Quatorze ans d’industrie pharmaceutique plus tard, ou de l’anglais au créole

by Priscilla Tuernal-Vatran

Titulaire d’une Maîtrise de Langues Étrangères Appliquées (Anglais-Espagnol) obtenue à l’Université Paris Sorbonne (1982), complétée par un Master 2 LEA Management International des Assurances de l’Université Paris Nord obtenu en septembre 2015, j’ai longtemps été salariée. Il y a quatre ans, j’ai décidé de quitter la région parisienne pour me réinstaller dans mon île natale, la Martinique.

Nouveau virage professionnel : je quittais le confortable statut de salariée pour endosser l’habit de traductrice indépendante.

Le 1er février 2017, j’ai fêté mes trois ans d’entrepreneuriat. Je fais de cette expérience un bilan tout à fait positif.

Je traduis essentiellement de l’anglais vers le français, mais également de l’espagnol vers le français.

L’anglais a été le fil conducteur de ma carrière, je l’ai utilisé à tous les postes que j’ai occupés. J’ajoute que l’anglais me passionne depuis mon tout premier cours de 6ème, à l’âge de 10 ans.

J’ai connu plusieurs tournants dans ma carrière professionnelle. À 40 ans, je me suis retrouvée intérimaire pendant 8 mois dans une entité publique qui gérait sa fermeture. Une collègue proche de la retraite m’a conseillé de considérer l’industrie pharmaceutique et m’a surtout expliqué l’intérêt de cette industrie. J’ai suivi ses recommandations et c’est toujours en qualité d’intérimaire que j’ai accepté une mission dans ce secteur d’activité, pour le compte d’un laboratoire pharmaceutique. J’étais recrutée en tant qu’assistante pour seconder un chef de projet clinique dans la préparation d’un audit de la Food and Drug Administration (FDA), sur un centre en France, dans le cadre d’une étude clinique internationale multicentrique. Ce chef de projet a pris le temps de m’expliquer l’étude, et surtout de répondre patiemment à toutes mes questions, sur les essais cliniques en particulier, et sur la recherche clinique d’une manière générale. De mon côté, j’ai lu nombre d’articles sur ces sujets. Je découvrais un domaine d’activité que je ne soupçonnais absolument pas.

Au bout de trois mois, j’ai eu une proposition en CDI, en tant qu’assistante. J’avais un peu l’impression de recommencer ma carrière à zéro, mais j’ai joué le jeu. Je suis restée 10 ans dans ce laboratoire pharmaceutique, au département médical.

À la suite d’un plan social, je suis brièvement retournée à l’enseignement dans une structure associative, puis je suis revenue à l’industrie pharmaceutique, outsourcée au service Marketing d’un autre laboratoire, où j’ai passé un an.

En août 2010, j’ai été contactée par un cabinet de recrutement pour un poste à pourvoir dans une CRO (Contract Research Organisation, société sous-traitante de laboratoires pharmaceutiques pour la conduite d’essais cliniques). J’y ai passé 3 ans.

Lorsque j’ai quitté la région parisienne pour me réinstaller à la Martinique, mon projet professionnel était clair : être traductrice indépendante.

Dans le cadre de mon plan marketing pour la recherche de clients, j’étais inscrite sur le site de plusieurs agences de traduction, sans succès jusqu’au jour où un gestionnaire de prestataires situé à Barcelone m’a contactée. Il recherchait un traducteur d’anglais … en créole … connaissant la recherche clinique … J’ai été contactée par le biais de mon profil LinkedIn.

Le contexte de formation

Pratiquement toutes les études sur lesquelles j’ai travaillé étaient des études internationales. Dans un premier temps, j’ai démarré sur une étude portant sur la Maladie d’Alzheimer (MA). J’étais rattachée au Groupe Thérapeutique Système Nerveux Central. Ceci m’a permis de découvrir des pathologies telles que l’Accident Vasculaire Cérébral (AVC) ou le traumatisme crânien. Par la suite, je suis passée au Groupe Thérapeutique Métabolisme, Hémophilie et Diabète. Enfin, j’ai rejoint le Groupe Thérapeutique Anti-Infectieux et Maladies Tropicales, Dysfonction Érectile, Oncologie et HIV.

En tant qu’Assistante de Groupe Thérapeutique, j’étais chargée de la préparation des dossiers de soumission au Comité de Protection des Personnes (ou Comité d’Éthique). Ces dossiers regroupent les documents de démarrage d’une étude, à savoir Protocole, Résumé de l’Étude, Brochure de l’Investigateur, Formulaire d’Information et de Consentement Éclairé (FCE), Cahier d’Observation (dossier de suivi médical du patient tout au long de l’étude). Pour les études internationales, tous ces documents étaient rédigés en anglais et l’un de mes rôles consistait à faire la liaison avec les agences de traduction pour la traduction en français.

Une fois l’avis favorable du Comité de Protection des Personnes obtenu, il convenait de préparer 2 réunions de lancement de l’étude.

La 1ère, la Réunion Investigateurs, regroupait tous les investigateurs nationaux et internationaux ainsi que les infirmiers d’étude, toutes ces personnes étant chargées de la bonne conduite de l’étude dans les centres.

La 2nde réunion se déroulait avec le personnel interne au laboratoire et rassemblait l’équipe projet dédiée à une étude spécifique. Elle était animée par le Chef de Projet Clinique, responsable en interne de la conduite de l’essai.

Les documents de l’étude étaient soigneusement présentés au cours des deux réunions.

Ma formation

Tous les documents administratifs d’une étude me passaient entre les mains. Étant curieuse de nature, je prenais le temps de les étudier en version anglaise et française et c’est ainsi que, petit à petit, j’ai constitué mon glossaire de recherche clinique. Le poste d’Assistante de Chef de Projet Clinique m’a permis de maîtriser tous les documents de la recherche clinique, jusqu’au rapport de fin d’étude et aux publications et présentations de résultats, en passant par les déclarations d’événements indésirable graves (effets secondaires graves).

