[Transcript] ATA Continuing Education Series Podcast – Episode 20 – Interview with Edward Gauvin

ATA French Language Division Podcast
The FLD Podcast. Photo Credit: Unsplash

The A Propos Logo

To make our Continuing Education Series Podcast more accessible and searchable for FLD members and the general public, we are now offering transcriptions of our episodes right here on À Propos. Many thanks to our volunteer transcriptionists, who are credited at the bottom of each transcription. If you’re interested in helping us transcribe podcast episodes, email divisionFLD [at] atanet [dot] org.

HOW TO LISTEN TO THE ORIGINAL EPISODE

SOUNDCLOUD: You can listen to or download Episode 20 and all previous episodes on Soundcloud here.

ITUNES: This episode and all previous episodes are available on iTunes here. You can subscribe or listen online. Like what you hear? Rate us and review us! It really helps get the word out.

Episode 20 — Interview with Edward Gauvin, FLD’s Distinguished Speaker at ATA63

Andie Ho: This is Andy Ho, host of the continuing education series, a podcast we produce as a benefit for the members of the French Language Division of the American Translators Association, and those interested in becoming members. This series strives to offer educational content about the craft of French to English and English to French translation, and about our division. In today’s episode, it is my pleasure to welcome Edward Gauvin, our special guest and distinguished speaker for #ATA63, the conference in Los Angeles this fall. Edward is a writer, translator, and independent scholar. His work has been shortlisted and nominated for a multitude of prizes, and he has received grants and fellowships from around the world. Most relevant to the FLD and ATA, he has contributed over 100 translations to various journals, anthologies and collections and translated over 400 graphic novels. He also publishes his own original fiction, some of which he has translated in French. Welcome, Edward! It’s a pleasure having you here today.

Edward Gauvin: Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure to be here, Andy, and I’m really looking forward to the October conference.

Andie Ho: So, you have a very wide-ranging career. Can you tell us how you got started and branched out into all those different fields?

Edward Gauvin: Well, I got my start as a translator in the mid-2000s. I had come back from teaching as a lecturer as a freshman and sophomore in college in France. And for some reason, I thought translation was something one could do. I don’t think I had a particularly timely notion of that. I think for some reason I was thinking that you could translate pulp novels and other things that don’t get published in the US. I’m not sure, I had those very outdated notions…

However, I was hanging around Comic Cons. And in the New York Comic Con, I believe it was in 2005 or 2006, the very first one, and there were smaller fairs as well… I was hanging around those and trying to interest editors and publishers in comics/graphic novels that I had liked in France. And so, none of those pitches ever worked. But I think I sort of just got my face in their face, so that was how I wound up with my first few jobs.

Around the same time, in 2005, Words Without Borders published my first short fiction translation by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud. And I wound up working on his stories for the next couple of years, and then putting out my first full-length prose fiction translation in 2010, which is a volume of his selected stories. So, I think my career has pretty much proceeded along those twin tracks right from the beginning and ever since.

Andie Ho: Well, I had never heard of Words Without Borders and so I was looking into your background… Can you tell me more about what they do?

Edward Gauvin: So, when I first published with them in 2005, they’d only been around for two years, and … they were the first—and I would say now still the biggest—periodical that is devoted entirely to international literature in English translation. Now, the translation scene has changed so much and literary translation has become a lot hipper than it used to be. But Words Without Borders was into translation before translation was cool!

But seriously. They recently went through a major site revamp. So that’s been overhauled, and the look has been greatly streamlined. They’re still adding the archives in. But I think they’ve published from almost 150 countries, just as many languages. And I think… I’ve sort of watched from distance as their editorial priorities have shifted over time as well.

Among the founding members were a former editor for foreign literature from Northwestern, another from Norton [W.W. Norton & Co.] and another who worked with Zoetrope, the American fiction magazine. And one of their neatest programs, one of the coolest things that they sort of grew into over the years is something called WWB campus, or Words Without Borders Campus. It actively designs classroom modules and teaching aids for people who want to… It provides educator support and supplemental curricular resources, and it also tries to get even virtual events or in-person events where translators and authors can visit classrooms at any level from college and younger.

I think more recently, a lot of their claim to fame has been publishing as well, authors that have gone into major, major awards, like Elena Ferrante, or Han Kang, or Olga Tokarczuk. These are people who were first featured in their pages before they won Bookers and Nobels and things. So, I think it’s been a really big force for international literature in the US. I think the reason that they went online, they were a little ahead of the curve in that way, but also it has allowed them to keep overhead down in a way that print magazines aren’t able to. This is perhaps of the most interest to people who are looking to get into literary translation. Most of the time, the periodical scene is so small—if you’re talking about lib mags and university journals, etc.—that the onus of clearing rights is pushed onto the translator, which isn’t completely fair. When you’re actually publishing, it’s an editor agent’s job, or a foreign rights department’s job. But Words Without Borders has always taken that onto themselves. And right from the start, they have always paid the translator AND the author. And this isn’t something that a lot of periodicals, even now, can claim.

