what I learned from studying English translations

A couple of months ago, I graduated from university (finally!) and I now, officially, have a degree in English translations. As today is the first day of September, the week almost everyone is going back to school, I thought it would be fun to look at the four main things I learned from studying English translations.

There is no set solution

Like with most things in life, you can’t solve everything the same way. Just when you think you have something figured out, and found the perfect translation, something else pops up and completely changes the way you look at things.

You’ll never again be able to watch movies with subtitles in your own language

You will just read the subtitles, and your brain will automatically start to think about all the different ways you would have done translated what the actors are saying. Not very relaxing.

There’s always more to learn

As a translator, and especially if you do less specific translations, you constantly learn about new things. Whether it’s manuals for a car, terms and conditions for a social media website, or how a certain product is made.

People will assume what you do is easy

These people have absolutely no experience translating anything, from whatever language. And they also have no clue how much work translators have to do. It’s a lot harder than it looks.



  1. 3 September 2020 / 2:26 pm

    I hear this is a pretty good way of learning another language. Great job.

  2. NaturalBeautyAndMakeup(Ana)
    3 September 2020 / 2:34 am

    I couldn’t agree more with you on this line- there’s always more to learn! Thoroughly enjoyed reading this post 😊

    • maartjevansandwijk
      3 September 2020 / 12:20 pm

      Thank you so much πŸ™‚

  3. Joanna
    2 September 2020 / 9:04 pm

    I remember the days when I used to download movies and then search for their subtitles online. The people who would write the translations were so highly valued on the torrent channels back then.

    • maartjevansandwijk
      3 September 2020 / 12:21 pm

      Haha, I remember those days as well! You usually needed the subtitles because the quality of the video was so bad! xD

  4. 2 September 2020 / 4:52 pm

    I have always wondered what translators think about this!

  5. 2 September 2020 / 10:23 am

    I love learning a new language and the translating part is always challenging. I use google translator but not perfect.

  6. Kiwi
    2 September 2020 / 9:58 am

    I cant wait until I am fluent in another language. We definitely need skill translators in the world.

  7. 2 September 2020 / 4:41 am

    I would never assume what yo do is easy! But i have to say, it is definitely an interesting degree! Congratulations on graduating too!

    • maartjevansandwijk
      3 September 2020 / 12:22 pm

      Thanks for saying that πŸ™‚ In the Netherlands, which is where I’m originally from, everyone learns English in school and so they straight away assume they can translate, simply because they know two languages…

  8. Jasmine Martin
    2 September 2020 / 4:15 am

    I never really thought about how you can translate things in different ways in subtitles, but then it reminded me of some of the subtitled movies I watched on Netflix where they switched up the words that were said in the text. I feel like translating could be overwhelming because you may start overanalyzing what is the best way to translate something so that it can be simpler and easier to understand.

  9. 2 September 2020 / 12:34 am

    Thanks for sharing what you learned!

  10. 1 September 2020 / 8:58 pm

    This is so interesting. I agree that listening while also using subtitles is not relaxing at all. Its incredible how much the brain works while learning a new language.

  11. 1 September 2020 / 7:15 pm

    Studying something you think you’re already familiar with is enlightening!

  12. Emily Fata
    1 September 2020 / 5:39 pm

    This was a super interesting read! I never considered these different aspects of the English language.

  13. 1 September 2020 / 5:37 pm

    After reading this, I don’t think I’d want to do subtitles for a living then hahaha.

  14. World In Eyes
    1 September 2020 / 5:08 pm

    This sounds quite useful and interesting one indeed..glad you shared this blog post with us…found it quite nice and good one…great work though..

  15. Chiache Ryl
    1 September 2020 / 3:48 pm

    I can totally relate to you! There is so many ways to translate a sentence/actions indeed.

  16. Rose Ann Sales
    1 September 2020 / 1:50 pm

    I don’t have an idea about your job either.. But I totally can relate with the last thing that you said. πŸ™‚

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