J’ai travaillé en particulier sur le Formulaire d’Information et de Consentement Éclairé. Ce document est fondamental pour le patient qui participe à un essai clinique. En effet, le médecin investigateur l’utilise pour expliquer au patient potentiel l’objet de l’étude et l’intérêt qu’elle peut présenter pour lui, tant sur le plan médical que pratique. Une fois le patient convaincu de l’utilité de l’étude pour lui-même, il signe le document et donne ainsi son consentement écrit pour rentrer dans l’étude.

La traduction de ce document est donc cruciale, même si elle l’est pour tout document à traduire. Il convient de fournir des informations précises au patient qui souffre d’une pathologie particulière. On doit lui indiquer combien de temps il sera traité, par quel type de produit expérimental, à quelle fréquence, à quels examens il sera soumis, quel est le rapport bénéfice-risque, quels effets indésirables il peut potentiellement développer, quelles précautions particulières il doit prendre.

De plus, la formulation doit s’adapter au public visé, en particulier pour les études portant sur des sujets enfants. Selon le cas, on tient compte de la maîtrise de la langue d’un enfant de moins de sept ans, d’un pré-adolescent ou d’un adolescent presque majeur.

Le 2ème type de document sur lequel j’ai longuement travaillé est le Contrat de Recherche Clinique. Je devais rédiger les contrats pour les prestations des intervenants, à savoir établissements de santé, médecins investigateurs, membres des comités scientifiques des études, et tous les contrats annexes avec associations de recherche médicale, et prestations spécifiques (laboratoires d’analyses biologiques, médecins spécialistes comme par ex. radiologues, anatomopathologistes, etc.). J’ai exercé cette fonction pendant 3 ans au sein du laboratoire puis encore 3 ans dans une CRO. C’est dans la CRO que le pont entre le contrat, la maîtrise de l’anglais et la traduction française a pris tout son sens. Tout d’abord, comme je travaillais pour la filiale française d’une société irlandaise, tous les contrats étaient bilingues, mon contrat de travail stipulait d’ailleurs que je devais fournir des tâches de traduction. Et très vite mon supérieur hiérarchique s’est appuyé sur moi pour la révision des contrats types.

Ce poste impliquait la maîtrise de plusieurs paramètres. D’abord la nécessité de tirer parti du Résumé de l’étude pour établir le contrat. En effet, ce document contient non seulement les obligations des parties selon le déroulé de l’étude, mais également l’annexe financière qui regroupe toutes les procédures et examens médicaux que subiront les patients.

Dans la CRO, je faisais partie d’une équipe dédiée pour un laboratoire américain. J’étais donc l’interface entre la cellule financière aux États-Unis et les établissements de santé. Plus d’une fois, j’ai dû décrocher le téléphone, négocier le dépassement de budget demandé par un établissement de santé et justifier les coûts poste par poste. Il fallait donc maîtriser le vocabulaire concerné car pas question de bégayer !

Les autres sources de formation, le réseau

Outre la formation acquise par mon expérience professionnelle, je dois souligner le rôle incontestable que joue internet avec, d’une part les dictionnaires en ligne, d’autre part toute la littérature médicale, les revues spécialisées, les registres d’essais cliniques français et étrangers, les sites internet des laboratoires, des associations médicales ou de patients pour se documenter sur des études similaires à celles pour lesquelles on traduit, les pathologies, les stratégies de traitement.

Ainsi, récemment j’ai été confrontée à la traduction de documents concernant l’allogreffe et les chimères homme-animal. Voilà deux sujets dont je n’avais jamais entendu parler. Mais à force de taper des mots-clés dans les moteurs de recherche, j’ai pu me renseigner sur le sujet et remettre une traduction aboutie.

En outre, les liens d’amitié que j’ai conservés avec plusieurs anciens collègues me permettent de contacter quelqu’un lorsque je ne suis plus sûre du terme consacré dans telle ou telle situation. Il suffit d’un courriel ou d’une interrogation sur Messenger pour avoir rapidement la réponse.

Enfin, mes amis et les membres de ma famille médecins et pharmaciens sont également de précieuses aides.

Le bilan

J’ai donc travaillé 14 ans en recherche clinique et depuis 2 ans maintenant, je suis prestataire d’une agence de traduction. Je traduis essentiellement 2 types de documents, les formulaires d’information et de consentement éclairé et les contrats de recherche clinique. Il m’arrive aussi de traduire des caractéristiques de produit, parfois des résumés de protocole pour certaines pathologies que je connais bien, ou de la documentation portant sur des dispositifs médicaux, lorsque je m’en sens capable. En revanche, je ne m’aventurerais pas à traiter une Brochure Investigateur ou un Protocole !

Je tire un bilan très satisfaisant de cette collaboration. En effet, je peux utiliser une compétence que je maîtrise. Traduire pour l’industrie pharmaceutique est en quelque sorte l’aboutissement de mes 14 années d’expérience professionnelle dans ce secteur d’activité. Cette collaboration m’apporte des demandes de prestation tous les jours, mais je ne suis pas tenue de répondre favorablement à toutes les demandes. Elle me permet aussi de réaliser 40% de mon chiffre d’affaires à l’international, hors de mes petites frontières locales. Pour diverses raisons, je limite mon chiffre d’affaires avec cette société et je n’ai pas accepté le contrat d’exclusivité qui m’a été proposé lors de la signature de mon contrat de prestation.

Ainsi, l’on peut traduire pour le domaine médical sans être médecin de formation. En revanche, je suis persuadée que l’expérience acquise en recherche clinique a été déterminante dans le fait que je traduis pour l’industrie pharmaceutique car, sans cette expérience, je n’aurais pas été contactée et de mon côté, je n’aurais sans doute pas pensé à cette niche.

