08 Sep The Place of Translated Literature in the US: an Interview with Translator Eve Bodeux (Podcast #20)
Episode #20 – The Challenges and Rewards of Being a French to English Translator, and the Place of Translated Literature in the US: an Interview with Eve Bodeux
By Marleen Seegers, Co-Founder of 2 Seas Agency and Host of The Make Books Travel Podcast
September 8, 2020
Today I’m speaking with French-to-English translator Eve Bodeux.
As a translator, Eve is someone who literally makes books travel. We discuss many things, including her professional journey, the rewards and challenges of being a translator from French to English, the American Translators Association (ATA), the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on her work, and why the English language book market is so challenging for translated literature.
Here are some of the questions I asked Eve during our interview:
- Can you tell us a bit about the American Translators Association’s history and activities?
- What has the impact of the pandemic been on your activities, both as a translator and as Director of the ATA?
- For you personally, what are the biggest challenges and rewards of being a French-to-English translator?
- What are your thoughts on the different payment structures for translators (a fixed upfront fee versus an advance plus royalties on sales)?
- Why do you think the English language market, and in particular the US market, is so challenging for books in translation?
- Has your personal enthusiasm for a French book already led to the sale of the English rights?
- What is the ONE piece of advice you have for students who are thinking about becoming a translator?
- Eve’s book recommendations:
– Natalia Ginzburg, Family Lexicon (translated from the Italian by Jenny McPhee; NYRB Classics, 2017)
– Bess Kalb, Nobody Nobody Will Tell You This But Me: A true (as told to me) story (Knopf, 2020)
She also mentioned:
– Sayaka Murata, Convenience Store Woman (translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori; Grove Press, 2018)
– Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove: A Novel (translated from the Swedish by Henning Koch; Atria Books, 2014)
- The American Translators Association: https://www.atanet.org/
- Lisa Carter’s blog post on royalties and literary translation: https://intralingo.com/posts/10-truths-on-royalties-and-literary-translation
- Interview with Jenny McPhee, the translator of Family Lexicon: https://youtu.be/6MmCn2NFmg0
- Pew Research article on language learning: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/08/06/most-european-students-are-learning-a-foreign-language-in-school-while-americans-lag
- About Eve:
Eve Bodeux is a dual French-American national and French-to-English translator with over 20 years of experience. She is certified by the American Translators Association and works with clients in France, Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the UK, the US and around the world. In addition to her commercial translation work, she has translated several children’s books, and romance and non-fiction works into English. She is co-host of the long-running Speaking of Translation podcast. She earned a BA in French and Political Science and a graduate degree from the University of Lorraine (Nancy II) in France and an MA from the University of Virginia. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the American Translators Association through 2021.
Thank you for listening, and enjoy!
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