One year on

School’s out forever!

It’s back to school time! And for only the second time in over thirty years, I’m not part of it. Indeed, I’m wrapping up my first year as an independent translator, and it’s time to take stock (and for some quite good news.)

First, and most importantly: I love this job. Despite the rhythm changes (some weeks are packed, others utterly chill), the uncertainty (switching from a reliable teacher job to “hmm, how much am I going to earn next month?”), and a financial downturn (caviar days are over!), I wouldn’t go back for all the gold in the world. Getting up in the morning with no more serious professional issues (apart from having my invoices paid…) than finding how to translate such and such particularly tricky phrase… it’s pure joy. At least it is to me.

Secondly, and quite importantly: I’ve had more than enough work. After a lull which lasted from October to December 2021, during which nobody seemed to need my services (except from actezéro, thanks to them, I’ll come back to that), I was lucky enough to be hired by the Warlocs, a collective of game localisers. Since then, probably because the more you work, the more you work, I’ve had my hands full. Here are the main projects I’ve worked on:

Tombstar (Steam, with the Warlocs), a twin stick shooter with rogue-like elements, in a space-western absurd setting. Many stupid puns, and a very funny game I’ve translated in collaboration with Killian Nari.

Lord Winklebottom Investigates (Steam, with the Warlocs), a point’n’click in which a giraffe and an hippo troublingly reminiscent of Sherlock & Watson investigate the death of an axolotl. A very weird and resolutely British tone that I quite liked. I’ve only translated a part of it, the rest having been done by Christophe Pallarès, a.k.a. “boss” (he loves when I call him that).

Sunshine Manor (Steam, with the Warlocs), a horrific hommage to 8-bit Japanese RPGs, in which you explore a haunted manor and try to help its denizens. A nostalgic trip for those who love pixelated horror.

Under the Waves (Steam, for actezéro), a submarine narrative adventure game developed by the French of Parallel Studio, with actezéro at the narrative helm. They entrusted me with translating Rik Godwin’s prose, and let’s just say I cannot wait for you to get your hands on the game (not before 2023, as far as I know).

Outside of localisation work, I’ve also translated the preface of a book on Michael Kenna‘s tree photographs, to be published by Skira. It’s allowed me to discover the fabulous work of an artist I only knew by name. I’ve also translated the subtitles for two short documentaries featured in the next exhibition at the EPFL, Cosmos Archeology (16.9.2022–5.2.2023).

Last but not least, and it might not for you but it means a lot to me: I was hired to translate my first novel! I can’t say much more than that, except that it’ll be published by Payot & Rivages, and more precisely by Rivages Noir since it is crime fiction… Which means that someday, in bookshops, there’ll be a book in which you’ll be able to read “Translated by Clément Martin”… which is crazy.

Clément Martin… hereafter named “the translator”. Crazy.

To wrap it all up, I feel infinitely lucky, and I’m starting this new (school) year with a lot of enthusiasm for all the projects to come — and with a book to translate! What a life.
Who would’ve thought?