Priscilla Tuernal-Vatran’s passion for the English language first, and then for other languages, has guided her career and helped her form unforgettable friendships. She can be found at http://www.traducteur-vatran-martinique.fr and https://www.linkedin.com/in/priscilla-tuernal-vatran-643439a.

Wait for Your Pitch—Growing Your Translation Business by Turning Down Work

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by Stephanie Strobel

At the 2017 ATA conference, I attended a great session on specialization and expanding into technical markets. Thank you Lebzy González, Nick Hartman, Karen Tkaczyk and Matthew Schlecht. The panelists pointed out that there is more than one way to become a technical translator. Perhaps you studied language and translation and landed a position with a technical company, or you trained yourself in technical language by reading lots of journals or, maybe, you had a technical background and you decided to trade in your calculator and apply your linguistic muscles to technical translation as a second career.

After you obtained your technical expertise by whatever appropriate means, the next step in becoming a specialist is to just do it. Just specialize. How do you decide what you want to translate? As recommended in the book Simple Abundance, one way to figure out what you want, is to make a list of what you don’t want. I have such a list—while I will accept work that may have some legal, some financial, some chemical, or some life sciences in it, I won’t agree to translate a hand-written medical record, a pharmaceutical patent or—god forbid—a financial report. That still leaves me with a wide array of subjects I am willing to translate: aerospace materials, aeronautics, cement making, aluminum smelting, automotive, medical devices, the list goes on. In fact, I’m still working on narrowing my specialization even more.

Back to the title of this article, yes, actually, turning down work helps you grow your business. There’s more than enough work to go around—billions of dollars annually. So wait for your pitch. Here, watch me: a client contacts me about a heavily chemical project. Will I spend my time killing myself, doing tremendous research on a tight deadline when I know that Karen Tkaczyk can certainly translate it better and faster without a hair out of place? Nope. I tell my client, “This isn’t within my area of expertise, but I can recommend a great translator for the job. Please keep me in mind for the next project.” With great thanks, the client rushes off to hire Karen. Of course, Karen nails it. And I get high marks from my client for being honest and resourceful. Plus, I’ve done Karen a favor which she may return in kind. The client does contact me later with a project that’s right in my sweet spot, and Karen does indeed refer a great client to me. Repeat the process with her and others and I get more work in my specialty—true story.

This brings me to the ATA divisions. What better place to find people to refer work to? As I mentioned, I don’t translate every technical subject. Furthermore, I translate only French into English. Not Italian, not Spanish, not Japanese and not German. This is where the connections made in ATA’s divisions are useful. I keep an eye on the questions and answers that come up on the email groups for the ATA SciTech division and for FLD and on the FLD and SciTech Facebook pages. That’s one way I get an idea of what people do and who is helpful. That information is useful when I need to make a referral outside my language pair or my expertise or for English to French inquiries.

Attending sessions at the ATA conference also increases my confidence in my division colleagues. Over the years, I’ve referred an Italian to English patent translation, a German to English environmental translation, a French to English financial translation, even an English to Portuguese software translation to professionals I’ve met at ATA conferences or through the email lists. That doesn’t even count the French to English technical translation work I’ve referred to others I met the same way.

By all means, feel free to take on a stretch project now and then. But just like in baseball, there’s a sweet spot in the strike zone; wait for your pitch and you’ll get a great hit.

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Stephanie Delozier Strobel is a Pennsylvania-based Mechanical Engineer turned French translator who studied French along with Engineering at Drexel University.

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Winner of the S. Edmund Berger announced

At the 58th ATA Conference held last month in Washington, D.C., Dr. Bruce Popp (pictured below) was awarded the S. Edmund Berger Prize for his translation of Henri Poincaré’s classic work Sur le problème des trois corps et les équations de dynamique, thus achieving one of his goals of making Poincaré’s classic accessible. Bruce himself gave us a glimpse into his process in a previous À Propos article here.

We are proud to have one of our very own FLD members receive the prestigious award and would like to congratulate Bruce on his hard work and success!


Photo by Lebzy Gonzalez

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The French Historical Present Tense

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by Bruce Popp

As professional French-into-English translators, we commonly encounter the French historical present tense in meeting minutes and reports of clinical cases written by doctors. In these documents, the writers use the present tense (and thereby avoid repeated use of the passé composé and imparfait) to describe events that occurred sometime earlier. To my mind this can seem like some kind of historical reenactment. “We are standing next to the village green in Lexington. On one side Capt. Parker is steadying his company of colonial militia and on the other the vanguard of the King’s Own 10th Regiment of Foot is marching into sight.”

We deal with the French historical present tense by translating it into a past tense in English. This reflects how the corresponding documents would be written in English by a US native speaker. “The patient, a 58-year-old female, was seen in the emergency department.” “The meeting was called to order and the minutes from the previous meeting approved.”

I recently encountered a couple examples where the people preparing the translations failed to recognize and correctly handle the French historical present. Let me start by explaining the context in which I encountered these errors and then showing them to you.

After translating one book by Poincaré and signing a publishing contract, I wanted to continue my relationship with Poincaré so I started to look at what to translate next. I decided to look at an article he wrote in 1905. An enormous amount has been written about this article comparing it to one published in the same year by Albert Einstein that became the recognized foundation for the theory of special relativity. (I’ve looked at some of these comparisons; they read like a description of a tennis match: Einstein said there’s no ether and Poincaré said the ether is undetectable, but the two statements amount to the same thing? 15-15.)

There are in fact three published translations of this article by Poincaré from 1905. So far I’ve only looked at two; I’ve been too cheap to pay for a copy of the third article. I quickly realized the both translations had a mistake in their translation of the first sentence.

The first sentence in Poincaré’s article is, “Il semble au premier abord que la lumière et les phénomènes optiques et électrique qui s’y rattachent vont nous fournir un moyen de déterminer le mouvement absolu de la Terre, ou plutôt son mouvement, non par rapport aux autres astres, mais par rapport à l’éther.”

