Over the past few days, presumably like other members of SELTA (the Swedish-Emglish Translators' Association) I've received some email messages from the association's honorary secretary Peter Linton, drawing my attention to various events and requests. One of these was an advertisement for an exhibition of Swedish landscape paintings in Birmingham. Another was a reminder about the Swedish culture ministry's monthly newsletter, which is now circulated by email on a subscription list. The third item, however, was a message forwarded from GKLS, a translation recruitment agency in the U.K., seeking technical translators for "automotive texts" (apparently jargon for writing about cars).
While I can appreciate that some members may like to earn the odd krona by branching out into technical translation, it seems slightly odd that nearly all the requests of this kind which Peter has sent out relate not to literary translation - the focus and of our organization, and supposedly the reason for its existence - but to technical or non-literary commissions of this kind. The last one concerned a journalist's manuscript of a coffee table book about Japanese hot springs and open door baths, while the one before that was from a person in Sweden seeking translators for books about boats.
I'm not sure what the message is here: are SELTA members being given access to a database of clients in search of technical translators, and if so, what relation does this database have to the subject and practice of literary translation? It would be good to know, but so far Peter Linton hasn't offered an explanation. Perhaps he'd like to comment?