Interview with professional translator Laurent Sfumat
Even if you have lived in French-speaking Switzerland for a while and you can converse in French with relative ease, writing in Swiss French is a different matter, particularly when it comes to writing official letters or business correspondence. There are certain rules and etiquette that need to be observed, some phrases in English don’t necessarily work in French and vice versa. Translating is a skilled job and best left to the experts and not Google translate!
Living in Nyon spoke to Laurent Sfumat, a professional translator who has been in the business for over 15 years and works with non-francophones helping them with their translating needs.
Laurent explains; “Getting the right wording is obviously important. Whatever I am working on, I take an initial look at the overall piece to get a feel for it. I can quickly see what needs to be cut or added and I will adjust it accordingly. I have worked on everything over the years, from technical guides to brochures, contracts, websites and lots of correspondence.
Documents -The Devil is in the Detail
If you are signing a contract that is written in French in Switzerland, whether it is a contract for business or a rental for an apartment or house, you need to know what every detail means before you sign. If you are writing a letter to your landlord then you need to approach it in a certain manner. Emphasis is all.
Translating CVs to small signs!
I also help with translating Curriculum Vitae. Sending your CV in both English and French is a great help to Swiss employers and adds an extra level of professionalism to your application”.
Laurent does most of the work himself, though even he knows his limits. “The only time I outsource it is when the translation is from French into English. I normally send the text for translation to an English mother tongue translator and then ask an English-speaking editor to proofread the resulting translation.
I know about deadlines and fast turnarounds. I have worked with a variety of clients from the World Economic Forum to translating official cantonal work, but no job is too small. I have even translated notices for entry halls in buildings for property owners such as, “please remove your ski boots before walking up the stairs”!
In Switzerland work is usually charged by the character which can be confusing. However, Laurent charges per word which makes it easy for clients to work out the cost.
Note: Laurent translates from English into French and Italian into French. Living in Nyon has used his services in the past and can recommend him.
You can contact him here at A à Z traductions
Photo above – Laurent of A à Z traductions