Ángel Domínguez Interview
Time to check in with another pro translator! This time we’re talking to a Spanish linguist about his career in translation, his love of technology.
Ángel Dominguez spent two years in college studying Computer Science, then left to pursue a degree in Graphic Design at the Almería School of Art.
After graduating, he worked as a designer, programmer and occasional translator at a software company, then left to found a design studio called Globulart with two former classmates. In 2008 Ángel started transitioning into the translation industry, and for the last 5 years translation has been his main occupation. His areas of specialization are marketing, software localization, journalism, music and design.
When or how did you realize that you would like to be a translator?
That’s hard to say for me. I guess I’ve always had it in me to some extent. For instance, back when I attended high school (this was in the early 90s, as much as it dates me), I loved graphic adventure video games (Space Quest, Monkey Island, Loom, etc.) and I enjoyed doing experiments manipulating the files with a hexadecimal editor to try and translate the texts of the game. And it was great to see it work.
As time went by, I was involved with translation here and there, first occasionally as part of my work as a designer and programmer, then as a volunteer translator for a TV news show called Democracy Now, and later in 2008, when necessity made me realize I could try to make a living out of my love for both the English and Spanish languages. That’s when began to understand what being a translator really meant. And now I often feel like the luckiest person in the world.
What is the best part of your job? What is the most challenging part?
One of my favorite things is seeing (or hearing) my translations on a TV commercial, an online video, a song, or an app used by hundreds of thousands of people. It gives your work a sense of reality and responsibility; you suddenly realize that other people have produced creative work with your text, and it’s equally humbling and pride-inducing.
I also enjoy the variety of the work that you have to deal with. You’re always learning, and as some fellow translator said on Twitter once, it’s great that, in part, you’re being paid for reading and learning about stuff. Of course, that can also be the most challenging part of our job, delving into a field where you don’t feel at home.
Are there any special requirements for or challenges associated with your language pair?
The first thing that comes to mind is the problem posed by the usually longer extension of Spanish texts, when compared to the English original. This is particularly relevant in software localization, especially for smartphones, where space is scarce. I’m often struggling over a single character to make a sentence fit.
Since you started working in translation what changes have you seen in the industry?
I’ve seen some big agencies grow and fail, CAT tools move from purchase to rental models, and the always-present threat of machine translation (let’s wait for true artificial intelligence before we fear for our jobs as translators). But, to me, the biggest disruption has been the mobile tech industry; now, billions of dollars in revenue are generated every year in the software sector alone, with tons and tons of content needing localization. This industry didn’t exist at all 6 or 7 years ago, which is nothing short of amazing.
What are a couple of tools/pages/references you find useful for translators?
Since I do lots of iOS software localization, I use the official Apple glossaries as my main reference. You can download them for several languages, and later convert them with tools like Xbench; you just have to be registered as a developer at Apple, but there’s no need to pay the yearly developer fee; you can even use your same Apple ID.
You can register as a developer here: https://developer.apple.com
The glossaries are accessible from this page: https://developer.apple.com/internationalization/
The official Apple website is also useful; it is available in many languages, so I often use this trick:
1. Search for the term I want to translate on the Apple website; for instance, if I need the translation for “push notification”, I use this search string on Google (minus the quotes): “push notification site:www.apple.com”
2. Open the search result that looks most promising, in this case http://www.apple.com/batteries/iphone.html
3. Change the URL, replacing .com with .es (for Spanish): http://www.apple.com/es/batteries/iphone.html
The Microsoft Language Portal is also very useful: https://www.microsoft.com/language/
Any funny translation stories you can share?
I always like to tell this silly story: When I started, I did court interpreting for a couple of months. When I arrived at the court for my first assignment, I read the official order of the day, and saw that the defendant I was assisting was called Innocent.
Thanks Ángel! You can find Ángel online at http://adominguez.info