Where does your passion for translation come from?
I grew up in a French-speaking family in West Flanders, so translating things for my mother was something I’ve always done. The building where we live also largely consists of French speakers, so neighbours also occasionally asked me if I could translate something for them here and there. And I always did it with great pleasure. For me, translating text is like a puzzle or a mathematical problem, I like to put the pieces in the right place to discover the right picture.
What route did you follow?
As a young adult, I didn’t immediately end up translating, I made a few detours trying my hand at law and computer science, but I ended up with my first passion, languages. I have a bachelor’s degree in French-English applied linguistics from the VUB, and I had the opportunity to spend a semester at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, during that study as part of the Erasmus+ programme. I backed up this study with a master’s degree in translation, and then I did an internship at the terminology department of the Directorate-General for Translation of the European Commission.
How many languages do you speak?
I was raised in French in Flanders, so my school career was always in Dutch. Although French is technically my mother tongue, Dutch is my first language, and also the language into which I translate.
My parents had a holiday home on the Costa del Sol, so I spent much of my childhood playing with Spanish children. In high school, I did 2 years of Spanish to improve that base a bit.
Before I left for Erasmus, I already had a C2 level in English before I left for Ireland, but I was certainly able to improve it there. A few years ago, I had also taken some Japanese lessons in preparation for a trip to Tokyo, but unfortunately I have not followed up on that any more, so my knowledge is negligible. I hope to pick it up again one day. This year, I am also starting evening classes in Hindi, the mother tongue of my Mauritian mother, and I of course hope to continue this!
When did you start working as a translator?
As a freshly graduated translator, I was immediately offered a job at Right Ink in 2021, an opportunity that I obviously seized with both hands!
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Studious, ideological and helpful. Studious is the first thing that comes to mind, and anyone who knows me would also agree, my smartphone is my best friend because I can look everything up right away, even though I’m in the middle of a conversation. I like to read, and do so a lot, and not just fiction. Whether it’s parallel universes, the history of languages, or an obscure philosophical question, I always like to learn something new! I am also very interested in more ideological topics. I study topics that are close to my heart and therefore find it quite important to also spread this ideology in an understandable and friendly way. I don’t do this on big platforms, but during friendly conversations, because informing people is, in my opinion, the only way to make them come to insights themselves. I also consider myself very helpful. If someone asks for my help, I will go to great lengths to help that person, and I will actually put even more effort into it than I would do for myself.