In the translation by SW, this sentence reads “It seems at first that the aberration of light and related optical and electrical phenomena will provide us with a means of determining the absolute motion of the Earth, or rather its motion with respect to the ether, as opposed to its motion with respect to other celestial bodies.”

In the translation that appears in a book by CWK, the sentence reads “It would seem at first sight that the aberration of light and the optical and electrical effects related thereto should afford a means of determining the absolute motion of the earth, or rather its motion relative to the ether instead of relative to the other celestial bodies.”

The next two sentences (still written by Poincaré in the same tense) refer to two experiments respectively by Fresnel in the 1870s and Michelson in 1887 that tried to use “un moyen de déterminer” and produced conclusive, negative results. Therefore, historically Poincaré while writing in 1905 was describing an idea that might have been held in the late 1860s, but was no contradicted by experiment.

Despite this historical clue, the people providing these two translations failed to realize that Poincaré was using the historical present tense. I translated the sentence as, “On first consideration it seemed that the aberration of light and the optical phenomenon associated with it were going to provide us a means for determining the absolute movement of the Earth or more accurately its movement, not with respect to other stars, but with respect to the ether.”

Bruce D. Popp, Ph.D. is a French into English scientific and technical translator.

Review: Translate in…/On Traduit à Québec

by Jenn Mercer

This year’s Translate in Québec/On traduit à Québec was the 8th in a traveling series of FR<>EN translation workshops focused on craft. This series, which began as a small workshop in the Catskills, has since been held in such varied locations as Cambridge (U.K.) and Chantilly (France). This is only the second one I have been able to attend and, mostly coincidentally, both have been in Québec.

Before I get in to the benefits of attending the Translate In/On Traduit À workshop itself, I must confess that visiting Québec is one of my guilty pleasures. I love going to France, and the joys and advantages of full immersion are irreplaceable, but… there’s something to be said for the convenience and vocabulary-building exercise of having bilingual versions of everything everywhere.

Can you believe the hotel actually apologized for the construction? My fellow translators and I were delighted by all of the detailed architectural terminology—value added! Photo credit: Jenn Mercer

However, even for those who are not language geeks, Québec is lovely and Vieux Québec was well worth the many hikes I took down and then back up to the hotel. To put the altitude changes in perspective, there is a funicular at one point and many of the staircases are named to reflect their history, but also the fact that they are a durable part of the landscape.

Nevertheless, the point of the translation workshop was to learn more about the craft of translation and it did not disappoint. Each day started with bilingual sessions featuring quick tips: Allô Docteur Termino/The Word Doctor were led by pairs of translators including Ros Schwarz, Marc Lambert, François Lavallée, Lillian Clementi, David Warriner, and Marie-Christine Gingras. These sessions were brief, but packed in so many tips, it would be impossible to summarize them here. Even the reverse sessions provided valuable tips and I quickly stopped worrying about the translation direction.

For the first two of the three days, this was then followed by a Traduel/Translation Slam with the texts provided to attendees in advance. On the first day, this was in English to French and then the second day was French to English. Again, I found myself so caught up in the myriad of choices involved in meaning and expression that I feel I got as much out of the EN>FR as I did from the FR>EN slam. If I were to offer any criticism it would be that in most real-world situations, a client would be expecting a text that stayed closer to the source. However, the looser approach taken by the duelers made for an excellent conversation starter.

After these appetizers, we got into the main course of the workshop—the single direction translation sessions. If you have attended other sessions led by Grant Hamilton or Chris Durban at ATA or another conference, you will have an idea of their style, but all of these sessions were entirely new and well worth the journey.

Grant Hamilton presented on “The Writerly Translator,” in which we got to roll up our sleeves to improve our writing skills. This was a great cross-training exercise and fit well into a theme I noticed in the workshop overall. Many of the sessions were not so much about coming up with a list of terminology, but reshaping our brains in a similar way to how higher level math allows you to “see” equations.

Chris Durban’s presentations on “Reporters in the Crosshairs” and “Helping French Companies Control The(ir) Story” used different approaches to present the responsibilities of a translator and to get a better view into the expectations of some very different target markets. The presentation on French Companies in particular was an interesting example of how the different expectations in French and English business culture call for not just translation or even transcreation, but the creation of documents that may not have even existed in the source language.

Unfortunately, I was only able to attend one of Ros Schwarz’s two sessions, but it is hard to complain about having too many options. The session I did attend, “The Sound of Music,” concentrated on writing well—regardless of how mundane the subject may be. Schwarz encouraged us to both concentrate on the basics of grammar and to free our minds and let our innate creativity take hold.

Although I cannot report specifically on Ros Schwarz’s literary translation session with François Lavallée, I did attend a session with this same pair during a previous “Translate In/On Traduit À” event and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of having an experienced literary translator translating under the eyes of the author himself—no pressure! In fact, Lavallée was very easy to work with and provided valuable insight into his text, and the group work generated great discussion material.

This was the first time I had attended a session by David Warriner and I enjoyed the two sessions he presented and his contributions to the French>English Translation Slam. His first session was on “Premium Tips for Translating Insurance.” Warriner included both a structural overview of the translation market in Québec and the rest of Canada, as well as its repercussions on the terminology used. I found this fascinating, as I worked for years at a U.S. insurance company where everything is regulated per state. He provided a treasure trove of resources and did his very best to make insurance entertaining.

His second session, “Sailing Close to the Wind: Creativity Under Pressure,” used his experience with a very fast-paced racing event to show techniques for maintaining quality on a tight deadline. Rather than go into the minutiae of boating terminology, he emphasized the importance of knowing a field inside out before entering a premium market. His focus was on writing well when you do not have the luxury of sleeping on it or going through a thousand drafts. For a presentation based on knowing a lot about a niche industry, his tips were generally applicable and very useful to any translator.

