Languages have always fascinated me. My mother is French, her mother was Breton, my father was Italian, and I have family in the US and in Canada.
I graduated from ISIT, Institut Supérieur d’Interprétation et de Traduction de Paris and from the Sorbonne in 1981. My focus was on translation and languages (English, French, Italian, German) of course, but also on geopolitics and international trade.
I came to England in 1994 and after heading the French department in a translation and localisation agency for five years, I went freelance and eventually founded e-translation services ltd in 2003. Key to my success and growth as a translator is my own network of translation and localisation experts. I call them my favourite colleagues, and I am delighted that they agreed to feature on this page.
Currently living in Blackmore, Essex with her partner and two cats, Emmanuelle is a native French speaker. She loved English as soon as she started learning it and also studied Spanish.
She then fell in love with translation when she discovered it at university. “It’s like learning every day because you have to research your subject”.
When not translating, Emmanuelle enjoys horse riding, reading, walking and catching up with friends.
Then it’s back to work: investigating a new text, working to understand it, researching the terminology and the field; looking at various options to convey the meaning, looking closely at the French grammar, syntax and vocabulary.
Élisabeth Oldenhove (also known as Éli) lives by the beach in The Gambia with her partner Antoine (a scientist working on malaria). Her mother tongue is French and she is also proficient in English and Spanish. Éli became a translator because she likes ‘juggling’ with languages. Being a translator also satisfies Éli’s need to be constantly learning. She loves the flexibility and, of course, working with languages!
Éli holds a degree in French and Spanish literature with a specialisation in publishing and has previously taught both French and Spanish; as well as working as a technical translator in an aerospace company and as a publishing assistant.
Éli says she has no need for holidays, dream or otherwise, as she now lives on the ‘smiling coast’ of Africa in The Gambia! When it comes to relaxing Éli indulges in sport (any sport!) – rock climbing, running, swimming, walking, cycling, surfing.
Claude P Esmein
Now married with three adult children and living in Toulouse, Claude was born close to the Belgian border. This, Claude says, makes him a beer guy, not a wine guy.
Claude came to translation as a vocation through board games because he wanted to make them more accessible to a larger French speaking audience. One day one of the board games he had translated was converted to a computer game, and he had the opportunity to translate it. That was the first of many. That’s, he says, how he met Marie – through email – they were both part of a translation team for a mammoth game of more than a million words.
Before the board game epiphany, Claude had worked as a research fellow, editor and deputy editor in chief. He also spent seven years at the French MOD where his group’s role was to support ideas coming from all ranks of the armed forces, including allocating budget to make a prototype.
Now living in Cambridge, Lucie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from King’s College London. Since leaving university she has worked as an assistant project manager, a teaching assistant and a French tutor. It comes as no surprise that English is her mother tongue and that she is fluent in French… she is my daughter!
She is a remarkable copywriter and critic who loves the variety and the knowledge the work provides. She says “copywriting and revising came quite naturally to me; I have a keen eye for detail and a sensitivity for different styles of writing”.
Her dream holiday would be somewhere hot and full of culture like Istanbul.
Sonia became a translator because she loves writing.
Currently living in Hamilton, Ontario with her two boys and black labrador, Sonia has a Baccalauréat in translation from the Université de Montréal. She is also a Certified Translator and a Certified Terminologist with the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario.
For 14 years she worked for the Ford Motor Company of Canada as a Senior Reviser and Terminologist before opening her own translation agency.
When not working, Sonia spends time hiking, kayaking, swimming and practicing yoga.
German is Christiane’s mother tongue. Other languages she admits to include English as well as bits and pieces of French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch. She lives in Bochum, Germany with three dogs. Often joined by a fourth – fostered – dog!
Not surprisingly Christiane’s passion for translation emerged when she was a child. “I was 11 years old, jumping on my bed, singing and trying to understand and pronounce the English lyrics on that Beatles poster on the wall”. The rest, as they say, is history.
Christiane learned the ropes of the translation and software localisation business working for companies in Germany and the UK. She was the client buying translation services and got to know the other side of the business.
Working freelance now, she loves the freedom this gives her!
Since giving up the mattress jumping, Christiane has turned to more traditional ways to relax – long walks with her dogs, cooking, yoga and reading.
Kerstin Fricke became a translator out of frustration. Frustration with what she terms the “lousy German translation that really spoiled the experience of computer games”.
She wanted to make a difference and she does! Kerstin began working as a freelance translator in 2001 while she was studying computer science. Kerstin is a member of the VdÜ (Verband deutschsprachiger Übersetzer literarischer und wissenschaftlicher Werke e.V.).
Living in Berlin with her two cats, Kerstin’s worst nightmare is her computer crashing with a deadline looming. Her mother tongue is German. She also speaks English and some French.
At the age of 11, Hazel knew that she wanted to be a translator. Her mother tongue is English and she has fluency in both French and German. Hazel has a BA Hons in Translation and Interpreting.
Her response when asked what she enjoys about her work: “Everything! What’s not to like”!
Before turning to freelance work, Hazel worked as an office manager and project manager. Hazel uses Bokwa and Zumba to relax and also finds time to act as a mentor to translation students/newly qualified translators. At some point she wants to make her dream holiday real and take a rail trip around Europe.
She and her husband and their young son currently live in Raunds, Northamptonshire.
Silvia Varga Klement
Living in London with her husband and Shi-tzu called Muffy, Silvia’s mother tongue is Hungarian. Her other languages are Romanian and English. Silvia has worked as an English-Hungarian translator at Zone Vision and also worked freelance as a public service interpreter. She admits that English became her passion when she was 12 years old and that she turned to translation work to avoid being a teacher!
What Silvia enjoys most about being a translator is the constant learning – “you can never say that you know it all”. And when she’s not translating Silvia reads, takes long walks and writes short stories. She will admit, too, that her worst nightmare is losing her Internet connection when working!
Carolina Turrini became a translator because she loves speaking foreign languages and helping people communicate better with each other.
Living in West London, Carolina’s mother tongue is Italian. She also speaks English and Spanish.
With a university diploma in translation and interpreting, Carolina has worked as both an in-house translator and as a translation line manager. Job satisfaction for her is what Carolina describes as the ‘detective-like activity of understanding the source’ and then working to reproduce that understanding in context in the target language.
And when she needs a break, Carolina relaxes with dance, films, cooking , reading and chatting with friends.