Eric Ragu

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!

Anne Diamantidis