Next, I decided to attend Lillian Clementi’s session on “Connective Tissue: Crafting More Readable Translations.” This is the one session where FR>EN translators had to make a decision on which session to attend. It is a testimony to how well-targeted these session are that this was incredibly difficult. Nonetheless, I enjoyed Clementi’s session, and translators I spoke to were happy with their choice regardless of whether they chose this or the literary translation session with Schwarz and Lavallée. Her session was on those little connecting words and the difference between how French and English use these words. It was a refreshing approach and I can see myself using the list of helpful words we developed quite often.

The last day of the workshop was structured a bit differently with a longer joint session instead of the quick tips and slam/traduel pattern. The best way to describe this might be to start with the names of the sessions in French and English:

  • FR: À contre-courant, pour des traductions encore plus idiomatiques
  • EN: Switch Hitting for More Idiomatic Solutions

Which of these titles is the original? Does it affect how you would approach their translation? In this session, Grant Hamilton and François Lavallée led us in tackling translations of difficult and highly idiomatic texts with one simple twist—our “source” text was actually a translation. After we wracked our brains, they would show us the actual source. I think we hit upon the actual phrase only once, which shows how many “correct” answers a translation dilemma can have. In all, it was the perfect grand finale to an inspiring workshop.

The theme running through all of these sessions was that of becoming a better translator, by seeing both of our languages in a new way, understanding our clients, and writing well in any language. This workshop is very different from the ATA conference. Because of this, I would hesitate to say whether one was better than the other, but I would say that every FR<>EN translator should try this at least once. You may very well get hooked.

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FLD Dinner in Washington, DC for ATA’s 58th Annual Conference – Sign Up Now!

FRENCH LANGUAGE DIVISION DINNER AT ATA’S 58TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE

The French Language Division’s dinner at the Washington, DC conference will be held at La Tomate Italian Bistro. We hope to see you there!

We expect this event to sell out. 

WHEN
Friday, October 27 at 7:00 p.m.

WHERE
La Tomate Italian Bistro
1701 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202)-667-5505
https://www.latomatebistro.com/

MENU

~ SALAD – you will choose one of the following: Mozzarella over Vegetable Caponata – OR-  House Salad

~ ENTRÉE – you will choose one of the following: Fusilli – OR – Pork – OR – Salmon

~ DESSERT – Tiramisu

Note: Drinks are not included.

PAYMENT AND RESERVATIONS

Price: $56.00 per person and this includes three-course dinner, tax, and gratuity.

NOTE: All non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages will be the diner’s responsibility and are *not* included.

Payment for the dinner must be made in advance by PayPal (https://www.paypal.com/us/home) to andie.n.ho@gmail.com and received, on or before Friday, October 9, or before the event sells out.

Please select the “send money to friends and family” option so that the FLD is not charged additional PayPal fees.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We do not provide refunds. You may sell or give your ticket to another conference attendee to attend in your place. If you do so, please notify us of the update, but the FLD does not provide refunds once a spot for the dinner has been purchased.

TRANSPORTATION

From the conference hotel, the Washington Hilton, La Tomate Italian Bistro is a 10-minute walk, one mile
along Connecticut Ave NW. For those who’d like to walk as a group, we’ll meet up in the conference hotel lobby at around 6:45 p.m.

QUESTIONS?

Contact us at divisionfld@atanet.org.

Review of Trilingual Swiss Law Dictionary

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Review of Trilingual Swiss Law Dictionary
French-German-English
German-French-English
Thomas L. West III, JD

Review by Anne Goff

Mr. West’s new dictionary is the first trilingual dictionary focused solely on Swiss legal terms. This dictionary includes Swiss civil law, criminal law, constitutional law, debt collection, bankruptcy, and corporate law. It is divided into two parts:

  • Swiss French – Swiss German –American English translations, followed by a list of 108 French abbreviations commonly found in Swiss legal texts,
  • Swiss German – Swiss French – American English translations, followed by a list of 144 German abbreviations commonly found in Swiss legal texts.

Both lists of abbreviations include many one- and two-letter abbreviations. What frustrated translator has not learned to loathe these abbreviations after multiple fruitless Internet searches?

The approximately 5,750 entries in each section are laid out in columns with all three languages side by side as pictured below.

Where terms differ from their non-Swiss French or German counterparts, the corresponding term is noted after the Swiss term. For example:

  • actions liées (F : actions à cessibilité restreinte) / restricted shares, shares with restricted transferability
  • boiler (F : chauffe-eau) / hot water heater
  • case postale (F : boîte postale) / post office box
  • corps de chauffe (F : radiateur) / radiator
  • décharge (F : quitus) / “discharge” of the board of directors
  • droit dispositif (F : droit supplétif) / non-mandatory legal rule (one that can be contracted out of)
  • écolage (F : frais de scolarité) / tuition fees
  • place de travail (F : emploi) / job
  • servitude foncière (art. 730-744 CC) ( F : servitude prédiale) / easement that runs with the land
  • soustraction d’impôts (F : évasion fiscale) / tax evasion

As exemplified in the entries above, this dictionary includes quite a few non-legal terms that often appear in legal texts.

Trickier terms include a brief note of explanation. For example:

  • postulat / parliamentary motion asking the government to legislate (as opposed to a motion requiring the government to legislate, cf. motion)
  • poursuite / debt collection (legal action to enforce payment in cash or the provision of cash coverage by a debtor who fails to meet his payment obligations)
  • préfet / Chancellor of State (representative of the Cantonal Government responsible for the administration of the district)

I particularly appreciate that many terms include the precise section number of the relevant Swiss Code or Act in which they can be found. Context is key, and in legal texts, having the appropriate context is extremely important. For example:

  • prélèvement sur les biens de l’enfant (art. 320 CC)
  • présentation d’une lettre de change (art. 1011 CO)
  • divorce (art. 111 CC)
  • divorce pour rupture du lien conjugal (art. 115 CC)
  • comptabilité commerciale (art. 957 CO)
  • concentraction d’entreprises (art. 4 LCart)
  • circonstances personnelles (art. 27 CP)

