Interview with an Urdu Translator: Sohail Moghal

Name: Sohail Moghal

Location: Pakistan

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

The main language I work with is Urdu, my native language and the national language of Pakistan and also widely spoken and understood in India and globally. I also work in three other provincial languages: Punjabi, Sindhi and Saraiki. Since I was educated both in English and Urdu, I have near-native proficiency in English also.

The biggest intricacy/challenge of my languages is that they are all RTL (right-to-left) ones.   

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

Its easy! Since my languages are RTL, I do not feel any difficulty in balancing them. There is one thing I must mention: Sindhi, one of my languages, has an entirely different set of alphabets, so I can only speak and understand it, but I cannot write it. For your benefit, here are my language pairs: 1) ENG<>URDU (both ways) 2) SINDHI>ENG (one way) 3) SARAIKI>ENG (one way) 4) ENG<>PUNJABI (both ways).

What are some of your most interesting projects? Why?

My most interesting projects are those when I’m asked not to do just ‘translation’ but they want me to do ‘transcreation’ which is a mixture of translation and creative writing. Obviously, they test my language skills to the core and are very highly paid too. For that I love such projects.

What is the best part about being a translator? What do you love about it?

The best part, as I feel, is keeping constantly in touch with your native language/s as well as the feeling that I’m contributing in their global development.

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

I knew I was a good translator when I was finishing my school; I had an innate ability of English and Urdu as compared to my other class-fellows. So, when I decided to leave my permanent job as a Community Development Executive in a renowned organization, I immediately decided to make freelance translation as my full-time profession.

What is the most difficult part about your job?

For me it’s the most difficult when several of my valued clients simultaneously ask my availability for their projects. It sometimes becomes too hard to manage 🙂

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

“ Life is just a dream, a dream that we live not just watch ”

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