Andie Ho: Wow, alright! You’re talking about Elena Ferrante and Olga (I don’t know how to say her last name), but we can also go back to, say, Steve Larsen. So, the number that gets quoted a lot is 3%, right, that only 3% of literature gets translated into English. I forget what exactly it is. Do you think that has changed in recent years?

Edward Gauvin: OK, just to clarify… It’s not 3% of the world’s literature that gets translated into English. It’s that of the books published yearly in English every year, only 3% are devoted to translated literature. I am not plugged into BookScan enough to tell you what it is now and Chad Post has started his Three Percent blog post out of Rochester in 2008 or 2009. I will tell you that my sense is that it has fluctuated and it has grown and remains on the side of growth, but that I would be surprised if it has doubled. I would say that it stayed somewhere between three and six—and that’s a completely off-the-cuff thing—if it had doubled, I would be surprised if it had doubled and stayed there for more than a year. Because, as I have mentioned, there are a lot of fluctuations.

And I would say, for me there are a couple different parts to that. Yes, the literary translation scene has massively diversified in terms of the numbers of publishers. But these are mostly small presses, not even imprints of large presses. That’s how art moves forward, really, historically. But I think that there has been a shift in the kinds of things we look to foreign literature for, and there’s still a raging debate as to whether it actually sells. And there are always going to be exceptions that sell extremely well, but then become unfortunately sort of synecdochic of the entire phenomenon, which doesn’t sell as well.

I think I’ve wandered off a little bit at the end, but there’s definitely not progress in the numbers. Far greater than progress in actual numbers is greater cultural awareness. I think that has risen in a way that’s faster than the economic side of things.

Andie Ho: So, in recent years, there’s been a lot of interest in foreign media, with K-pop, Parasite and other Korean movies… I think just a lot more interest in Lupin, the TV series on Netflix… Do you think that there is, in general, some sort of expansion of interest into foreign media that will, in a sense, like “rising tides lift all boats,” that will affect translation of books, or not so much?

Edward Gauvin: I think for me there’s a couple issues all knotted up in there, so please catch me out if I start to prattle on. One is that interest in translated books does not necessarily equate to better pay or living conditions for translators. And so, I think the same thing applies here. The interest in foreign media also may not directly improve the translators’ or subtitlers’ lot. And I think that’s because … people have a very dated idea of what translation is, does, or should do, or can get away with, or the degree to which it can transform something. That’s something that I think about a lot.

I think the other difference is just [that] books are such a small part financially of media as a whole that foreign media becoming more popular or not… Things operate differently at different scales of how much money is involved. I guess this is what I’m trying to get around to. So, for instance, the recent Brad Pit’s Bullet Train is based on a Japanese novel that I remember reading articles about when the Japanese novel was first snatched up (it was probably in Hollywood Reporter or something) by Pitt’s production company. There hasn’t actually been a whole lot of discourse concerning Bullet Train about how the entire cast is now while, pretty much, and that’s fine. That’s one issue. But the other issue I remember reading in Hollywood Reporter, when the novel was first snatched up, [is] that the novel was one of the properties that a newly founded firm in Japan had shopped around, and this firm was dedicated toward getting more Japanese properties sold abroad. Whether it be for remakes or adaptations or anything, they just wanted to push it… And I don’t think of Japan as a country that is massively underrepresented in terms of international media presence. And yet, when you hear the founders of the company speak, they were talking of untold troves of material in Japan that they were sure would interest other people, but not enough people read Japanese to access it. It just wasn’t known. And so, I wonder to some extent how many places feel like that. If Japan, which I think of as having a major media presence already, feels like that, then, how much are other places going to feel like that?

My third sort of related point is that I actually find the subtitling scene really, really, really interesting for its crossover with literary translation and mostly from an underrepresentation of labor point of view. Subtitles have been popping up more and more into the news lately. And every time it does, it really just perks up my ears, because one of my ongoing thoughts of experiments is to see how many other disciplines under some disciplines have some kind of labor or historical or metaphorical overlap with translation. The most recent subtitling story I remember seeing was about Stranger Things, and how the subtitles are really kind of “juicy” and reach for the not obvious adjectives and how that enhanced the experience. And that’s all fascinating to me. How can that happen in translation? The other one, of course, was with the Korean property… I’m going to blank on the name now, the one with the game show where they kill people…

Andie Ho: Squid Game?

