Let’s extend a warm welcome to a translator, whom I have become friends with after working together on several of my books (not that he needed any help from me 🙂 )
What is your name?
Where are you from, Luc?
Originally from Belgium but I am now residing in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico
Are you a full-time translator or are you free-lance?
I’m a freelance translator for Babelcube, since I have other occupations as well.
My Babelcube Profile can be found at: https://www.babelcube.com/user/luc-wyn
What made you want to become a translator?
I’ve always been fascinated by languages and, contrary to sciences, learning them comes natural to me. I guess this process had its early beginnings when I was a small boy and used to play with an Italian boy on holiday. Neither of us knew each other’s language but we managed three weeks of communication by exchanging names of certain toys and objects and colours and so on. That’s probably when and where ‘the fuse was lit’.
What languages do you translate from and into?
Currently most of my translations are either from Spanish or English into my own language, which is Dutch. I do also master German and French though and have on occasion translated from those languages as well.
What is your favourite language to translate?
Being the language aficionado I am, I don’t really have a favourite language, as all of them have their innate specialities and all of them are interesting in one way or another. Some do present a bit more challenge as others however.
What have you translated?
I have translated a number of books in a number of genres, ranging from novels to books about antique tools and engravings on them. The majority consists of novels though.
What made you decide for a career as translator?
The profound love, or even obsession, you might say, for languages and everything connected with them that I’ve had since early childhood. I guess you might say I’ve inherited my mother’s inquisitiveness and express that through my love for languages.
If you could give a beginning translator a piece of advice, what would it be?
Be selective about what you accept. And be perfectionist and thorough once you’ve accepted it. Reread meticulously what you’ve translated before you hand it in or upload it.
Have you ever written something of your own, and if so, in what genre?
I did do some short writing when I was young. Those were experiments with short stories inspired by people like Edgar Allen Poe and the likes. Other than that I tend to get into poetry once in a (very long) while.
Tea or coffee?
I like both in their own way with a preference for coffee.
What is your favourite foreign food?
Well, although it’s technically not really ‘foreign food’ any more as such, pizza is among the top 5 here. I also like moussaka a lot, which is a Greek dish, or the tajine and cousocus from North Africa. I’m quite partial to oriental food as well, but steer clear from anything spicy.
Either, depending on the moment
Wine or beer or pop?
Wine with food, but otherwise, beer. Never pop!
Where would you like to visit?
Anywhere I haven’t been yet 🙂
Favourite musical artist. Do you listen to music when you write? What?
My taste in music is very extensive and depends on the moment. While working I tend to prefer music without lyrics so I can concentrate on what I’m doing. That would mostly be either classical or soundtracks, which are a kind of classical I their own way, I think
What makes you laugh?
British humour mostly. And the innocence of kids and animals.
Favourite work of art or sculpture.
One of my favourite works of art is ‘The Grieving Parents’, a pair of statues at the German ‘Soldatenfriedhof’ in Vladslo, in the province of West Flanders, Belgium. These have always impacted me, without being able exactly to put my finger on the precise reason for that. Maybe because being a parent myself, I wouldn’t want to be in the kind of situation the parents of the lost generation found themselves in. Apart from that I also like Michelangelo. As far as painters go, there are a few, such as Anton Pieck, Escher, and Rien Poortvliet.
How old were you when you started writing?
I have always written, ever since early childhood, as I’m fascinated by languages and enjoy the creative process of putting my thoughts on paper. I’ve mostly written poetry and some short stories ages ago. Plans for more extended projects remain. So far I’ve never published anything of myself though.
Do you plan out your book with outlines and note-cards? Or just write?
If I were to write a real extended literary work someday, I would probably just start writing and let the inspiration guide me. Go along with the flow, as it were.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Anywhere. It just takes an open, receptive mind.
What do you do when you get a writer’s block?
Since I haven’t written anything really substantial, I can’t say I have had to deal with this particular problem. With respect to writing poetry, I do that ‘when the feeling is right’, as in my opinion one can’t force that.
Who is your favourite author?
George Orwell is up there on my list, as is Aldous Huxley. But I’m interested in any kind of reading really.
Best book you ever read.
The Agony and the Ecstasy left me quite impressed.
Last book you read.
Professionally, ‘Samos’ by a gentleman called Cisco Bonilla. Privately, Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’ (again).
What would you do for a living if you weren’t a translator?
Without a doubt something else involving languages.
Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
Probably myself, for better or worse, because of the decisions I made throughout.
If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
Mahatma Ghandi. I’ve always admired him.
What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a translator?
Be obsessive about it, and perfectionist. Anything less is not acceptable.
Thank you, Luc Wyn.
You can see which books of mine Luc Wyn has translated on this page on this blog: