I don't remember if I've talked about this before, but we've noticed a definite risk when translating dialogue is the natural temperament of translators. Translators tend to be on the more intellectual side, because everyone assumes it takes a lot of smarts to learn another language. (I'm not denying that it does, but since I don't know for sure.) But then they're translating regular high school kids talking, and we realized last night just how tricky it can be to talk less smart than you're used to talking. On the other hand, I don't feel like I talk that smart, so maybe I'm overthinking things.
The other thing is that we're thinking more and more that it's important for translators to live in a country that speaks their target language. I don't know what it is that makes us keep thinking about this stuff, though, because it's not like we're reading a whole lot of translations and thinking, "Wow, that doesn't sound like normal English." And if we are, I can't think of any right now, because I'm multitasking. But we do constantly critique subtitles of anime we're watching.
Anyway, what we've always noticed is that when you're constantly thinking in two different languages, you sometimes forget that something doesn't sound right in one of them. For example, in one of our Japanese classes, all the returned missionaries were talking about the crazy things they would write in letters home. One of them said he wrote in a letter, "How was your recovery interval?" In Japanese, that's how you would say it and it wouldn't be bad Japanese. In English...yeah.
That kind of thing can be overcome with practice and focus, but another thing is that language is constantly evolving. When we got called out on using the word awesome too many times, it was by somebody who hadn't been living in the States for years, and didn't realize that "awesome" had started to be used by more than just valley girls and surfer dudes.
And so we've also realized how important it is for us to watch TV. Alternatively, we could develop, like, a social life where we "talk" to "people," but the point is if we live in a cave and only play Japanese video games, we'll forget how real English-speaking people talk, and our translations will suffer. But alas, we have no time for television these days. Well, not this week anyway.
Today I'm thankful for the yummy cookies our Relief Society president gave us yesterday, finishing our rough draft today, TV characters we can get inspiration from, the cute little cat we saw playing across the street from the park where we had the Memorial Day party, and having had enough time to watch an episode of anime before we went to bed last night.