What is it?
I see translating as transforming the phenomena of one culture into another culture, not just putting text from one language into another. Even if a microwave manual needs to be translated, you always have to remember the cultural context, where the new text has to start to work.
As accurate as possible, as freely as needed
A translator needs good people skills, and an ability to see things from the perspective of other people. Additionally, a capability to express himself in his mother tongue and in the languages he works with, he needs a large educational basis, but at the same time he has to be ready to learn new things in depth. Already Wittgenstein once said that superficial knowledge is the biggest sin nowadays.
I work with Estonian, Finnish and English language. Officially my mother tongue is Estonian, de facto it is Finnish. Iíve also studied Finnish in university for seven years and nowadays I live in Finland. My relationship with English started from elementary school and now it is my home language, since my spouse is Dutch and we speak mostly English to eachother.
Iíve been translating since 1997, both fictional literature and texts with practical value (such as technical reports, product descriptions, manuals, juridical verdicts, agreements and other documents). Iíve participated in different translation courses in university and in the Finnish Institute in Estonia. In 1998 I won the First price in a translation competition organised by TPY with translations of Raija Siekkinenís short stories.