Edward Gauvin: Yes, thank you. Well, I did see it and there was a little brouhaha… There was a New York-based Korean American writer who was tweeting about how the subtitles were off, and how there actually turned out to be two sets of subtitles: one for the closed captioning, and one that actually looks more sort of human translated. But I remember one of the things that this person said was, “If you watch the show with this set of subtitles, you’re not getting the same show.” And like, this was sort of the foundation of some kind of notion of betrayal, right? And this is something that I think translators might be working to push, if not entirely overthrow, because for me that’s a given. That’s kind of like “Duh!” That’s where literary translators start right now. Yes, of course, it’s not the same. You shouldn’t think of them as the same. You shouldn’t think that you’re able to get the same out of this transaction. That’s just my bringing it around to translators versus translation again.

Andie Ho: You bring up some really good points about the devaluation, I think, of translators. Do you have the same problem in literary translation, that there is a sense that anybody who speaks a second language can translate it? Is that prevalent in publishing?

Edward Gauvin: I do think a lot of translators—because I’ve heard variations on this—think of editors as having a tin ear, or that editors do think of translators as interchangeable. Or that editors are kind of like this tone-deaf conductor that the translator has to teach how to… Or rather, if the translator’s a conductor, that as a conductor, we have to educate the editor in how to appreciate the difference between one conductor and another.

It’s hard for me to assess literary translations, the attitude of literary translators as a whole. I don’t feel that connected with the scene anymore, and… What I’m judging it on these days is based on things I read, and things I read can be all over the map. Like, sometimes translators will say things that sound the same as what translators said 60 years ago, and other times translators will have fairly progressive views, deeply informed by translation studies or comparative literature or some background in academic theory, so it’s really hard for me to say as a whole what the community thinks. I do think that by and large, it’s moved beyond the issues of authorial fidelity, which is not something the world has moved out from. Because, you know, translators will say one thing at a convention, and then when one of them gets profiled in the New York Times, what emerges in the article at the end of whatever process goes on is pretty tame compared to what goes on at say, a convention or a conference or a round table.

Andie Ho: [Laughter] So, for the real deal, you have to go to a translation conference and see what translators are talking about.

Edward Gauvin: Yes, well, the literature is out there, you know. Do some digging. But even in, like, a literary translation Facebook group, especially if you are getting people who are translating out of English… I would say that how translators feel about what it is they should or shouldn’t do runs a pretty broad gamut. I should also contextualize almost everything I’m saying as coming out of specifically an into-English scene.

Andie Ho: Yeah, which… I don’t want to presuppose anything. Do you feel like the into-English scene translations are sort of watered down a bit, or not watered down … made more palatable for local audiences?

Edward Gauvin: Yeah, well, that actually is the crux of Lawrence Venuti’s original Translator’s Invisibility diatribe, right? I mean, he wasn’t blaming the translators in that case, he was blaming the publishing industry as a whole. But I think the translator’s invisibility as a phrase has kind of gotten dislocated from his originally coinage and is sort of just generally used to apply to… It applies probably more often to lack of cultural capital or lack of actual economical capital. But originally, his argument was rooted in a fairly specific reading of how certain marks of foreignness would get ironed out into a more standardized English. I don’t honestly have the time to read widely enough to assess that right now. I don’t know. Yeah, honestly, I can’t.

I also do think that the old binary that sets up, right, because that’s the other bastardization of Venuti’s idea, is that, “Oh, it’s either about foreignization or about domesticization, and if we’re going to foreignize things, we’re going to leave weird turns of phrase and foreign things in there,” and that’s definitely not what you’re saying. But that’s an easy straw man to attack him, but also to attack schools of translation. A lot of translators also use it. They say, “I don’t foreignize. I’ve never foreignized. Foreignizing is stupid.” But it’s only stupid if you define it very narrowly like that. I do think that binary is maybe also something that needs to be gotten out of…

Maybe this will segue back to comics. For me, with comics, someone asked me that at an event that I did in Pittsburgh at the City of Asylum… and I really fumbled the answer because it was at the end of the night. But… I do think that issues of reception in general have been neglected in translation. Which is to say that in translation, you’re talking about how it’s usually, “Are you close to the author?” or “Are you close to the original language?” or something like that. But are you making something for a specific readership in the US, and what does that entail? And in that case, this is something that comics speaks to very much, right? If I do a French Western, they’re never going to have a “howdy” in. But I’m going to put a howdy in the English version. There’s a way “Westerns” sound. There is a way “noir” sounds. And also, there is a way “noir” sounds, in fact, that is informed both by American pulp writers and French new wave directors who loved American pulp writers, and then American pulp writers who loved French new wave movies. There’s already a dialogue going. There is no purity. So, when I talk about audience reception and expectations deservedly going into the translation, it’s not just the author speaking through you, it’s not the language speaking through you, it’s also the genre speaking through you, the affectations speaking through you and informing your work.

