Interview with an English Translator: Kerry

French to English Translator

Name: Kerry

Born in: Halifax, West Yorkshire, UK. A beautiful part of the world to which I still have a sentimental attachment, even though we moved away when I was six.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh. Don’t tell anyone, but I failed my final year due to an excess of outside interests, and only just scraped the degree.

Lives in: Y Felinheli, a village half-way between Bangor and Caernarfon in the top left-hand corner of Wales, with the mountains of Snowdonia on one side and the Irish Sea on the other. Smug? No, not at all…

Languages: English and French. My school German has grown very rusty through disuse.

Areas of special expertise: I still have an interest in my degree subject, and though I grew a little disenchanted with AI through my studies computing remains the area where I have most specialist knowledge to offer. Ultimately though I translate whatever I’m sent: annual reports, tourist information, museum displays, marketing documents, industrial specifications, training materials, government documents et j’en passe.

Who are some clients you have worked for? Picking a few names more or less at random, Gefco, Groupe SEB, Société Générale, the French health, foreign affairs, environment and defence ministries, Accor, Arts et Métiers ParisTech, the Luxembourg City Film Festival, Alstom Transport, Renault Trucks, Peugeot-Citroën, Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

Favorite thing about being a translator: The freedom and independence of working at home, being your own boss, setting your own hours and being able to work from anywhere are pretty hard to beat.

Least favorite thing about being a translator: Staying focused with all the tempting distractions of the Internet at your fingertips can be tough… and staring at a screen on your own for hours on end is not necessarily a recipe for total fulfillment.

What I like to do in my spare time: I love music, both listening and playing, especially with other people. I currently play bass and percussion in two bands. I am also a fan of photography.

Most exciting thing I’ve ever done: For sheer emotional intensity, nothing can top being present at the birth of my daughters.

Favorite place in the world: I mentioned a soft spot for West Yorkshire, and particularly the town of Hebden Bridge, where my earliest memories are located. I also loved living in Edinburgh, and more recently the Snowdonia valley between Waunfawr and Beddgelert has imprinted itself on my heart.

Favorite words in the languages you speak: Hmm, that’s a tough one. How about some least favourite words? Off the top of my head, in French: transverse, métier, valoriser; in English: austerity, fracking, curated… plenty more where those came from.