An elegant weapon for a more civilized age

As a translator, I will usually say that I see myself more as a craftsman than as an artist. And if something defines a good craftsman, it’s using the right tools. But what are the tools of the translator? Let’s think:

  • Word-processing software
  • Dictionaries (monolingual, bilingual, technical, synonyms, slang, swear words, onomatopoeia… ALL the dictionaries)
  • Spellchecking software
  • Reference books (glossaries, manuals, etc.)
  • An online encyclopedia
  • CAT tools?
  • Generative artificial intelligence (Why not? Read this.)

I already have all this and use it regularly. Is that everything, though? No! I’m forgetting the most fundamental of them all, and eagle-eyed readers who appreciate my subtle talent for image editing have already guessed what it is: the keyboard. (Because I’m indeed not translating with a pen, finding it dangerously deprived of any backup function.)

The keyboard, then. But not just any keyboard.

James Grady – Le dernier grand train d’Amérique

I could’ve written a sober post announcing that the book is out. This is not that article.

Here it is, at last! The first novel I’ve ever translated is released today. Which means you’ll be able to go to a real bookshop, to open a real book and to find my very own name on both the title page AND the back cover — and potentially buy it with real money, but that is up to you. It might not mean much to you, but I can’t stop being amazed at this having become my job. Almost two years ago to the day, Rivages Noir asked me to try my hand at translating this book I had read for them, and today… it actually exists, and has the beautiful cover you can see above.

New year and not so vain wishes

Choo chooing into 2024

I feel like I have begun all the posts on this blog by apologising for not writing more. So here’s my sole new year blog resolution (which is dual, see how I’m already trying to wriggle out of it). This year, I want to:

  • Stop apologising for not writing more.
  • Write more.

That should work.

But to the matter at hand. Speaking of writing, and publishing, I can finally announce the upcoming release of my first translation: Le dernier grand train d’Amérique, by James Grady (originally published in 2022 with a very sober title: This Train).


Logo AdventureX

Prospection isn’t always the most gratifying part of my job as an independent translator. But sometimes, it can be incredibly exciting. It was the case when I visited a narrative game conference which took place in London on November 4-5: AdventureX.

AdventureX is an event organized by passionate people, for passionate people. Since 2011, they have gathered each year the big names in game narrative, for talks on a variety of topics. For instance, those I attended this year were about, amongst other things, the use of history as a source of inspiration (Sagar Beroshi), the representation of medical conditions in video games (Marina Sciberras), or “making games for real”, that is how to infuse games with reality without doing so artificially (Chella Ramanan). I went out of every talk with way too many notes, and a new perspective on things.

06/23 – Some news

At the beginning of the year, I told myself “come on, try and write one post a month about your daily life as a translator, it’ll be interesting and it shouldn’t take too long”. Well, that didn’t happen. So here are some jumbled news, taken from the aforementioned daily life, which has been busier than I’d planned:

1/ I’ve handed in my very first novel translation! I can’t say anything about it, which is horribly frustrating (see picture below), but I’m happy with my work. Now, I’m waiting for the publisher’s feedback. And I’m… not entirely relaxed about it.

Carlo Dolci, Allégorie de la patience, 1677.
Carlo Dolci, Allegory of patience, 1677. She clearly can’t take it any longer.
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Noémie Grunenwald – Sur les bouts de la langue

Cover of Noémie Grunenwald's essay, "Sur les bouts de la langue - Traduire en féministe/s"
(La Contre Allée, 2021 ; collection Contrebandes)

It’s been three months since I’ve finished this book, and I only bring myself to write this post today. I am awed by it. Not that it is unapproachable, like some of the great translation classics (Benjamin’s “The Translator’s Task“, for instance). On the contrary, Grunenwald’s essay is written in a quite simple, even welcoming language. But it is certainly not without depth, and it is doing something important. This short post will surely not do it justice, but I hope you’ll come out of it wanting to take a look at this book.

Werewolves in translation

There are those authors you wish you could translate, and Stephen Graham Jones is one of them for me. I discovered his work during my internship at the éditions Rivages in 2021: they asked for my thoughts on The Only Good Indians, and whether we should translate it. I was both convinced and enthusiastic: this tribute to slasher movies dealing with what it means to be an Indian today is a gem, as raw in its tone as it is refined in its language. Roughly a year later, the deed is done: Un Bon indien est un indien mort has been published, and the French press loves it.

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.)


This cryptic title is the abbreviation used for the activity I’ve been busy with for the past months: localisation (L + 10 letters (count them!) + n — clever, innit?) But what is localisation? Mainly, it is the name given to software, videogame and website translation. Why a different name? Because although localisation is a form of translation, with all the cultural adaptation it entails, it has technical specificities which I will discuss briefly.


Lexinomicon - VF - Détail.

Although I have worked in the publishing industry and I know that a book is a product like any other, I still have some reverence for the physical object. The Lexinomicon, a one-page RPG by Grant Howitt and Becky Annison, lets us desacrate said object once and for all.