Andie Ho: Fair enough! I don’t want to spoil too much of your sessions, so I’m going to cut you off here. But is there anything else you would like to say for our audiences?

Edward Gauvin: Yeah, I think one of the original questions was just about some practical advice on trying to break into translating comics. This is a question I get a lot from literary translators. People should just remember that comics is still an artist’s medium and not a writer’s, such that if you’re pitching a comic, I think you should be aware that it will be bought primarily on art and perhaps before even stories. Art is going to edge out subject matter, even. So, yeah, I think that’s something people don’t think of, especially as translators, since they’re focused on the words.

Andie Ho: Well, thank you very much for your time today, Edward. I can’t wait to meet you in person in LA.

Edward Gauvin: Yeah, I’m looking forward to it! I hope [the] BA.5 [subvariant] allows it nevertheless to be a safer event for all concerned.

Andie Ho: All fingers, toes, limbs, everything crossed. For sure. Alright, well, thank you very much!

This concludes our episode for today. You can subscribe to the continuing education series podcast on SoundCloud at soundcloud.com/ATA/FLD or on iTunes by searching for “continuing education series” in the iTunes store. You can contact the FLD at divisionfld [at] atanet [dot] org, visit our website at ata-divisions.org/FLD or get in touch with us on social media. This is handy Andy Ho, signing off. Thanks for listening and à bientôt!

Edward Gauvin is a 2021 Guggenheim fellow and award-winning translator. He has received grants and residencies from the National Endowment for the Arts, PEN America, the Fulbright program, Ledig House, the Lannan Foundation, the Banff Centre, and the French and Belgian governments. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, The Guardian, and World Literature Today. As a translation advocate, he has written widely, spoken at universities and festivals, and taught at the Bread Loaf Translation Conference. The translator of over 400 graphic novels, he is a contributing editor for comics at Words Without Borders.

ATA Podcast host Andie Ho is a certified French to English translator specializing in the food industry. She earned her M.A. in translation from Kent State University and is now based in the Houston area. She currently serves as the ATA’s French Language Division administrator. You can follow her on Twitter at @JHawkTranslator or email her at andie [at] andiehotranslations [dot] com.

Transcribed by Isabelle Berquin, PhD, CT. She is an ATA-certified English <> French freelance translator specializing in the life sciences and medicine. A native speaker of French from Belgium, she has a BS in biology and a PhD in cancer biology. Her favorite translation projects are those that allow her to leverage her 20-year experience in biomedical research. She has been living in the USA since 1990. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, going on nature walks, gardening, painting, printmaking, cooking and singing. Find her online here.

[Transcript] ATA Continuing Education Series Podcast – Episode 16 – State of the FLD June 2020

Close-up of a microphone against a purple background
ATA FLD Podcast. Photo Credit: Unsplash

The A Propos Logo

To make our Continuing Education Series Podcast more accessible and searchable for FLD members and the general public, we are now offering transcriptions of our episodes right here on À Propos. Many thanks to our volunteer transcriptionists, who are credited at the bottom of each transcription. If you’re interested in helping us transcribe podcast episodes, email divisionFLD [at] atanet [dot] org.

HOW TO LISTEN TO THE ORIGINAL EPISODE

SOUNDCLOUD: You can listen to or download Episode 16 and all previous episodes on Soundcloud here.

ITUNES: This episode and all previous episodes are available on iTunes here. You can subscribe or listen online. Like what you hear? Rate us and review us! It really helps get the word out.

Episode 16: State of the FLD June 2020

Cathy-Eitel Nzume: Hello and welcome. This is Cathy-Eitel Nzume, host of the Continuing Education Series, a podcast we produce as a benefit for the members of the French Language Division of the American Translators Association. This series tries to offer educational content about the craft of French to English and English to French translation and, of course, about our division.

For today’s episode, it is my pleasure to welcome our wonderful administrator, Jenn Mercer, and Andie Ho, our dedicated assistant administrator, for our state of the French Language Division session.

Jenn Mercer: Thanks for having us.

Andie Ho: Thank you for having us.

Cathy-Eitel Nzume: You’re welcome! We have so many things to talk about today, I’m not sure where to start. Jenn, would you like to start off by telling our members about the highlights of the year?

Jenn Mercer: This is not a year that is bursting with highlights, but one big change that I think everyone has heard is that we have a new podcast host. Thanks, Cathy-Eitel; welcome to the team. Otherwise, I think we have all been adjusting to the new normal in many cases. Some of us have less work, some of us are maybe doing a different variety of work. Interpreters are being forced to adjust to either a lot of remote work or going onto the front lines with healthcare workers. Hats off to all of them!

