Interview with Louis-Benoit, Translator from English and Spanish to French:
First things first, we would love to learn more about you: why and when did you decide to become a translator/interpreter? Where did the idea come from, and have you ever considered doing anything else?
During my studies I have always been giving a lot importance to grammar, rules of citation and style guidelines, proper translation of specific terms, and best ways to develop ideas in my essays. I might was focusing a little too much on it…I’m not sure I always had much better marks because this part of my essays were really faultless.
6 months ago, after a semester in a Master program of Urban Planning I realised the job I already had in translation was definitely the best fit to my personality and abilities. So I decided to get a professional accreditation and really make my living with my passion for languages.
How different is being a translator/interpreter from what you had expected?
I had no idea CAT tools were so important in the translation industry.
What is, according to you, the best way to learn a foreign language? How did you learn your languages?
I think doing an immersion is something very important to learn a foreign language. This is what I did to learn Spanish when I was a teen. I stayed 6 months in Costa Rica, living with a local family who didn’t speak a word at all of English or French. Only after 2 months, I was feeling very comfortable speaking Spanish but, I knew I was still making a lot of mistakes. So, I realised I also needed to be a little more serious in my books to keep improving this new language. From this moment I studied vocabulary, grammar and verbs for at least 1 hour per day during the last 4 months, and in the last weeks of my trip people were sometimes asking me if I was Mexican or Argentine. I was really taking this as a compliment.
For English, it’s been totally different since Canada is a bilingual country and a city like Montreal remains hometown of an important Anglophone community. Plus, I was only 10 when I started to learn English at school and I always evolved in an environment where English was accessible, if not, the default language for some cartoons, series, movies, magazine, books, etc. So, for anyone who’s interested to learn it, this can be pretty easy in Quebec. But again, I guess it’s more by time spent in ROC or in the United States and by studying by my own that I successfully improved my level of English.
What are the challenges of being a translator/interpreter? What are the perks?
The biggest challenge I face is probably when I have to do adaptation into a text I’m translating and make sure, for example, the slogan really has the same resonance for readers of the target language. Dealing regularly with tight deadlines and being able to manage your time consequently can also be a serious challenge.
Otherwise, the main perks I see are to have the freedom of working from almost anywhere in the world (when you work as a freelance translator) and having the opportunity to manage your own schedule. In addition, while translating you’re always learning something new on various subjects and you’re getting paid for it!
Thank you very much!