I should say I wrote the following observations on my first visit to LBF a few years ago , when I was still a very much ’emergent’ translator. I am still not fully fledged actually, but having got to know the way things work, I feel more part of the incredibly supportive translator community, less terrified, more confident, but only marginally more successful! So the following was written from the outside, an anthropologist’s view as it were, but I think it might still strike a chord with those who feel new and bewildered by the whole experience!
LBF: anthropologist at large
Here in the translators’ enclosure the younger members of the tribe lurk anxiously.Greeting is usually preceded by a furtive glance at the name badge strategically placed on the left breast. They move around, talking first to one then the other, their eyes always on the alert for new contacts. From time to time publishers and the more experienced members of the tribe gather together in panels to throw them tips and precious nuggets of wisdom on which the juveniles feed voraciously. Within the translators’ enclosure it is remarkable that, unlike the general behaviour in the world outside , the more senior members of the species, worldwise and able to fend for themselves, are extremely generous and helpful to the less experienced juveniles. There seems to be little animosity amongst translators as a species and on the whole they appear to be a pleasantly garrulous and sociable tribe, perhaps because of long periods of enforced isolation at the wordface. Indeed, displays of camaraderie and affection can be witnessed that are rarely observed amongst the besuited corporates outside the enclosure.Fortunately perhaps it was not possible to gain any insight into their mating habits in this highly protected environment , although one tiny infant translator was spotted in the enclosure this year.
From time to time, some juveniles will venture out of the enclosure to try their luck hunting in the great jungle that is the LBF: the more meaty prizes will have already been gobbled up by the dominant males and females of the species, so to ensure survival they must press flesh, mark their territory with their business cards before they scuttle back to the safety of the TLC ( oops, LTC ) enclosure. Such forays are a necessary rite of passage, in preparation for the day when they will finally hunt down and secure the elusive contract for themselves. In a few days time, they will be released into the wild, left to fend for themselves with only a laptop for survival. It’s a jungle out there..
I enjoyed this article in Asymptote by Megan Bradshaw -a view from another angle!