Friday, October 19, 2012


“Woe to the makers of literal translations, who by rendering every word weaken the meaning! It is indeed by so doing that we can say the letter kills and the spirit gives life.” – Voltaire 


When: August, 2012

Where: The company is a Talent Agency in Michigan but I did the majority of my work from home, and incidentally I was able to do a large portion of my work while we were in Pennsylvania (the second time, we just got back a few days ago...more on that in a next week). And thank God that I was able to work at home, clearly I am unfamiliar with what is considered appropriate behavior in a professional office. Suffice it to say I said something really stupid in front of the CEO right after a booger flew out of my nose. I don't think I need to go into details-that really sums it up.

Why this is on my list: I became a Certified French Translator in 2008 and as well earned my B.A. is in French Language and Literature though I have never actively pursued a career in translation. There are many positions I applied for where my knowledge of the French Language was of value (never was I hired) though I simply had not got around to ardently searching for translation work. I read a book 'How To Become a Translator' and over the years did hundreds of searches online with the intention of registering myself with a translation website but there is a lot of paper work, information and translations you have to submit in order to create a profile. It seems like a long time, nearly 5 years to go without pursuing the very thing that I went to school for but I became pregnant in 2010 and knew how difficult it would be to translate with a little one at home. Yes it is something I can do out of the house however it is also something which requires a lot of concentration and focus and with cartoons, and toys and a sweet little girl who lovingly requires all my attention I knew that putting it on the back burner was something I certainly did not have a problem with.

How it came about:  Even though my Grandma passed away over 2 years ago I still keep in touch with her best friend of 50 years, Joyce who has kept a French pen pal over the years. When he sends letters, she often will send them to me to translate. I enjoy it immensely, this gentleman is very charming, very poetic, and has the absolute worst handwriting I have ever seen in my life. His letters are short but heavy with sentiments and it is no easy task deciphering which letters he has streamed together. day in August I got a phone call out of the blue from a woman, also named Allyson, saying that I was referred to her by the granddaughter of Joyce whose name is Monique. I was rather confused initially since I have never even met Monique and off the top of my head would not have even remembered that Joyce had a granddaughter named Monique. Without the mention of the Christmas cards I've translated I would have this was a solicitor.
     So this Allyson began basically begging me to work for them for a few weeks by saying everything she could to entice me including being completely willing to revolve around MY schedule. This has always been a dream of mine! That I would be sought out and fallen all over to have me work for a business/company. No application, no online job search, no follow up phone calls, no interview, no sucking up to the boss, no buying a new pant suit- it was awesome, very much a dream come true for me. You know how people always say 'you can't just sit around waiting for the phone to ring if you want employment' ....well...I do! Both this translation job and the wedding flowers I just did stemmed from a phone call that was totally out of the blue. I feel entitled to be a little impudent about this since I spent YEARS struggling to find a job, having extremely low paying jobs with bosses that treated me like garbage and all the while heavily struggling financially-broke doesn't begin to explain it! I certainly wasn't homeless but I cannot count how many times I had to scrounge up $1 in change just to get to my destination and then figure it out from there.

What was I translating? Resumes, contracts, employee handbooks, training manuals, legal documents, emails and conducting interviews over the phone with potential candidates.

What would I do differently? I don't think there's anything I could have done differently. I did the best job that I could. There were many nights I had to spend away from my daughter so I could complete this project and I hated that, I was always very anxious to get home to her but at the same time I am so glad and fortunate to have had this opportunity knock at my door. I think if God opens a door for you- walk through it-nobody can do that for you.

Will I continue on? I certainly hope to. Now that I have this vast experience under my belt I feel very confident moving forward and I am available to do any work this current Talent Agency will require of me in the future. And I now have a good idea of where to begin so I think in January I'm going to spend some time getting myself registered with some translation companies.

Was it life changing? Oh my goodness YES, YES, YES and then some! The pay is too embarrassing to even share with you, but let me put it this way- had it been any other 'job' in the world there is NO WAY I would have agreed to help them, the ONLY reason I did was because I have never had an opportunity to work as a professional translator and I knew the experience would prove invaluable. I certainly did not do this for the extra money, especially considering the amount of work involved, I did it for the value of it. To be able to actually have a job in the field of my study has made me feel (for the first time in my life) successful, accomplished and completely fulfilled in a professional capacity. It makes me feel so good about myself to actually be able to say 'I am a French translator.' This experience, like my degrees, is something that I will have forever and can never be taken from me. It also serves as strong, motivating encouragement to seriously consider a second degree in another language. I've studied Arabic and Russian at accredited schools and I kick myself all the time for not pursing German when I had the opportunity, so I would like to earn a degree or certification in any of those languages. Now that I know how valuable knowledge of the French language is to a Talent Agency of all things, I know that if I completed my studies in a language which has few translators I could really make something of myself.

“Translating should be an enriching intellectual experience and you should end a job as a different person." -Danilo Nogueira 


  1. Beautiful post. Translating is a beautiful art, hard to explain to those poor monolinguals, haha. Unfortunately I do a terrible job or translating, it takes me twice as long to say the simplest of things.

    1. Merci Shannon...and gracias too. I don't know about your translation but you are a LOVELY interpreter !!!! You really have quite a skill, you have a beautiful accent, you're quick and you don't have to spend a lot of time searching for your words I wish I had your interpretation skills!!!

  2. Thats great news! Well done on completing this job and getting the experience under your belt. It sounds like it was well worth doing and a real confidence boost. Am glad it's made you feel more fulfilled and accomplished and what a great opportunity.

    I look forward to hearing how you have registered with some different agencies and how your beginning to get new work when the new year comes:-)

    1. Thank you Dannie, yea, I'm going to wait until the new year because I am so behind on a zillion other things that I want to finish first before I start something ELSE !!!!


I'd really love to hear your thoughts! Comments will post after moderation.

You might also like....