Cathy-Eitel Nzume: Jenn, I recently joined the Discord platform. Can you tell us about FLD’s online presence, social media, websites, and new platforms, such as Discord? As a reminder, this is all managed by the volunteers of our Leadership Council. Can you tell us what the Council has been up to, or can you tell us what are the rules and the purpose of the new platforms? I know these are a lot of questions at the same time, but could you please tell us a little bit about our online presence?

Andie Ho: I’m going to jump in here and talk about our website, and that is at www.ata-divisions.org/FLD/. There you will find information about the Leadership Council, upcoming events, and our blog/newsletter, which is being run by Ben Karl; he is doing a great job at that. We have our Twitter account, which is @ATA_FLD. We have our Facebook group, which is ATA French Language Division. That one you have to be an FLD member for, so if you just click to join the group, you will be let into it once it is confirmed that you are a member. We have our LinkedIn page, and that one is called French Language Division of the American Translators Association. And then we have our listserv, our email list, which has moved. It is now under Groups.io, instead of the Yahoo group that we used to be under. If you are not subscribed, and you would like to subscribe, contact me or Jenn, at divisionfld [at] atanet [dot] org and we will get you all set up.

Jenn has news about our new social media options.

Jenn Mercer: This is a very isolating time because of the coronavirus. Myself, I work in an office all alone, what would be different? But somehow it still is. Because of that isolation and because it sounded like fun, we started a monthly zoom meeting. We have established a regular schedule now; it’s going to be on the second Thursday of each month. It’s hosted by Eve Bodeux, who is our former French Language Division administrator. You can find information for that on the FLD mailing list, the listserv we mentioned before. It is on Facebook, and you can also find it on our new Discord server. The Zoom meeting is once a month, but Discord is available anytime you feel like chatting. If you are familiar with Slack, Discord is a lot like that, but it is just a smaller, simpler server. You can get an invite link for that in the monthly announcements for our social networking, or, again, you can email divisionfld [at] atanet [dot] org and we will get you connected. Both this and the Zoom sessions are FLD member benefits, so just for us. There are rules posted in the Discord chat, but if you are familiar at all with FLD and the ATA, you probably know a lot of these already: be respectful, be professional, and never, ever discuss specific rates in any form.

Cathy-Eitel Nzume: Thank you so much, Jenn. Andie, sadly we are all aware of what is going on around the world right now, namely, the world is facing the challenging COVID-19 virus. Have you been keeping busy during the quarantine?

Andie Ho: Keeping busy hasn’t been the problem, the issue for me has been staying sane! A friend of mine put it really well yesterday. He said, “no matter what your situation is at home, there is some aspect of your life that makes quarantine and the pandemic especially hard for you.” Whether you have kids or you don’t have kids, you are living with someone or you don’t live with someone, somehow you have some sort of exacerbating circumstance. Personally, to be completely honest, I spent March in denial about Covid, and then I spent April hyperventilating. Like many, though not all, translators, and especially interpreters, my business is at an all-time low. But now that I have had some time to collect myself and my thoughts, I have reached the acceptance phase, as I call it, of this crisis. Now I am focusing on improving my business, whether that is through continuing education and webinars, or redesigning my website. I am also thinking about the future, about what things I can do now so that I can pull the trigger on them once the economy comes back and once things become somewhat normal again. I’m not going to lie, the pandemic has been pretty hard on me; but I am an optimist by nature—I continue to hold out hope that we will come out of this better than before. That said, I would be remiss not to mention that we have FLD members and ATA members who have been personally hit by COVID-19, or who have had family members come down with it, and even die from it. I am confident that I speak for everyone when I say that our hearts go to those colleagues of ours. Stay strong, stay healthy everybody.

Cathy-Eitel Nzume: Absolutely, thank you. Our hearts go out to all of the people who have been affected by this disease. Jenn, I have heard from many fellow translators that the corona crisis has also had a big impact on their workload. I know I share the same issue. Can you tell us how it has been for you, how you think it will affect the ATA convention in Boston—any word on that? Do you have any suggestions for our fellow colleagues?

Jenn Mercer: My situation, Andy said it really well. She mentioned she is in the acceptance phase. I started off in the denial phase. I said, lockdown, seriously, how is that different from my normal life? I work from home already…. Until I realized that no one was contacting me. No. One. So, I have absolutely seen a decline. I have started to see some tiny signs of life in different corners than I usually work, but I’m not complaining. I think none of us can really say for sure what things will be like in October. Personally, I have not made plans, I am just waiting to see what happens. I have a couple of quotes from a recent ATA board meeting. I don’t speak for ATA, but these are some things to keep in mind. This is from the treasurer:

Our initial estimates of potential losses for the Boston conference indicate that cancelling at this time would result in the greatest loss; holding an in-person event would result in a smaller loss, and holding a hybrid event would result in the smallest loss. At this time, we assume we will have a loss for all 2020 models.

