Based in Tunisia, Beya joined our growing list of Gengo Wordsmiths last year and she firmly believes translation opened up her world in different ways. An English teacher and French to English translator, she is passionate in everything she does and reminds fellow translators about the greater value and impact of this profession.
Occupation: English teacher
Gengo translator since: August 2014
Language pair: French to English
What languages do you speak?
Arabic, French, English
If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be and why?
Japanese. Because I love Japanese culture, customs and traditions. I am also a fan of manga and anime.
Do you have experience living in other countries? If so, where?
No, but I have visited other countries like Turkey and Morocco. Discovering new countries and cultures never fails to fascinate me.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you enjoy being a translator and why?
9. Translating is a “gate-opener” and it opens up doors and horizons. On a more global perspective, a translated text provides access, beyond language, to a whole different culture, to new fields of study, and it feeds our curiosity of learning about the world. I feel that translating pushes me to research, to learn, to discover. I am not the same person after each text I translate, and knowing that I am contributing in opening those doors is really rewarding.
How has translating for Gengo impacted your life?
Translating for Gengo impacted my life on so many levels. Not only did it help me grow linguistically, it also provided me with other opportunities and encouraged me to learn more. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I say it changed my life. It also gave me hope.
When you were growing up, what did you aspire to become?
I have always aspired to be an English teacher. I am now practicing my passion which makes it a pleasure rather than just a job.
Name three of your favorite translation / language learning tools.
Aside from dictionaries and websites, I like Memsource, audiobooks and translation books, particularly Jean-Paul Viney and Jean Darbelnet’s Comparative Stylistics of French and English: A methodology for translation which is translated by Juan C. Sager and M.J. Hamel. It covers many details from basic to more complex notions and technicalities. It also provides a great theoretical framework for the translation process and contains the necessary information for translators to enrich their linguistic knowledge.
Recommend three of your favorite language-related books/films.
In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation by Mona Baker. This is a good book for both beginners and professional translators. I also recommend The Atoms Of Language by Mark C. Baker, and also, Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching by Jack C. Richards which I always refer to for my teaching job.
What advice would you give to new or aspiring translators?
Persevere and work hard. Over time, you will feel the change and improvement of your skills and abilities. Stay up-to-date with global events, learn new vocabulary, in the different languages you speak and write. Resourcefulness is also important to help you be more accurate. Finally, practice is key. And as the Gengo team always points out, take a break when needed!
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
Do not rush decisions and take your time. Think carefully and plan for the future while trying your best to improve your character and personality. The little details count in defining the bigger picture. No matter what life puts you through, make sure you always make the best out of that situation. Never lose your sense of purpose.
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