How Do You Translate “Intervenant”?

Montreal Syllabus TranslationThe French term “intervenant” translates literally as “one who intervenes.” Sounds easy enough, until you ask yourself—what on earth does that mean?

I’m still hoping to find an English-equivalent, catch-all word that will serve as the perfect translation for this ambiguous term, but until then, context is everything. Ask yourself, who is intervening? How are they intervening? In other words, who is doing what?

I recently translated a text where “intervenant” kept cropping up and, in the end, I opted for several different translations. Why? Because different people were doing different things. In some cases, the intervening parties were psychologists; in other instances, they were youth workers. Nobody was a stakeholder. Be wary of this translation—unless a person or an entity truly has a stake in something.

Sometimes, the “one who intervenes” is simply a worker, doing their job. In which case, “person” or “employee” might do the trick.

The best approach is simply to consider what the sentence is saying, and then the perfect equivalent in English should become pretty clear.

How do you translate this tricky term?

© Luis Louro –

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