The Swiss government has published unofficial English translations of major Swiss codes. Some of these translations may differ from those in this Swiss law dictionary. The unofficial Swiss government translation uses British legal language instead of American. Those translating into British English should be aware of this difference, but those translating into American English will appreciate this detail as it is often difficult to find non-EU resources for European language source texts. Some differences include:

  • court of appeals (instead of court of appeal)
  • railroad (instead of railway)
  • plaintiff (instead of claimant)
  • disability (instead of invalidity)
  • labor (instead of labour)

This focus on American English is not surprising since Mr. West earned a BA in French and English from the University of Mississippi summa cum laude and an MA in German from Vanderbilt University. After earning his JD at the University of Virginia School of Law, he was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1990. Having practiced law for five years, he began his own translation firm, Intermark Language Services Corporation, specializing in legal and financial translation. This background is important in a field so full of potential pitfalls.

According to Mr. West, much of the terminology in TERMDAT appears to come from a French-to-German legal dictionary published in 1950 and compiled in the 1940s, and is thus very outdated. Mr. West’s law dictionary includes language from the new uniform civil and criminal procedure codes that took effect in 2011.

This is particularly significant since prior to 2011, there was no uniform legal code for Switzerland as a whole, and terminology varied greatly between cantons. It is important to note that the old terminology is not included in this dictionary. In the wake of the 2011 linguistic uniformization, Mr. West has published a translation dictionary that applies to contemporary legal language across all of Switzerland.

I believe this Swiss law dictionary will be a beneficial resource for translators working with French-language legal texts.

PURCHASING INFORMATION:

Trilingual Swiss Law Dictionary
French-German-English
German-French-English

By Thomas L. West III, JD
Intermark Language Publications

ISBN: 9781929570034
© 2017

Available at: https://www.createspace.com/7087174

$59.90

510 pages

≈5,725 entries

6 x 1.2 x 9 inches

1.9 lbs.

Reviewed by Anne Goff

Anne Goff is a French-to-English translator and professor at California State University Sacramento.

Some Thoughts on Translating Poincaré

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At the American Translators Association (ATA) conference in San Francisco in November 2016, I talked about Translating Poincaré. Instead of providing a summary for this blog of what turned out to be a very interesting talk, I’d like to discuss some related points that didn’t make it into that talk. My presentation discussed the book I translated, Sur le problème des trois corps et les équations de la dynamique, by Henri Poincaré. The book transformed the study of orbits in the solar system. Before the book was published, the motion of planets in the solar system, governed by Newton’s deterministic laws of motion and gravitation, was thought to run like clockwork, and most efforts were focused on the computation of positions of the planets and effective methods for doing those computations. In his book, Poincaré instead studied the differential equations (the actual mathematical form of the laws of motion) and their properties as a specific example of a dynamical system and was able to build the mathematical proofs and tools of dynamical systems theory. After the book’s publication, it was known that the stability of the solar system is not assured since it could be subject to chaotic behavior like other dynamical systems. Since the conference, I have signed a publishing contract with the publishing company Springer, and they are preparing my translation for publication.

Why this book?

I first heard of this book either around 1978 while I was an undergraduate at Cornell University or around 1982 while I was a graduate student in the astronomy department at Harvard University. I no longer remember the particular time or context although there are a few conceivable possibilities.

What is clear, many years later, is that I was in an environment that recognized, respected and understood (on some level) the importance of this book. And, it did so despite two obstacles. The first was of course its age; it was published in 1890. The other obstacle, from the perspective of a US academic environment, was the language; it was written in formal French with a specialized vocabulary demanded by the subject matter. In 1982, I spoke French that was fully adequate for many purposes. Yet it then seemed to me unlikely that I would be able to read and understand Poincaré’s work, so I made no effort to try. Together, this means that the book was a classic, but inaccessible to a large readership even though its existence was well known.

On the way from 1985 (when I was awarded a PhD) to 2014, my life and career experienced some strange twists and turns and sharp bumps and jolts. By then I’d become an established, independent translator from French into English working mostly with complex technical subjects.

One of the distressing realities of freelance work is the unpredictable switch between frenetic feeding frenzy and frustrating famine. In the spring of 2014, during one such famine, I started to look for stimulating intellectual activity to fill the time until the next feeding frenzy hit. I immediately focused my search on potential projects that could make a connection back to what I had once been: an astronomer and mathematical-physicist

In fairly short order I had a few ideas for projects involving dynamics and the stability of rotating astrophysical fluids. I talked to some people. I tried to assess the effort and resources that might be needed. While this route seemed plausible, it didn’t grab hold of my interest and hang on.

At the same time, my interest in Henri Poincaré’s work resurfaced. I found Poincaré to be a compelling author. I was very interested in carefully understanding what Poincaré had written. What better way to do that than to translate his book? I quickly found that it was easy to find scanned images of his works online. (The website hosted by the Université de Lorraine for the Henri Poincaré Papers, and its bibliography in particular, is very useful.) In addition to this book, I also looked at Les méthodes nouvelles de la mécanique céleste and his three books popularizing science (La Science et l’hypothèse, La Valeur de la science and Science et méthode).

These last four books all had existing translations of unknown quality. It was also clear that typesetting the equations in Sur le problème and Les méthodes nouvelles would require a significant effort. On the other hand, I recognized that I would likely find that effort satisfying. My presentation at the ATA conference discussed what was involved in typesetting the equations for one page.

I prepared a sample translation of a chapter from La Science et l’hypothèse, and after discussions with Maria Ascher and Michael Fischer—then at Harvard University Press—I decided to dive in and start translating Sur le problème, motivated by my interest in the author and subject.

As paying translation work flowed in, I translated patents and documents for clinical trials, and as that work ebbed, I went back to translating mathematical physics. In that way, I got two things that really interested me: stimulating intellectual activity and close, detailed study of a book and author that had long interested me.

