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Translator Talk

Rebecca AndersonTranslators tend to be a quiet bunch, hiding behind their computer screens and stacks of books. But there’s more to them than snappy sentences and perfect punctuation.

This month, translator and word buff Rebecca Anderson gives us a glimpse into what makes her tick.

How do you blow off steam after a tough day at the office?

Whenever I feel like my head is going to explode, I put on my running shoes and head for Mont-Royal. I also play in a women’s soccer league. I love the physical intensity and the laughter; it makes me feel like a kid again. It’s hard to think about work when you’re chasing a ball.

What’s your biggest language pet peeve?

My biggest language pet peeve is spelling mistakes on billboards and store fronts. It makes me cringe to think about all the money that went into making the ad, and yet nobody thought about having it proofed. It’s impossible to take an ad with a typo seriously.

Do you prefer editing on screen or off?

I always start editing on paper. I jot down a few notes, underline phrases that sound awkward. When I feel like I have a good idea of the types of edits I want to make, I move to the screen.

Do you listen to music while you work?

Always. When you see the headphones on, you can be sure I’m tuning you out and focusing on my text.

How do keep up with language as it changes?

My kids and my friends who are way cooler than me. I love the idea that language is always changing and I’m all for changing with it.

What’s the latest addition to your library?

Oxford’s Guide to Canadian English Usage. It is full of insightful explanations on Canadian word usage.

When did you know you were going to be a translator?

When I first read an enRoute magazine. I was blown away by how well both texts read. It was really exciting to see the two languages sitting happily together on the page. It’s still something I look forward to when I board an Air Canada flight.

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