I think we all feel that deeply. Also:

Although the situation is changing really fast, it has been determined that there will be an online component for the 2020 annual conference.

That is information I have. I think we can all understand that is only some information. As admin, I saw a lot of exciting ideas for the French track coming through. I’m actually starting to hear from people who have received acceptances. It sounds great. I just don’t know what form it will take. Also, of course, we all need to be concerned about our own health and risk factors, as well as, some of us, our finances might not be as robust, and you always have to take a look at your own situation, and your own health, in anything, I think.

Cathy-Eitel Nzume: Thank you. As a reminder of what we have accomplished so far, the Continuing Education Series aired fantastic episodes about legal translation, sustainable development, genealogy, and even a translation slam. As for the upcoming ATA annual conference, we are accepting suggestions from all members and non-members who would like to share their knowledge with the division and other colleagues during the conference. Don’t be scared! No public speaking experience is necessary. If you are interested, please email us at divisionfld [at] atanet [dot] org. We are interested in all topics, all subjects. Speaking of topics, we have one English to French topic about poorly written source content that needs a guest speaker. If you are interested in discussing terrible source content, or anything else, please get in touch.

Thank you, Jenn. Andie, thank you so much for joining me today. Have a great summer and, hopefully, see you soon in Boston.

Jenn Mercer: Thanks.

Andie Ho: Hope to see you there!

Cathy-Eitel Nzume: This concludes our episode for today. You can subscribe to the Continuing Education Series podcasts on SoundCloud at soundcloud.com/ata-fld or on iTunes by searching for Continuing Education Series in the iTunes store. You can contact the FLD at divisionfld [at] atanet [dot] org. Visit our website at www.ata-divisions.org/fld or get in touch with us on social media. This is Cathy-Eitel Nzume signing off. Thanks for listening, et à bientôt.

ATA Podcast host Cathy-Eitel Nzume is a certified French to English and English to French Court Interpreter, translator, Department of State Certified Linguist and legal professional. She specializes in legal and conference interpreting as well as legal and financial translation. You can find her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/cathyeitelnzume/ or on Twitter at @CathyENzume.

Andie Ho is a certified French to English translator specializing in the food industry. She earned her M.A. in translation from Kent State University and is now based in the Houston area. She currently serves as the ATA’s French Language Division administrator. You can follow her on Twitter at @JHawkTranslator or email her at andie [at] andiehotranslations [dot] com.

Jenn Mercer is a certified French to English translator.

Transcribed by Virginia (Ginny) Layton-Leal. She is a French and Spanish to English translator specialized in wellness and evidence-based complimentary medicine, and a French and Spanish medical interpreter with experience in medical examiner and medical weight loss interpreting. She holds a Certificate in Professional Translation and Interpreting (Spanish) from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a BA in Romance Languages (French/Spanish) from Mount Holyoke College. She is a member of ATA and NETA. When Ginny is not working with words, you will find her at an East Coast swing dance.

[Transcript] ATA Continuing Education Series Podcast – Episode 17 – State of the FLD November 2020

ATA French Language Division Podcast
The FLD Podcast. Photo Credit: Unsplash

The A Propos Logo

To make our Continuing Education Series Podcast more accessible and searchable for FLD members and the general public, we are now offering transcriptions of our episodes right here on À Propos. Many thanks to our volunteer transcriptionists, who are credited at the bottom of each transcription. If you’re interested in helping us transcribe podcast episodes, email divisionFLD [at] atanet [dot] org.

HOW TO LISTEN TO THE ORIGINAL EPISODE

SOUNDCLOUD: You can listen to or download Episode 17 and all previous episodes on Soundcloud here.

ITUNES: This episode and all previous episodes are available on iTunes here. You can subscribe or listen online. Like what you hear? Rate us and review us! It really helps get the word out.

Episode 17: State of the FLD November 2020

Cathy-Eitel: Bonjour ! Bienvenue chez l’éditeur. This is Cathy-Eitel Nzume, host of the Continuing Education Series, a podcast we produce as a benefit for members of the French Language Division of the American Translators Association and those interested in becoming members. This series tries to offer educational content about the craft of French-to-English and English-to-French translation, interpretation, and about our division.

For today’s episode, it is my pleasure to welcome Andie Ho, our newly installed administrator, for our State of the FLD Session. Some of you may be familiar with Andie, as she previously served as FLD Assistant Administrator.