Errors and Typos in the Source

The published version of Poincaré’s book that reached the public had a limited amount of lint, or distracting errors of a typographic nature not affecting the fabric of the work. I found twenty-six. For example, in one place the equation numbers advance from 3 to 5, and equation 4 does not appear anywhere else in that section. Nothing can be done about an error like that during translation, and so the error is replicated. On the other hand, on the next page the first subscript, ,was incorrect, but I could easily correct it to . With other similar errors, I corrected them unobtrusively.

My Approach to the Translation

In preparing this translation, I tried to keep several objectives in sight. The first was accessibility. At one level, this objective is valid for any translation. The purpose of translation is to take a document which was written (and therefore accessible) in one language and fit for one particular purpose and render it in another language (making it accessible in that language too), where it is fit for the same purpose or some analog thereof. In this instance, I understood that purpose to be a scholarly presentation of Poincaré’s ideas and approach to studying and understanding dynamical systems, and particularly the general three-body problem. This implicitly includes the ideas of time and audience: one hundred twenty-five years later, the expected audience for my translation is English-speaking people knowledgeable in dynamical systems wishing to understand how a foundational classic of the field established and set its direction.

Looking deeper, there was also the issue of voice. In the translation I tried to avoid speaking in my own voice, meaning retelling in my words what Poincaré wrote, and tried to follow closely what and how Poincaré wrote, letting his voice come through while respecting the standards of grammar, syntax and phrasing expected in contemporary, professional US English.

Essential to both of these is the matter of accuracy. In preparing my translation, I worked through and sought to understand what Poincaré was writing about so that I would be able to accurately present it in my translation. I then checked and rechecked this translation to eliminate any misunderstanding, inconsistency or infelicity that might have gotten through anyway. I am human, so I can be certain that I was not fully successful despite my best effort.

My opinion that this is a classic of the literature of mathematical physics that deserves to be understood, and that Poincaré merits the recognition and credit that follows from that understanding, was fundamental to my effort and motivation.

Bruce D. Popp

Bruce D. Popp, Ph.D. is a French into English scientific and technical translator.

 

I Tried It: Hiring a Translation Intern

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One of the best business decisions I’ve made in recent years was to hire an intern. I had learned about it while take a massive open online course (MOOC) on employment law through Northwestern University. If you don’t have a budget to pay an assistant yet, or want to test the waters before you hire part-time help, recruiting an intern is a solid move.

Because of the nature of labor laws, an intern generally can’t produce work product for you. (If you’re not compensating them, you can’t earn profits off their labor.) Interns must have documented knowledge gains from their experience, and they have to learn about the meat of what you do – coffee jockeying and photocopying shouldn’t be their main responsibilities. Likely, working with an intern will have a negative ROI – it will take some time away from your regular work, and for anything they produce you will have to take extra time to correct it. But it’s not as useless an effort as the language of the law makes it sound.

I found my intern like most opportunities I’ve had in business, through happenstance. M. graduated from the same departments at my alma mater as I did, and her advisor had suggested she contact me in late 2014 with questions she had about becoming a translator.  (The French Department was putting together a program on alumni who actively use their language degree in their career, so my name was already being thrown around in those discussions.) I had put out a call for a remote-working intern through the University of Virginia alumni career board with only OK results. M., on the other hand, was a perfect candidate and her interests aligned with mine; it was a natural connection.

We set up a 20-minute telephone call to discuss logistics, our mutual expectations, and some of her other questions about the field. A week later, M. submitted her resume and an example of her translation work (executed as part of coursework, rather than for a client). Based on her availability and my own, we decided to work together for 10 weeks by email, with weekly telephone calls to discuss assignments in detail. She signed a standard non-disclosure agreement before we started; you may also consider using a non-compete agreement or limiting access to your active client database.

In order to meet the legal requirements of having an intern and still get something helpful out of it for my business, I created a curriculum for M. that gave her an introduction to the business side of things and also had “real-life” translation assignments based on my past client work. M. had what we called “permanent tasks,” to be completed every week, and also “variable tasks,” which alternated between language and business lessons. All of it was designed to be doable in 8 hours or less of her time per week – since I didn’t have the budget to pay an assistant, I wanted to be sure she could help me around an income-generating job. Everything was flexible except the weekly phone calls, which I structured using preset agendas.

The permanent tasks related to market research and advertising. She was responsible for sending me links to 5 articles of interest to the translation community every week; this helped her form an important habit for herself and learn more about the industry, and I used the links I liked to post to my social media. She was also responsible for submitting the names of at least 3 new prospective clients or events in my area that might be useful for meeting potential clients; this gave her insight into how prospecting works, and I learned of events I may not have found on my own. She was also responsible for coming up with “fun stuff,” mainly related to marketing. This is a skill that is difficult to teach – applying your creativity to business, and learning to create your own tasks. If you’ve only ever worked as not-a-boss, it can be difficult to learn to make up a to-do list for yourself. Through this permanent task, M. came up with some fun quote pictures for me, which were becoming popular on social media at the time.

The variable tasks were more like homework assignments from traditional courses. M. translated short passages from my prior client work on a range of subjects, including a diploma translation assignment that proved helpful to her in a later job. She learned to create glossaries and take the time to focus on deceptively simple phrases (“Je suis Charlie” was our first example). She learned how to cold-call people and find out how much agencies versus individuals charge for certain kinds of work. I provided her with an office form I use to track common errors (which I catch during the proofreading stage of projects) and differences in various client styles. We also discussed client management issues, such as how to set up a new project cleanly and work with a range of client personalities.

Throughout the 10 weeks, we had a constant dialogue for feedback – Were the assignments addressing her needs? Were they addressing my needs? Were we communicating our expectations well? Based on her comments after the internship ended, she gained confidence in her abilities, new skills, and a wider perspective of what translating professionally truly entails. I strengthened my ability to manage others, delegate tasks, and separate business concerns from language concerns. The experience also forced me to organize myself better and to actually implement some of the systems I had set up for marketing.

