10 questions for translators

Over at Cibliste, colleague Sadie Scapillato recently posted “Ten questions for translators” in effort to learn more about her fellow linguists. What a great idea! She also posted her answers to the questions. Here are the questions and my own answers:

1. Four-parter: Where do you live? What are your language pairs? How did you learn those languages? What types of documents do you translate? I’m originally British but I live in Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, and have done so for 19 of the past 23 years. My language pairs are French to English and occasionally Reunion Creole to English. I learnt French at school and university and then really became fluent after moving to Reunion. I picked up Reunion Creole while living here. I mainly translate general business documents, but I also specialise in shipping and logistics, and anything to do with Reunion and the SW Indian Ocean islands.

1852 Levasseur Map of the Reunion or the Ile. ...

1852 Map of Reunion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Do you do other language-related work? I sometimes do proofreading work, and I occasionally interpret.

3. What do you like most about translating? least? I enjoy knowing that my work helps people of different languages and cultures to communicate and understand each other. But I don’t always like the unreliable aspect of freelance work (not knowing where your next job will come from and whether you’ll get paid on time!).

4. What are your future dreams or goals, professionally speaking? I think the goal of producing good translations and having satisfied clients goes without saying. I want and need to continue learning (both in translation and business), and I’d also like to become a sworn translator within the next year or two. I’d like to see my name in print one day, but not necessarily as a literary translator.

5. What do you think: do all translators need to specialize? It helps, but it’s not always necessary for all translators. To take an example from another profession: some doctors are specialised, but we also need general practitioners too.

6. What is your #1 tip for new translators? Be confident about yourself and your abilities (but know how to accept criticism).

7. What is a translation-related lesson you’ve learned on the jobDon’t be afraid to say no.

8. What book(s) are you reading right now? Because I live in my source language country and already have a lot of exposure to French I try to make sure I read at least two books in English for every book I read in French. Right now I’m reading a collection of short stories by O. Henry. I like international literature, and recently I amused myself by compiling a list of books I’ve read from different countries around the world.

9. Do you have a blog or other online presence where we can learn more about you? Any favourite links or tips to share? My blog about language and translation is A Smart Translator’s Reunion and I’m also on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Tip: I would definitely encourage linguists to use social media. You may or may not find work that way, but as – generally isolated – freelancers it’s important to know what’s happening in the (translation) world.

10. What’s one non-work-related tidbit your virtual colleagues might like to know about you? I’m an avid traveller (57 countries visited; see my travel blog at http://travelssmart.blogspot.com) and passionate about scuba-diving (I’ve dived in 18 different countries)!

Scuba diving in Iceland - one hand on two tectonic plates (Eurasian and North American)

Scuba diving in Iceland – one hand each on the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates

For more answers to the questions see also:

  • English/French/Spanish into Dutch translator Herman Boel’s answers here;
  • English to French translator Patricia Barthélémy’s answers here (in French);
  • Brazilian translator and interpreter Marina Borges’s answers here;
  • French and Hungarian to English translator Carolyn Yohn answers are here.
  • For Dwain Richardson‘s answers see Sadie’s original post.
  • English/French to German and German/French to English translator Moira Johnson’s answers can be found here.

Feel free to leave your own answers to the questions in the comments below or at Sadie’s blog post.

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The ‘blogosphere’

Both my blogs (this one and my other one) are mentioned in an article in the current edition of Reunion Multimedia, a local bimonthly magazine about Information and communications technology (ICT).

 The article says:

“REUNIONESE BLOGOSPHERE

Smart Travels & A Smart Translator’s Reunion: two local blogs in English.

Originally from London, Catharine has lived in Reunion for 17 years [sic]. Realising that there was little information about Reunion island for non-French speakers, the freelance French to English translator started blogging. With the same idea in mind she also tweets at @NewsFromReunion. Her first blog, Smart Travels (http://travelssmart.blogspot.com) recounts her travels (mainly in Asia, where she live and travelled for three years) but also – especially – her walks and hikes in La Réunion. There’s also a lot of practical information for all those who want to visit or learn more about the island. Her second blog is called A Smart Translator’s Reunion (http:// asmarttranslatorsreunion.wordpress.com). As its name indicates, it is “Another language & translation blog (but probably the only one from Réunion Island).” On this blog she publishes her thoughts on this theme, her chosen field of expertise, but also writes articles about our island, especially Reunion Creole, and literature in English referring to Réunion.

A great way to publicize and promote the culture of Réunion to our fellow English speakers”.