Whilst languages have always held a deep fascination, this fascination forms part of a greater interest in the world around me. For me, learning a language is simply a means by which to penetrate the social and cultural diversities of the exciting world we live in.
A good translation, in my view, is the product of the following:
* a complete command of the target language;
* a clear understanding of the subject matter in the source language;
* an inquisitive, discerning mind, and;
* a variation in style to target the reader audience effectively.
However, the conversion of text into a foreign language is not the be-all-and-end-all of a translator's existence. The translator must be a jack-of-all-trades:
Whilst a translation may be simply seen as the end product, it is often the result of painstaking research. As well as an insatiable curiosity, the tools of our trade are dictionaries, glossaries, electronic databanks and the internet. And of course, from time to time it may be necessary to call in fellow translators and other on-the-spot subject-specific experts.
Building a long-term rapport with a client is likewise an important part of the translator's remit. After all, an understanding of the client's needs and requirements is essential to the successful execution of a translation project.
* 1976-1979: BA (Hons) Geography, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
* 1981: Post-graduate diploma in Marketing, Bristol Polytechnic
* 1986: Dutch as a Second Language (Nederlands als Tweede Taal)
* 1994-2000: Degree in Photography (specialisatiegraad), Kunstakademie, Hasselt
* 2002-2004: Bachelor of Education (English), Fontys Hogeschool, Sittard
* 1982-1984: Publicity Manager, Pains-Wessex, Salisbury (GB)
* 1986-1995: European Affairs Officer, Revalidatie Informatie Centrum, Hoensbroek
* 1990-present: Freelance translator
* 2002-2004: Part-time teaching (English) at secondary schools in Parkstad
* 2003-present: Part-time teacher of English at Volkshochschule Aachen
Working in the goldfish bowl that is translation, it is imperative to maintain a keen interest in the world outside and keep a healthy perspective on life.
During a long day at the computer, it's nice to switch off by taking off to the local countryside for a jog, or, if the work schedule permits, a long walk with the dog to clear the mind.
Having been born and brought up in Manchester, I follow the fortunes of my local football team, Manchester United, with an avid interest.
But when summer comes around, the only sport that matters is cricket. After successfully relaunching a cricket club in Heerlen in 2003, as club secretary, this takes up a great deal of my time.
And with lots of family and friends still in England, regular visits there help me to keep in tune with the lingo.
If time permits I like to sit down with a good book or bend my mind with a cryptic crossword.