Meet Valeria Fucci – a freelance translator who will be speaking on some of the challenges and opportunities of medical translation in a two-part presentation entitled “La langue spéciale de la médicine : les défis de la traduction médicale” at the upcoming conference in Biarritz, France.
MK: What was the most important obstacle for you to overcome in building your career as a language professional?
VF: I live in a town in southern Italy, thus far from the main industries which could be interested in my service. When I started my career, the Internet was still a dream, cellular phones were items for rich, “snob” people, and only some technologist-addicts knew what a modem was. The only way to look for customers and build a database was to get lists from the Yellow Pages and the Chamber of Commerce and the only way to contact them was the telephone, the fax and the mail (not e-mail), of course. So I think that the greatest obstacle I met was the difficulty to find clients and establish connections, since I was determined to work as a freelancer.
MK: What is the greatest issue facing translators working in France or with the French language?
VF: For decades, I would say for centuries, the French language has been a very important means of communication and also a sort of status symbol for those who knew, understood and spoke it. Unfortunately, this prominence has been “stolen” by the English language, mainly due to technological development. Personally I feel better with French than with English, but I work mainly with the latter. I don’t know exactly the situation of translators working in France or translating into French, as far as my experience is concerned the percentage of translations from French into Italian has been falling down year after year. Perhaps this depends on the fact that I mainly translate in the medical and pharmaceutical fields, where anyone writes in English. Once I translated a patent from English into Italian, which had been written by an Italian scientist! On the other hand, I think, for example, that literary translations from French is quite flourishing, especially novels by francophone, “exotic” authors. But we all know that, at least in Italy, literary translation is a world apart.
MK: Any client horror stories? (without naming names)
VF: Luckily, I have never had bad experiences with my clients. Our relationships have always been clear and friendly.
MK: What is your prediction for the future of human translation?
VF: I don’t want even imagine what a world of machine translation would be. I mean, when I translate, I visit many websites to understand certain things and find exact terminology, and more and more often I fall into machine-translated sites and I think that this is anti-ethical especially for those sites which are devoted to human health and life. I can’t imagine the reaction of a person who finds a site describing a disease he/she has and the possible treatment for this disease, and he/she understands nothing or, which is worse, changes one thing for another. No, definitely I am for human translation, machine translation could help, but it always needs to be revised, proofread, verified, checked by a human.
MK: At the upcoming conference in Biarritz, France, you will be presenting on the topic of “La langue spéciale de la médicine : les défis de la traduction médicale.” What can attendees to this two-part session expect to learn?
VF: I love my job and I would like to extend this love to newbies and whatnot. I think that when you love someone or something you take care of them. That’s the first objective of my presentation: to learn how to take care of a translation job, in this case the translation of medical documents, which are delicate items themselves and deserve special care. So what the attendees should expect is a conversation about the cures a document should receive when it “leaves” its own language and get transformed into another.
Join Valeria and other freelance language professionals on September 27 in Biarritz for the 6th ProZ.com conference in France.
You can learn more about this exciting event by visiting the conference page: