FLD Continuing Education Series – Episode 6: Translation Slam with Dominique Jonkers & François Lavallée

Welcome to episode 6 of the French Language Division’s Continuing Education Series podcast. The main focus of this podcast is the craft of translation (English > French and French > English). In this episode, Dominique Jonkers of Jonkers & Partners and François Lavallée of Edgar and Magistrad join host Angela Benoit for the series’ very first translation slam!

The Podcast

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The Source Text

The text dueled over (uh, translated) by Dominique Jonkers and François Lavallée was Nauru, a Sinking Feeling, an article from the New York Times, available here. The source text was in English and the translation was into French. Listeners who are looking for a challenge are invited to produce their own translation before listening to the podcast!

The Slammers

Here’s more about our special guests (and you can find each of their versions of the translation below):

DOMINIQUE JONKERS is a freelance financial translator (English and Dutch > French) and owner of www.jonkersandpartners.com, a translation boutique specializing in corporate and financial translations. He is not someone who fits easily into traditional molds. Dutch by birth and by mother tongue, he grew up a French-speaking Belgian surrounded by linguistic diversity. He began his career as a corporate banker, a notably international and multilingual environment. In 1997 as the Internet began to emerge, he made the switch to translation, harnessing an inborn talent to help define a new profession of “financial translator.”

A regular guest speaker on economic and financial translation at workshops and conferences, Dominique firmly believes that the French poet Boileau had translators in mind when he said that clear understanding leads to clear writing. In 2000 he created an online resource for freelance financial translators (https://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/financialtranslators/) that has done much to lift the level of professionalism in the field.

Dominique is a regular presenter at the specialized conferences organized alternately by SFT and ASTTI (Université d’été de la traduction financière). In 2011 he won the Société française des traducteurs’ Pierre-François Caillé Award for his Dutch to French translation of author and serial entrepreneur Leen Zevenbergen’s En morgen laat ik mijn baard staan, published in French as Brûle ta cravate et danse.

A member of both CBTI and SFT, Dominique also served as SFT treasurer and was a member of the SFT executive committee for several years.

FRANÇOIS LAVALLÉE, C. Tr., has been exploring the fascinating world of words and language for over 30 years as a translator, reviser, trainer, author, lexicographer…and as a reader.

After freelancing for 20 years, he was recruited in 2009 by Edgar, a Québec translation firm. He is now Edgar’s vice-president of training and quality.

The president of Magistrad, a professional development school for translators that he founded in 2006, François has also been teaching general, commercial and legal translation as well as revision at Laval University in Québec, Canada. He has acted as a trainer and speaker at various ATA conferences and at the “Translate in…” events since their inception (2009).

His practical translation guide, Le traducteur averti, has sold over 2,000 copies. He also penned two collections of short stories (Le tout est de ne pas le dire, 2001; Dieu, c’est par où?, 2006), a novel (L’homme qui fuyait, 2013) and a collection of fables in the style of La Fontaine (Quand la fontaine coule dans la vallée, 2007). His books can be found on the bookseller Renaud-Bray’s website (www.renaud-bray.com), among other places.

Since 2009, he has been distilling his “reviser’s tips” on Twitter (@Magistrad_Plus), several hundred of which were compiled, along with some of Grant Hamilton’s, in an anthology: Tweets et gazouillis pour des traductions qui chantent (Linguatech éditeur, 2012).

The Translations

Read our guests’ different approaches to the same source text below, but don’t forget to listen to the podcast to hear their lively discussion about their choices, what they enjoyed about each other’s work and the parts they found particularly challenging. (Click the images to enlarge.)



Have an idea for a new podcast episode  that addresses the craft of English > French and French > English translation? Contact us!