Bon jour! Let’s have a talk with Ebook:Decoded’s translator Bruno R. and see what he has to share with ebook authors.
Where do you live?
I live in Kempen, a small town about 30 km from Düsseldorf, Germany – half way between the Rhine and the Maas rivers, which forms the border to the Netherlands.
What is your native language, and what language do you translate into?
My native language is French – I was born in the French-speaking part of Belgium. I translate from English and German into French.
Why did you decide to become a translator?
I wanted to learn foreign languages, so I went to a translator school. After graduating I got a job as a translator in a big company in Germany. Working as a translator is a very demanding, but also fascinating job.
How long have you been translating?
I have been translating for 15 years now.
Do you specialize in any particular field?
When I worked for four years as a translator in a big company for steel process lines, I specialized in that field. Afterwards I specialized in several other technical fields. From 2003 till 2008 I studied literary translation in Brussels.
This included novels, short novels, poetry, theater, but also any kind of books and media like publicity material (advertising), websites, press releases and so on – i.e. all texts that are going to be read by a great number of people – just like ebooks!
Some translations (technical specifications, private letters, e-mails) will be read by just one or two persons. The aim of these is usually to transmit some information. Translating texts such as ebooks – which can be read virtually by millions of people! – needs to consider many more aspects like style, cultural differences, and take into account the way the books are written in the target language.
A translation of an ebook should not “smell” like a translation (as we say in French and German) but should seem natural to the reader. This is not a job that just requires a good knowledge of the foreign language, it should be done by an experienced professional translator.
What tips would you give an author who wants to have his/her digital product translated?
Make sure the translator is familiar with the topic of your ebook and has good writing skills. You should only choose a native speaker. Make sure the final translation has been reviewed by a second person.
What do you like to do to relax?
Cycling, reading, playing the guitar and the piano (however not all at the same time!), spending time with my two children.