The Translator Part

By Ivana Mormina

Our final run to the finish line was a big blur of excitement and stress. It hit us all at varying points of time but no one was exempt. Speaking strictly for myself, in my translator shoes, both of my hands were very much on deck the two weeks preceding our launch.

The Translator Part

The race to finish the translations was an intense one that left me thinking Frenglish even beyond the hours spent translating. I had never before scrutinized the vocabulary of a text in such depth. Interestingly enough, the task of translating the English text to French brought about many questions about clarity in the original version. Having to translate a text puts equal amounts of effort on understanding the original version as maintaining that message in the translated text; a task that cannot be accomplished by translating word for word. Instead, the “mood”, the “context”, the theme(s), the idiomatic expressions all need to be properly interpreted in the original version to then be translated into the second language. As such, we came across instances where, in scrutinizing that way, we were able to pinpoint problem areas in the English text.

That step completed, we put our best French forward. Unlike the English language, where there is only one obvious past tense to use, it quickly became obvious that we would have to find some cohesion between our use of past tense verbs (namely shifting between le passé composé and le passé simple). Besides the consistency of how to write proper nouns, the verb factor was a challenging one that, as with most Latin languages, is often based on one’s opinion – usually trying to be or more or less formal. In fact, much like we write in English with our own styles, it was the same for the French text as we often commented in the margins: “My opinion is to use this word, but feel free to suggest something else!” And we cannot deny that writing is, in every respect, opinionated. When I read over the produced booklet, it is a sigh of relief and a great feeling of success that the paragraphs read consistently and soundly.

Importantly, I cannot give enough “props” to my team. Who truly demonstrated how collaboration can be immeasurably valuable and productive. I thank them immensely for sharing my workload, my stress, my relief and my happiness.