We have some wonderful translators – and it is lovely to hear their thoughts on life as a linguist. In the first of what we hope will become a regular series, we are delighted to feature French translator Pierre Burggraf, whom we have known for many years. Pierre is a highly experienced technical translator and is also real pleasure to work with. Please see below Pierre’s answers to our questions:
1. What attracted you to working with languages?
Learning another language is similar to discovering a new territory and helps understanding the culture / civilisation of a country.
2. What are your favourite subject areas and how did you become interested in them?
I have been working in the field of Patents for some 25 years, in particular in telecommunications, information technology and mechanical engineering.
I find it easier to “connect” with a text of a technical nature that is tangible and has a practical application.
A new invention reflects the creative capabilities of an individual. So many inventions are designed to improve our daily lives. It is interesting to read about the background and the sequence of events which brought about a new idea.
3. What do you enjoy most about being a translator?
It is a profession in which the individual has the opportunity to learn something new every day. It represents a challenge for the mind.
(At the ATC conference in Brighton, we heard speakers use terms like “a solutions architect” and “a solutionist”!)
It is also a way of keeping up-to-date with developments in technology.
One derives a certain satisfaction from being seen as a link, or a communication channel, between two languages.
4. Where in the world would you love to travel to?
Japan – because of the coexistence of deeply rooted traditions and hi-tech innovation.
Or Egypt – a country steeped in history.
5. We’ve all seen amusing mistranslations. What’s the most memorable one you’ve seen?
Emergency exit only = Urgence sort seul
(label on clothes) Gentle cycle = Aimable bicyclette
Ozone safe = Coffre-fort d’ozone
Thank you very much indeed to Pierre for his thoughtful replies – and we did giggle at those mistranslations! Pierre is pictured on the left below with our Managing Director Mark at the conference of the Association of Translation Companies in Brighton in the South of England.