French Translator Spotlight – January 2019

Meet the people who make us successful.

Here at Rapport International we believe that our greatest assets, what makes us stand out from the rest, are our professional translators and interpreters. They are the best in the business, and we’d like to share their stories. This month we are spotlighting GS (name withheld for privacy), a translator, who has been with Rapport International for over 10 years. In GS’s own words:

Besides English, what languages do you speak and/or translate?

I translate from and into French. I speak Spanish and have what I call "restaurant" Swedish, but they are not my working languages.

What is your background and story (where are you from, if you were not born in the US when did you come to the US if you did; how did you come to speak more than one language, etc.)?

I was born in Paris to a French Mom and American Dad, so I’ve been speaking both since early childhood. I attended American and bilingual schools as a kid, and then switched to a French high school. I also spent summers and a school year in New York growing up. I pursued university studies in both Paris (Sorbonne) and at New York University.

What country do you live in now?

I live in England!

Why did you become a translator?

My Dad is a writer, and I’ve always loved playing with language. After studying French literature and then completing an MA in American Literature at the Sorbonne, I also got into naturopathy and homebirth midwifery, and discovered the fun of interpreting for yoga and meditation retreats as a volunteer. With a growing family and gipsy genes, translation felt like a way of bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together - my interests, my background, and my lifestyle. I've also always been quite independent, and prefer working on my own, not to mention being available for my children. I love that this profession has allowed me to pick up and move to different countries - my work follows me.

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How did you become qualified as a translator (Training and experience)?

After studying French and English language and literature at the Sorbonne, I took a professional translation certification at New York University, specializing in medical, business, and literary translation.

What joys do you get from your work?

Developing friendly professional relationships with project managers I may never meet in person is really lovely! I love the idea that we form a virtual team across oceans and continents – PMs, translators, editors. And of course, there’s that special sense of accomplishment and relief that comes when you deliver a massive project after chinking away at it for days, sometimes weeks, or the kick of satisfaction when you find just the right turn of phrase or come across a new technical expression and crack it... which can lead me down some fascinating research avenues and linguistic rabbit holes! I never stop learning; the broad range of topics I get to work on means I never get bored.

What advice would you give to a company looking to have their first translation done?

Look for specialists and native speakers who also have relevant diplomas and experience. Be kind and professional with linguists and PMs, if you expect the same in return. Don’t cut corners – cheaper rates will get you cheaper copy. And a crucial one: being a translator requires more than just being fluent in another language. It requires training, specialized tools, and professional qualifications, a love of language and ease of expression, a deep knowledge of context, tone, history, culture... These require time – dropping a massive translation project on an agency at 5PM on a Friday and expecting it to be done by 9AM on Monday for a bargain price is not only unrealistic, but disrespectful. We love what we do, but we also have family lives and bills to pay.

What do you do outside of work?

I get tremendous joy from music and am very involved in the independent music scene, having curated gigs with international artists in Sweden, Paris, and the English Cotswolds, and am also part of a growing co-creative collective of artists called P-E-O-P-L-E, based between Berlin and Eaux Claires, WI. I've been practicing yoga and meditation for 25 years, and I’m using that backdrop to compile a series of conversations with artists for a book on creativity. I’m also writing an experimental novel. Finally, I’m really finding it fascinating and fun watching my three sons grow into fine young men!

Do you have any favorite memories or things you want to share from your culture or history?

Having lived in Paris, Manhattan, Charlottesville, Sweden, a tiny village in the British Cotswolds, and now Bristol, I have come to weave in aspects from all these cultures and lifestyles into my own tapestry - the more you move, the more you integrate what you treasure. Baking cardamom rolls in England, the perfect brioche in C-ville, or celebrating Thanksgiving in Paris are part of our family culture and a window into my past (and yes, I'm so French… it’s all about food!).

What other positive thoughts do you have about yourself, other translators, your work, or Rapport International?

I was recommended to Rapport by a good translator friend and colleague and have enjoyed working with Linda for several years. Over a decade of professional translation, I’ve worked with huge international agencies, direct clients, NGOs, and every scenario in between. Each experience has been interesting, but for me, Rapport International hits the perfect balance between a professional agency with all the bells and whistles you’d expect in terms of translation standards and efficiency and staying grounded and personal. At a time when our industry is becoming so impersonal that one can wonder if there are actual human beings behind countless generic websites, it’s especially precious to cultivate humor and kinship across time zones and continents.

 

We hope you enjoyed reading GS’s story. Join us again to meet another one of our extraordinary professionals, the heart and soul of Rapport International.

Rapport International is a full-service translation and interpretation company.  We provide high-quality, professional translation services to clients all over the world. Quality in-person interpreting services are available in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska and surrounding areas, as well as in Massachusetts, and through New England.

Please contact us for assistance and guidance with your interpreting and translation needs.

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