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This career has chosen me – Interview with translator Iris Permuy

This is the latest in our series of interviews with translators from all over the globe. Translation is a very diverse industry – we want to introduce some of the people behind making the world a more multilingual place. This episode is an interview with Iris Permuy.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Translation interview with Iris C. PermuyI am a 27 year-old with the double nationality French-Spanish. I have been translating professionally since 2011, but the first time I translated something was when I was a kid. My family from France came to Spain and needed an interpreter to follow them around 🙂 Then I studied Translation at the University of Murcia and I have my Master’s degree from the UAB on Audiovisual Translation. I am on Facebook, Twitter , WordPress, and LinkedIn.

How did you decide to be a translator? What makes you passionate about languages?

When I was 13 I heard a Bon Jovi song I loved very much, and I decided to translate it. I spoke no English whatsoever, but with the help of a dictionary I managed to “translate” it, more or less. I liked it, and started to do so with all his albums, the musical Grease, and many other songs. By the time I had to choose a career, I realized the career had already chosen me.

What have you done to improve your translation skills in the last year?

Apart from finishing my Master’s degree, I have attended several courses on transcreation, poetry translation, subtitling, screenwriting…

How do you prepare for a translation project?Traducarte in our translation interview

Typically I read the text, look for glossaries on the subject if I do not have them already, ask the questions that I might have, and start translating. The urgent nature of the texts and videos I usually translate do not allow for further preparation.

What aspects of your job are the most challenging?

Probably, the projects which come with an extremely tight deadline. I combine my translating career with my teaching job, and sometimes the schedules overlap and that results in sleepless nights and unexistent weekends.

What excites you the most about the languages you work with?

French is the most beautiful language, in my opinion. As for English, its flexibility, its many nuances and its innovative character make it a gripping language.

What is the funniest translation experience you can remember?

Honestly, I have not translated many funny texts in these three years. However, my Master’s thesis is about the translation of puns in TV shows, and that was really amusing to research. Also, although it is not funny per se, I have a lot of fun when I translate poetry.

What are good or bad things about freelancing?

Good: you design your own schedules. Bad: not really. It is true that being a freelancer allows you a certain flexibility on your working hours, and that’s fantastic for travelling and parenting, for instance. However, when a project comes your way very often you cannot say no (or you don’t want to) and that may mean sleep deprivation and too much coffee. Besides, when you are a freelancer you have always the uncertainty of how much (or even whether) you are going to earn each month.

What are you wishes for 2014? What excites you, what are you skeptical about?

I wish more translation jobs, hopefully for dubbing, and also for my PhD to get started. But you cannot consider that strictly a wish, since it depends mainly on me and my performance. I don’t like to be skeptical about anything, I have been shown too many times that the implausible can be achieved, so I just keep trying and trying harder.

What would you pass on as personal advice to new translators?

Don’t give up! I know, economy is bad, freelancing is hard, translation rates are terrible. But the news is: only you can change that, with your effort, endurance and determination.

Thanks to Iris for the answers!

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