Andie Ho: Hi, Cathy-Eitel. Hello FLD listeners. It’s nice to be on the podcast again. Thank you for the wonderful welcome. I am honored to be the FLD’s new administrator. I’ll be working together with our new assistant administrator, Beth Smith, who many of you already know from being around, and, working together, we’ll attempt to fill the giant shoes that Jen Mercer left behind for us.

Cathy-Eitel: Congratulations, again, Andie! Could you tell us a little bit about you, and what can we expect from the FLD for the upcoming year?

Andie Ho: Well, even though we just had the Annual Conference, we are already working next year’s conference, looking for a distinguished speaker for the FLD. We have to complete the paperwork pretty soon, in January, I believe, so it’s really important that we start looking for somebody now, so if anybody has ideas or suggestions for our distinguished speaker, please let us know. In other news, we hope to kick off the certification exam study group sometime next year since it looks like the ATA exams are going to resume soon. Our current plan is for people to do practice translations at home, and then pair up with a partner and give each other feedback. We will be starting a new round each month, with a new package to translate each month and a new partner to work with, so people can jump on the train any time and join the group, and the practice exams will be available in both language directions, English to French and French to English.

Cathy-Eitel: Thank you, Andie. Now let’s dive into another important topic. So, the 2020 ATA Annual Conference. The Conference was certainly different this year. It went virtual! Nevertheless, I personally think it was a success. Thanks to the organizers, everything went so smoothly, and attendees were still able to learn, network, and have fun. Could you share your thoughts on the 2020 ATA Conference?

Andie Ho: I thought the conference was a wild success, given everything that had to happen to pivot into an online event, turn it suddenly into an online event. I know lots of people were worried that there wouldn’t be opportunities to socialize and network with other people, but the organizers did a fantastic job of making sure we still had opportunities for that. The speakers did a great job, and I definitely want to congratulate the FLD speakers that represented us and made us proud of them. The conference organizers, I know, are actively seeking feedback right now on the conference because, apparently, they expect to have a hybrid version of the conference next year. So, if any of you who attended have opinions, either positive or negative, please email the ATA board, the officers, and let them know what you think.

Cathy-Eitel: Oh, wow. I didn’t know that. A hybrid version will be awesome, but do you have any recommendations for the next conference? What about advice for fellow translators and interpreters as to how to proceed now that the conference is over?

Andie Ho: Well, whether the conference is in-person or online, what you want to do afterwards is make sure you follow up, follow through with the things that you learned in the sessions and follow up with the people you met. Make time to try out the new software you heard about. Check out the new resource you heard about. Reach out and stay in touch with the people that you met. You can do like I have done, which is set yourself a reminder each week or every so often to email the people that you met, say, three months from now, see how they’re doing, or you can work together to brainstorm new business ideas that you came up with at the conference. These are all really important things, because the conference works best if you do something with the information that you got out of it, otherwise, you know, you’re not really getting the full benefit.

Cathy-Eitel: Okay, well, last time we spoke, Covid-19 was sort of at its peak. We are not out of the woods yet, and it’s difficult to meet in person; therefore, I think it is important to find a way to connect virtually. Andie, please, would you remind our fellow FLD members of the various ways to stay in touch or find out about FLD events?

Andie Ho: Oh, wow. FLD has more ways than ever to stay in touch. We are on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and have been for a long time, of course. Also, we still have the website. We have a newsletter and email discussion list, and, of course, this podcast, and we are now on Discord, which is another kind of messaging forum where people can chat. You should have, if you are an FLD member, you should have received an email recently, just last week I believe, detailing all of these different ways to stay in touch, with links, you can find us. And, new and improved, we’ve also started doing monthly Zoom meetups so that people can talk about their challengers or just enjoy each other’s company since we can’t see each other in person right now, but make sure you subscribe to at least one of the communications channels I mentioned so that you hear about the monthly Zoom meetings and get the announcements. We only post the actual link in the closed forum, for instance, listserv or the Facebook group, and that’s to make sure that our meetings don’t get hacked. Unfortunately, that is a thing that happens in this world, but, also, [laughter], yeah. You can also always just reach out to us to get the link. The main thing is that you need to subscribe to at least one method of communication, just so you get the announcements, the dates and times for the monthly Zoom meetups.

Cathy-Eitel: Thank you so much, Andie, for all the reminders. Now, your continuing education series is fantastic episodes about legal translations, sustainable development, genealogy, and even a translation slam. And for the future episodes, we are accepting suggestions from all members and nonmembers who would like to share their knowledge with the division and other colleagues. No public speaking experience necessary. If you are interested, please email us at divisionfld [at] atanet [dot] org. We’re interested in all topics and subjects. Speaking of topics, we have one English-to-French topic about poorly written source content and need a guest speaker. If you’re interested in discussing terrible source content, or anything else, please get in touch.

