Our translator this month is Ruth Bartlett, a French to English translator with a very interesting profile!
NAME: RUTH BARTLETT
PROFESSION: TRANSLATOR & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT WORKER
WORK LANGUAGES: FRENCH AND ENGLISH
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: SALTAIRE (UK)
What kind of translation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
The bulk of my work involves translating reports and other documents for government departments, think tanks and non-governmental organisations.
Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?
I get up early, at about 6-7 am (because I live in the UK I am an hour behind most of my clients and like to be at my desk and settled before them). I feed the cats and make a (very strong!) coffee. I answer any urgent emails then get straight down to work on my translations, pushing my cat Jake off my computer at regular intervals. I have lunch at around 1pm and then have quite a long break. My brain tends to go to sleep in the afternoon so I prefer to go for a walk rather than work. I like to take advantage of the beautiful spot I live in, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. I start work again at about 4pm and usually work through until about 8pm.
What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
I find translation to be quite a ‘mindful’ activity and I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment upon delivering a translation. I also enjoy keeping in touch with my ‘French’ side now that I’m settled back in the UK.
Which aspects do you least enjoy?
Sometimes it can be hard juggling all of the different aspects of running a business. IT in particular can be tricky when you don’t have an IT department to support you!
I get a little frustrated when French clients correct my English!
How long have you been working as a translator?
I started working as a translator in 2008.
Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator?
My degree is in History and French. There was a small translation component of my degree but I have no formal training as a translator. This is one of the reasons I decided to sit the exam to become a qualified member of the ITI.
What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator?
Upon leaving university I moved straight to Paris where I worked as a programme coordinator for the intercultural organisation, AFS Vivre Sans Frontière (www.afs.fr). I then spent a year working as an assistant at the European Commission to the OECD and UNESCO before becoming a researcher in the Labour and Social Affairs team at the British Embassy in Paris. It was a once-in-a-lifetime role that involved everything from organising ministerial and state visits to negotiating the Anglo-French Memorandum of Understanding on education. A key part of my work involved researching and writing diplomatic dispatches and briefing for ministers, speeches, web articles, newsletters, reports and much more. As you can imagine, the bar was set very high and the research and writing skills I perfected at the Embassy have proved invaluable in my work as a translator.
Is translation your sole professional work? If not, in what other fields are you involved?
I recently took on some paid community development work for the Multi-Story Water project which celebrates the waterways of my local area. This evolved quite organically from the volunteer work I had been doing in my local community. The project is very wide-ranging and difficult to describe in a nutshell but you can find out more here: http://multi-story-shipley.co.uk. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to do something completely different and meet three-dimensional people!
English and Spanish > French translator
French and Spanish teacher (face-to-face/Skype)