Eric is an English and German to French translator. Based in Germany, he is currently Translators without Borders’ top contributor, with over 154,200 words donated.
Hi, Eric! Tell us a bit about yourself and your career.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Applied Foreign Languages in France, I moved to Germany in order to perfect my German; there I got an M.A. in Translation Sciences from the University of Heidelberg. Then I chose to stay here and to work as a freelance translator. My partner and I recently opened our own translation bureau; I specialize in the public health field. To my mind, one is never smart enough, especially in the translation business, so I devote a lot of time to ongoing professional training. My next challenge: to get a university degree in Public Health and Epidemiology.
What made you volunteer for Translators without Borders (TWB)?
Before volunteering for TWB, I already took on some volunteer projects for the VNU program, but TWB convinced me with its user-friendliness, particularly the ability to download and evaluate the text before applying for the translation.
Was there a TWB project you translated that particularly touched you in some way?
Some time ago, I took part in a translation project about diseases which are quite rare in Western Europe but still significant in some parts of the African continent, such as tuberculosis, leprosy and malaria. A family member of mine was a very active member of a French fundraising association against leprosy, so it was a really good opportunity to get first-hand information about it from him in order to do a good translation job.
Is there any particular memorable anecdote from your TWB experience that you could share with us?
Yes, after having completed a big TWB translation project for Kiva (about 25,000 words), I received really nice gifts from Jomay Liu who was in charge of this project for Kiva at that time. I still use one of them during my bike rides with my partner: It is a flask with the Kiva logo on it. Jomay, if you read this interview, thank you again!
What challenges, if any, are you facing or did you face as a Translator without Borders?
As many other translators, I generally have to deal with deadline issues while completing a project. Fortunately, the TWB deadlines are often quite generous and I have time to go further into some medical technical matters which I do not completely understand and this research helps me to have better expertise both as a volunteer as well as a paid translator.
What do you enjoy doing to take a break from translation?
I try to allow some time in the working week to spend time with my partner and our two dogs (one of them is in the picture). I also love cooking which is, for me, a very good way to take a break and to “find inspiration again”.
Thank you very much Eric!