Andie Ho: Yeah, and I’d like to add to that that the FLD is run by volunteers, so anyone can step up and contribute at any time no matter in how small a way, otherwise, Cathy-Eitel, you and I have to do everything by ourselves.

Cathy-Eitel: Well, Andie, thank you so much for joining me today. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Andie Ho: Thank you Cathy-Eitel. Thank you for having me.

Cathy-Eitel: Thank you. Bye-bye.

Cathy-Eitel Nzume is a certified French to English and English to French Court Interpreter, translator, Department of State Certified Linguist and legal professional. She specializes in legal and conference interpreting as well as legal and financial translation. You can find her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/cathyeitelnzume/ or on Twitter at @CathyENzume.

Andie Ho is a certified French to English translator specializing in the food industry. She earned her M.A. in translation from Kent State University and is now based in the Houston area. She currently serves as the ATA’s French Language Division administrator. You can follow her on Twitter at @JHawkTranslator or email her at andie [at] andiehotranslations [dot] com.

Transcribed by Joan Wallace. She has been a full-time freelance translator for nearly 30 years. She holds ATA certification from French to English and Spanish to English, and also translates from Thai to English. She works primarily in medical and pharmaceutical translation, although she occasionally wanders further afield, including an ongoing collaboration with a historian involving
French-English translation of 19th-century handwritten documents. She is based in Madison, Wisconsin. You can connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/joanwallace.

Volunteering My Translation Skills In a Local French School

 

Photo Credit: Element5 Digital via Unspash

By Andie Ho

A few years ago, I began lending my translation skills to a local, volunteer-run school that holds Saturday French classes for K-12 students. The classes are aimed at both francophone children of French expats in the Houston area to help them maintain their French while living in the U.S. as well as students learning French as a foreign language.

My role as the school’s official translator came about gradually. Through a separate organization for French expats, I became friendly with several of the school’s board members. One day, one of them called me and asked if I’d be willing to do a short volunteer translation for the school. I replied that I’d be happy to help. Since then, I have been receiving sporadic translation requests, on the order of a handful of times a year. The texts are easy enough and frequently repetitive and mostly consist of job postings and either translating or proofreading the English version of the quarterly newsletter. The staff are gracious and respectful of my time, and the deadlines are usually long compared to my paid work, so helping out is never a burden.

Though I initially agreed to volunteer for purely selfless reasons, one side benefit of being involved with the local expat community has been the opportunity to advertise my services. As a translator for the school, I am considered a staff member and attend school celebrations for events like la Galette des rois and la rentrée. At these gatherings, I meet many French expats and am usually introduced to an auditorium full of people not just as the school’s translator, but as a professional translator in my own right. As a result, I have had people approach me for my language skills.

My experience has also made me rethink how I network. A number of years ago, I attended a networking event where I received the name of a prospective client, a French expat who had started a small business in Houston helping other French expats settle in the U.S. She was reportedly often in need of translations for her clients. I contacted her several times by email and phone, citing our mutual acquaintance and hoping to speak with her, but I never heard back. A couple of years later, when I began volunteering for the school, I discovered the same woman was one of the school’s board members. She didn’t remember my attempts to contact her, but we became well acquainted, and just last month, she referred me to a friend in need of a translation for his business. People prefer to do business with people they know—and from what I understand, that goes double for the French. Volunteering has allowed me to serve a good cause while simultaneously giving me a foot in door to the sizable French expat community in the fourth largest city in the United States.

I no longer attend networking events where I’m not likely to ever cross paths with the people I meet there again. In fact, anything that bills itself as a networking event generally tends to be unfruitful for me. Instead, I focus on recurring activities where I see the same people over and over and have an opportunity to build relationships, an approach that happens to suit my personality. After all, it’s much more pleasant to make a friend and then have her call you for a translation than it is to try to foist your services on a stranger.

On a personal level, I believe that everyone should strive to make the world a better place in whatever way they can, and volunteer work is certainly a major way for people to do their part. If you’re able to draw professional gains at the same time, then all the better.

Andie Ho is a Houston-based, ATA-certified French to English translator. She specializes in the areas of food and cosmetics. Find her at www.andiehotranslations.com or follow her on Twitter at @JHawkTranslator.

Editor’s Note: Have you had a positive experience volunteering? Please share it with us! Also, did you know that volunteering your translation services is a great way to earn continuing education credits for your ATA certification? Keep track of the time you spend volunteering and include it on your CE points report.