ATTRAVERSO – COLUMN BY LETIZIA MERELLO (18)

Attraverso… a final evaluation. When a thought is stuck in my head I just have to get it out, even if it’s rather cliché: end of year, time to reflect. I began writing the Attraverso column from a perspective as if I was looking out of a window… now that exactly twelve months have passed, I instead like to imagine closing it, sitting in front of a crackling fireplace (or in reality, getting cosy right next to the heater in the living room) and thinking about what I saw and what, pulling aside the curtains, I showed you. A final taking stock, in my own way.

Image by Bookblock from Unsplash

This column was created with the aim of describing my typical work day, discussing one of the different tasks that compose it in each article. I thought less of my colleagues and other experts in the field, and more of those who are new to the world of translation. My hope, although not trivial, is to have given a simple, tangible perspective of what it means to be translators in everyday life.

One thing that I’m instead sure of is that personally interrogating my daily habits on a monthly basis in order to recount my work days has helped me see certain aspects of my profession more clearly, and above all my personality in relation to it.

An example? I had considered writing my real passion, but in the end I found myself flip-flopping back and forth between writing and translation without knowing which was on top! Perhaps because translation is a form of creativity with limits and rules to be respected, which makes it more stimulating in a certain sense, but at the same time safer than putting yourself out there, pen to paper. On the other hand, despite the fact that writing is always a leap into the void, I like the possibility of sharing information and points of view starting from my personal experience, even though I feel I have much more room to grow in this sense. As for revisions… it may be foolish, but I haven’t changed my mind about them.

To adopt a metaphor which fits well as we approach Christmas, the greatest gift I’ve taken from this column was discovering that the creative process, just like the translation process, is not solitary, as I have often experienced and imagined, but that it feeds on connections and discussion with others.

When it comes to translations, I like to collaborate with our social media manager Cristiana, who in addition to dealing with social media, newsletters, graphics and a thousand other things, helps me choose the content to have translated into English. And also with Sarah, who translated the articles of our blog, including mine, and who used her skills to transform the awkwardness of rereading my work into the pleasure of rediscovering myself in another language. And last but not least with Stefano, who volunteered to write along with me and filled our news section with his ideas and enthusiasm.

If I’m being ruthlessly honest, I doubt my articles have reached large numbers of clicks or dramatically increased conversion rates. No matter: I would be delighted to learn that someone reading my column thought, so that’s what translators actually do in their day-to-day work!“, but even more importantly, I am also infinitely grateful to Domenico for all the things I learned by diversifying my work, as he gave me the space and confidence to do it.

The Attraverso column ends here, a bit like a translation that I could still perfect and go over again and again even though it’s already correct, and should be delivered now. If you would like to read more of my work, you can find me here among these pages next year, have no fear! In the meantime, my wishes for the holidays is that you will be as lucky as I have been and find unexpected gifts where you were looking for others.

Cover image: me, drawn by Claudia Plescia.

English translation and adaptation by Sarah Schneider