In all, it was quite a rewarding experience to be both a boss and a mentor. She still sends me links of interest from time to time, and I still answer her occasional questions as she finishes up school and enters the working world. If you are looking to do something new with business in 2017, definitely consider an internship program!

Carolyn Yohn

Carolyn Yohn translates French and Hungarian legal and academic texts into American English under the name Untangled Translations.

A Translator’s Review of the Box-Office Smash Arrival

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The translation world has been abuzz about the film Arrival since it was released on November 11, 2016. Translators have been intrigued, and some would go so far as to say flattered, by the elevated position a language expert is given in a Hollywood blockbuster. On top of that, the starring translator is tasked with saving the planet!

The film is directed by Denis Villeneuve, who is originally from Québec and likely no stranger to malentendus and the trickier aspects of communication. His work is a carefully crafted narrative about memory, love, and the future of humanity. The film’s protagonist, Louise Banks, played by Amy Adams, is a linguistics professor at an unnamed university. She is fluent in English, Farsi, Mandarin, and other languages. She is contacted by an Army intelligence officer played by Forest Whitaker when aliens arrive on earth. She has top-level security clearance from previously working on a Farsi translation project for the government. When they meet in the film, Whitaker’s character says, “You’re at the top of everybody’s list when it comes to translations.”

This, as every translator and linguist knows, is a common misconception about our respective professions. Despite language services industry jargon that refers to translators as “linguists,” linguists—i.e. theoreticians of language—are not necessarily interested in translation at all, nor are they necessarily good translators for that matter. The likelihood that a linguistics professor would be tapped to translate Farsi for the government is essentially nil, but Louise nevertheless winds up being the perfect choice to decipher the alien visitors’ language. Her work both saves the world from certain destruction and unites the human race at a critical juncture.

The film’s central issue is finding out why the aliens have come to Earth. As Louise points out in one scene, the sentence “What is your purpose on earth?” is fraught with issues for a linguist in her situation. A translator might compare it to asking a third-year French student to translate Pascal’s theorem or Perec’s La Disparition into English. Just take the word you: what is the alien word for you? What is the possessive form? Is there a separate word for the singular you, the plural you or a general “all of you aliens” you? And how in the world do you convey an abstract concept like purpose when even the word you is elusive? Translators are used to, and relish in, analyzing complicated sentences, but no translator should ever be called upon to decipher a language that he or she does not know. That is indeed the work of a linguist. Viewers should not get hung up on this distinction for too long, however. The film is science fiction after all, and what follows is a poignant, thoughtful, and suspenseful rendering of what Louise’s field work into the aliens’ language looks like. This has implications not only for her personally, but for the entire planet.

Louise quickly realizes that since the aliens’ spoken sounds are not reproducible by human vocal cords, she should focus on their written language, dubbed Heptopod B after the aliens themselves are dubbed heptopods. Heptopod B is written in billowy streams of ethereal black ink emitted from the aliens’ squid-like arms. It resembles the milky clouds of cream in your morning coffee. The ink materializes into a circle like the drips of the brush of a clumsy calligrapher. It is displayed on the luminous barrier that separates the humans from the aliens within their giant black pod of a spaceship. Louise determines that, due to the circular nature of the writing, the aliens perceive time in a non-linear way—with no beginning and no end. Once she makes this discovery, the plot delves deeply into the ramifications of a linguistic idea called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, also known as the theory of linguistic relativity.

Readers who are fluent in more than one language will undoubtedly identify with the idea that, to a certain degree, learning another language can change the way the world is perceived. This is, in many cases, what draws translators to the profession in the first place: the joys and challenges of translating not only words, but different cultures, world views, and realities. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis states that a speaker’s very thoughts are determined by the language that he or she speaks, and consequently, becoming fluent in a different language could alter the learner’s thoughts in profound ways. Arrival explores this idea to the extreme as Louise starts to experience the side effects of learning Heptopod B.

It is safe to say that translators and other language professionals will view Arrival differently than the general population. There are myriad parallels between Louise’s experience and that of many translators. Some, such as the role that technology plays in decrypting the heptopods’ language, are glaring and resonant. Deciphering Heptopod B without a computer in such a short amount of time would have been impossible, and while the programs Louise’s team uses are more like CAT tools on steroids, they nevertheless echo the use of increasingly sophisticated and computerized tools in our everyday work. They also mirror the increasingly important role that technology plays in translation. Other parallels are subtler and may resonate more or less strongly depending on the viewer. Many translators will empathize with the fact that Louise’s work, much like our profession, is misunderstood by outsiders and the fact that those who are unfamiliar with what we do often hold us to unrealistically high expectations. Why can’t Louise just waltz in and ask the aliens why they are here after merely hearing an audio recording on someone’s phone in her office? Translators will commiserate with the long hours Louise spends alone at her desk, poring over a text into the darkest hours of the night—though her task is to avoid an impending global war or potential alien takeover, whereas a translator would likely be working merely to help a client with an urgent request. Others still will relate to the introversion and subtle loneliness of Adams’ character, coupled with an underlying, quiet confidence. She may have been content to work alone on her academic papers and Farsi translations in her office but was forced into the world to share her talent with those who needed it.

The film’s most powerful aspect for translators is that it allows us to imagine what it would be like if our skills bestowed super abilities—as if being able to read and translate one or several languages in a single day was not super enough. What if the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis were true to the extent that it is portrayed in the film? Being a polyglot would suddenly become much more desirable, and our roles as conduits of culture and communication would become infinitely more complex and critical. We will likely never have the gift of omniscience, no matter how many languages we speak or write, and most of us will not be called upon to save humankind, but we will all continue doing our part to ensure that we keep communicating and that we, hopefully, understand each other just a little bit better.

Ben Karl

Ben Karl is a French- and Mandarin-into-English translator specializing in marketing and finance. He is based in Reno, NV.