. "Working as a freelance translator is not easy because the workload is unpredictable and it is difficult to make any financial commitments," she explains. Rhea has been a full-time translator, reviser and interpreter with CSIS’ Foreign Language Services for two years now."Our team reflects a wide range of different backgrounds and cultures. I feel that our work is valued and appreciated,"says Rhea. The Service encourages employees to learn new languages and several of them are currently enrolled in university courses. "I am currently learning a fourth language. The more languages you know, the easier it is to do your job," she notes. Through projects, translators also have the opportunity to learn about international affairs, while enriching their linguistic knowledge. "Working as a translator for CSIS, I really do learn something new everyday. If you like to follow current events and be part of an ever changing environment, this is the place to be," Rhea concludes.

<<The employees' names have been modified to protect the privacy of our employees>>.