Hall of fame: Christine
Another polyglot gets the nod and enters the hall of fame this year. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Christine is a French, Portuguese and Spanish to English translator whose exposure to different cultures and languages has contributed to her accomplishments as a Gengo Wordsmith. She advises newer translators to always invest sufficient time and effort in their work, no matter the earnings.
What languages do you speak and what are your experiences with learning them?
French was the first foreign language I learned—I went on a three-month exchange and summer bursary program while I was in high school, and then lived in Quebec for eight years during university. When I was around 30, I learned Spanish on my own to be able to do medical work in Latin America. Afterward, I did online courses and read a lot in Spanish. I now find Spanish a much easier language to work in. I’ve also studied German, Latin, Biblical Greek, Tagalog, Portuguese, Inuktitut and Italian—but often forget what I’ve learned and have to relearn it, which is much faster the second time around. I’m currently working on Portuguese. I use Duolingo a lot to practice translation and for fun, since I love translating.
What are your favorite translation tools?
WordReference is my go-to tool, but I also use Linguee a lot. Whenever I come across a good specialized term bank—for example, shoes or watches—I add it to my favorites tab. And the Government of Canada has an excellent term bank for technical terms across English, French and Spanish. I don’t use CAT tools much except through Gengo, just because I am not a full-time translator and don’t want to invest in software.
What are your tips to become a Wordsmith?
My only tip is to be very thorough all the time, right from the beginning. Even if a job has a reward of $0.16 and you have to spend 10 minutes figuring out the perfect term by searching for images or Wikipedia terms and comparing them in different languages. It’s worth it in the end because the information you learn while doing it will add to your linguistic competence. There is no job that is beneath any of us. There will be lots of times that you’ll lose money in the beginning to make money at the end. Like anything else, translation is an investment.
Want to become a Gengo translator?