Interview with a Farsi Translator: Sattar Langary

Sattar Langary

Maryland, USA

What languages do you work with?  What are some of the intricacies or challenges of the particular language you work with?

The languages I work with mostly are English, Dari, and Farsi. I also speak Urdu/Hindi and Pashto but I have not worked with these languages as much.

Both Farsi and Dari are Indo-Iranian and Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.

If you work with more than one language pair, how do you balance between different languages?

It is not very difficult to balance between different languages if a person is good at them. I personally think identity development along with speaking these languages is very important. Because  language is also part of culture and by balancing between languages, I also have to adapt to the culture of the language I am speaking.

What are some of your most interesting projects? Why?

I love translating news reports, opinion pieces, stories, and books. They are both challenging and educating.

How did you know you were “ready” to be a translator?

I learned that I was a good translator because I did my higher education in my own native languages of Farsi and Dari. I also got my MA in English language. Both these languages gave me an ability to be a good translator of both colloquial languages as well as academic pieces.

What is the most difficult part about your job?

The most difficult part is the timing when my clients want certain pieces to be translated at a specific time. It is difficult, challenging, and meanwhile fun!

Can you translate a sentence for us? Your favorite quote? Your favorite word?

Culturally, “I love you” is translated two ways in Farsi and in Dari. If translated as  ????? ?? it means ‘I love you’ but we can only use it for the significant other –boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, and/or wife. However it is not used for ‘loving’ mothers, fathers, children…etc Instead, in Farsi, and in Dari we use ????? ????. This still means ‘I love you’. We can still use ????? ???? for boyfriend/girlfriend, or husband and wife. Both ???  and ????? mean love and they are beautiful words I think 😉