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As a French individual of Caribbean cultural background I was raised in a multi-lingual environment.
Born and raised in the Caribbean, I’ve spent many of my formative years going back and forth between continental France and the Caribbean French territory which was the home of my family. This is the reason why I was exposed early on to several variants of spoken and written French as well as to other languages such as Martinican, Guadeloupean, Haitian (all three being variants of a single language often mislabelled as being creole), English and Spanish.
While I was soon able to understand and speak a few words in Martinican, Guadeloupean, Haitian and English, my exposition to and interest for Spanish was not enough to foster a positive environment leading me to master that language at a satisfactory level.
Spending years living in Paris and then in other parts of continental France has been an experience which has broadened my cultural understanding of own native languages. I have been a bookworm for a very long time. I have been literally swallowing books after books since I first learned to read. At first, it was only in French. After a while I was able to do the very same in English too. Reading gave me a wider understanding of cultures outside my own.
Culture defines the ways in which people will use their language.
A former great colonial power like France has many important cultures and subcultures to thank for the emergence of what France is today in every aspects. Language is one of them.
Writing came next. I started writing a comic book for my own personal satisfaction at age 9 and didn’t write anything more until I turned 11. I was mostly writing songs at the time. The next year I started my first attempt at adult fiction. That’s also when I started to write in English (and you guessed it, this is one of the reasons I’m so comfortable writing in English…).
Writing songs or short-stories, drawing, painting, exploring photography, studying languages and film-making and then much later exploring digital art or teaching foreign languages are all experiences which have contributed to shape the person I am today.
To be a translator, you need education and training in terms of writing,translating and languages in themselves. However, experiencing life in several languages gives one a deeper understanding of what these language and translation classes are trying to teach you. These are the defining things which have make a significant impact on how I approach translation.