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What International Translation Day Means To Ad Astra

Translation Around the World - Translation - The more you know - Food for thought

September 30th marks International Translation Day. It’s a day to put a spotlight on one of the most unseen and thankless components of the written word in a global space. Translation is no mere press and click language conversion, it’s an incredibly artful and deliberate process of finding meaning for meaning across cultures, histories, and people. A good translation is one that you don’t even think of as you read it, one that entirely matches the intent and voice of the source material.

Today we talk to two of our internal translator, superstars to learn more about them and what International Translation Day means to them.

Let’s meet Lysane and Franco!

Avatar of Ad Astra Internal Translator Lysane

Name: Lysane Beauchamp

Location: Montréal, Canada

Role: Ad Astra Internal Team Translator

Tell us about yourself:

I’m Lysane! A bit about me… well I’ve been doing cheerleading for 18 years now, and coaching for 12 years at national and international levels. I also organize and coordinate cheerleading competitions in my free time.

I do crochet (knitting with a hook) and even have a small business related to it called Knotty Lyee, where I make crochet headbands, scrunchies, scarves, hats, dishcloths and even jewelry. I always like to play on words, even outside of translation.

I’m also a fashion enthusiast, I own A LOT of clothes, shoes and bags for someone that works from home!

I’m a mom of 3 cats and a rabbit. Before studying languages I really wanted to be a veterinarian.

What got you into translation? Where did your initial fascination with languages begin?

I always loved to read. Words to me are fascinating because they can tell a story in so many ways. I was also that one student that was correcting homework and essays at school for my friends, just because I enjoyed it and wanted to help.

My family is not bilingual, so I learned English mostly by myself and at school. When I was younger, I listened to a lot of spoken English songs and I wanted to understand the words I was singing. So that was my first introduction to translating. I wanted to study professional writing and editing at University, but somehow ended up in the translation program because I was really strong in English. I passed the test and I fell in love with this practice ever since!

What changes in the field do you see coming? What excites you about technology and other assistive tools being integrated into the process?

No matter what machines can do, translation will always need a human touch, and that applies with every language. Any text you translate is communicating to humans with different perceptions and experiences. You don’t just need someone to understand the language, but also someone that is able to detect the cultural references and the surroundings of the target audience. Quite simply, a machine can’t do that, and I doubt it will ever do.

I love that the tools to help us with project management or translation memories are getting better and better, this gives us time to tackle more projects and share communication globally much faster.

What does International Translation Day mean to you?

International Translation Day reminds me of my University days where it was the first time I heard about it. I cherish those years as I met some incredible people that shared all the same interests, and let’s say… we were not easy on the teachers! This is also St. Jerome Day, the Bible Translator (history time!), which is also the name of the city I grew up in, knowing this, I think I was meant to do this job! At the end of the day being able to apply my passion for language and people to this field is incredibly fulfilling.

Name: Franco Morfino

Location: Córdoba, Argentina

Role: Ad Astra Internal Team Translator

Tell us about yourself:

I love travel, spending time with friends and family. The usual stuff. But don’t laugh… I sing at the top of my lungs any song that I really feel in my heart. I really enjoy music and concerts. In some rare free time, I love to get on my PlayStation or play some old-school classic games like Pac-man and Mario Bros (yeah, I’m talking about the pixel-perfect originals!). I also have a serious collection of coffee mugs! Most people know what go to gift to get me for my birthday is ha.

What got you into translation? Where did your initial fascination with languages begin?

This might sound nerdy, but when I started studying Spanish grammar more formerly at school, I realized I found it surprisingly easy (unlike my friends). Something just clicked in the way structure, syntax and other components of sentence and word structure. That’s also the time I started studying English as a Second Language, which involved going doing hundreds of grammar exercises. Countless hours were spent really breaking this language apart and understanding it from the inside.  

In the process of becoming a translator, I was fascinated by how learning a new language improves your understanding of your own native language by giving you a different perspective. You begin identifying similarities and differences. It’s such a cool and unique process to experience.

What changes in the field do you see coming? What excites you about technology and other assistive tools being integrated into the process?

I have been asked lots of times, “Aren’t you afraid machines will eventually replace translators?” I have always given the same answer, “Not at all!” Technological tools make our job more efficient and they play an important role in the every-day life of translators. It’s like say having a calculator, or leveler in your tool kit. It’s just augmenting and aiding us to do better work. Even though technologies in the translation field are getting more and more sophisticated, I really doubt one day they will be able to do what we as human translators do.

What does International Translation Day mean to you?

It means a lot. It’s a day to put the spotlight on those who make intercultural communication possible and who tend to go unnoticed. Don’t get me wrong, the invisible translator is the best kind: their renditions are so accurate that the reader doesn’t even notice that the text was originally written in another language. International Translation Day is an opportunity to celebrate our work and to celebrate the importance of connecting people through language.