Translator Talk

Lisa Sheppard -TranslatorOne of our favourite English freelancers to work with is Montreal translator Lisa Sheppard. Her translations are more than just accurate—they’re engaging and easy to read! Here’s a glimpse into her world.

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

I love Rollerblading along the Lachine Canal; I need a good workout after a day sat at my desk. I’ve also started playing piano again. It’s nice to get the brain working in a completely different way.

What’s your biggest language pet peeve?

Platitudes. I once was trapped an entire evening in a conversation with a man whose reply to every statement was: “It is what it is. There’s no getting away from it.” It ended badly.

What’s the latest addition to your library?

How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator by Corinne McKay. I recently made the scary leap from in-house to freelance. This book is full of simple, practical tips on finding clients, billing, marketing, improving your CV, organizing your workspace  . . .

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

I actually never thought I would be a translator. I’ve always loved writing. It wasn’t until it clicked that a good translator must also be a good writer that realized this was a career I could enjoy.

What’s your go-to source for inspiration?

I like reading different magazines to see how people write about finance, travel, art, current affairs, technology . . .

What’s your dream translation project?

Johnny Depp’s 24/7 personal interpreter, of course! Now that Vanessa’s out, he can’t possibly understand what the French are saying. Anyway, he’ll need me when he traipses across South America.

What do you think about social media and its effects on language?

I love the way people always find a way to communicate no matter the constraints. These days, it’s about speed and impact, and language is taking a beating. Transformation of language is natural, but there’s a place for everything, I think—you wouldn’t want to read an entire novel in Twittese, would you? LOL

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