This is part of a continuing a series of Proust questionnaires answered by members of the FLD Leadership Council. Eve Lindemuth Bodeux is serving her second two-year term as Administrator of the French Language Division. In the 1990s, she was editor of the FLD newsletter (when it was still printed on paper!). A French to English translator, she has been active in the translation industry for more than two decades. She specializes in high-level business documents, international development and digital marketing texts. She has authored many articles for industry professionals, clients and the business community as well as her book for language professionals, Maintaining Your Second Language. She can be reached at www.bodeuxinternational.com.
How did you get involved in translation?
When I moved to Colorado in the 1990s, I was looking for a job doing “something international.” I ended up getting invaluable industry experience working at two translation agencies before I went out on my own. I have a background in both multilingual project management and French to English translation as well as two master’s degrees—from both an American university and a French one. I have been a member of the American Translators Association for almost 20 years and the organization has been a wonderful resource for me as the industry and my own business have evolved over the years.
What subject areas do you translate?
I translate corporate marketing content, business documents and many RFPs. I also translate international development documents for NGOs active in francophone countries. In recent years, leveraging my experience with my own bilingual children, I have also translated several children’s books that have been published.
What job would you do if you weren’t a translator?
I have heard the saying that, “no one ever wants to be the backup singer.” I understand that this means that people usually want to be in the lead, not in the background, but, taking it more literally, I want to say that, as a life-long alto, I always thought it would be fabulous to be a professional backup singer. It would be less stressful than being the star, but still lots of fun. A few years ago, I saw Johnny Hallyday in concert in Los Angeles and he had a powerful group of backup singers, so that confirmed that this would definitely be my “dream” job in an alternate universe.
What is your greatest strength as a translator?
My family and educational backgrounds have provided me with in-depth cultural knowledge that is often the key to understanding the meaning of original French texts. I build on that by reading a lot in French, watching French movies, keeping up with French news, staying active with the French community where I live, and visiting France often. In addition to strong source and target language skills, cultural knowledge is imperative for accuracy in translation.
Tell us about a particularly interesting project you have worked on.
A few years ago, I translated several seasons of a French-language TV series about women giving birth in different parts of the world. It was fascinating to learn about the conditions under which women give birth in different places and how this rite of passage is viewed by cultures around the globe.
Where would you most like to live?
I have lived in Colorado for over 20 years and adore this state, my town and my own neighborhood. I love traveling and meeting new people and exploring new places, but I am proud to call Colorado home.
Do you have a favorite French or English book?
I like reading memoirs as well as, unsurprisingly, books about France. Two in English that can be read as a pair that I come back to over the years are My Life in France by Julia Child and Clémentine in the Kitchen by Samuel Chamberlain. Child’s book focuses on immediate post-war France while Chamberlain’s book focuses on pre-WWII France, and they both lovingly discuss food.
I picked up one of my go-to French-language books at a museum outside Paris. It’s entitled Femmes du XVIIe siècle : en verve and is a compilation of quotes from women in the 17th century on various topics such as friendship, beauty, loyalty, happiness, jealousy and others. You’d be surprised at how modern their ideas were.
Tell us something surprising about yourself.
I was born and raised in Alaska and am one of seven siblings. As I mentioned, I do love Colorado, but you can’t take the Alaska out of the girl and I go back often to visit.
If you could translate anything in the world, what would it be and why?
I have to decline to answer this directly because I like translating a range of content and think that the variety of topics we are offered is part of the magic of what we do. It is also part of what makes translation intellectually stimulating. My answer, then, is that I’d like to continue to receive interesting and varied projects.
What is your greatest achievement?
I don’t know if it is my greatest achievement, but I am proud of having released my book Maintaining Your Second Language in 2016. It was a labor of love and it thrills me to be able to share my ideas on language learning and retention with others who are passionate about language.