Translation is a profession, not merely a question of being good at foreign languages.
Extensive schooling in the mechanics of foreign languages and the study of how language is used provides a solid foundation for the art and science of translation. I have two Masters degrees: the first in French and European Institutions, from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and the second in Vocational Techniques for Career Linguists from the University of Kent, England. I am a member of the French professional translators’ corporation, the Société Française des Traducteurs (SFT), a symbol of my commitment to my profession.
To see my detailed personal profile, please visit the SFT site.
I have been a translation professional since 1991.
Since then, I have worked on an in-house and on a freelance basis for Canadian health insurance and financial security companies, gaining invaluable experience and knowledge of these sectors and of corporate operations. In more recent years, I have expanded my repertoire to include translation in other areas and am comfortable handling semi-technical texts as well as texts requiring editorial fluency.
I am British born and educated. I speak fluent English and French. Having lived in Quebec, Canada, for twelve years before making France my home in 2003, I have developed a tri-cultural understanding of life and work on both sides of the Atlantic.
It is impossible to translate well without understanding the original text. Translators spend a long time learning the specialized terminology and jargon of their clients’ business or activity. Even then, a large portion of a translator’s time is spent researching the subject background to ensure terminological precision.
The need for concise, clear communication, especially in English, the language of international trade and dialogue, is paramount. The translator must first understand the meaning of the text before crafting a fluent and articulate English version. The questions a translator raises can often help the author improve the original text.
Translators must have strong writing skills, delving into their writer’s toolbox in order to mimic the author’s voice, whether informative, chatty, academic, persuasive, etc. This allows the translator to step into the client’s shoes and achieve the ultimate goal: to make the translation invisible, having the reader believe it was written by an articulate native English speaker.
Who will be reading the translation? Where will they be reading it? On what kind of communication medium will they read it? Your translation must have the desired effect in the market or country where it is destined to be read. This requires adapting the language and expressions, style and tone of the translation to suit each context, country or continent.
A meticulous translator must engage with the client’s cause, ask questions and be curious. Translation cannot be carried out in a void. Each translation must be hand-crafted. Your documents will not be outsourced to a remote translator whom you cannot reach. Experience has shown me the need for the translator to become a member of the client’s team, creating a fast and direct channel of communication that reassures clients the translator has understood their expectations before, during and after the translation assignment.