Middlebury Institute translation and interpretation faculty member Christiane Abel recently interpreted for celebrated author Éric Vuillard, winner of the Prix Goncourt 2017. Mr. Vuillard was touring the United States to promote the publishing of the English translation of his award-winning novel L’Ordre du Jour or The Order of the Day.
“I was quite excited by this relatively rare opportunity to work with a prestigious author,” Abel shares. She adds that Mr. Vuillard gave very elaborate and dense answers, with multiple references to literature, social sciences and politics. “I had prepared by reading his book obviously, watching past TV and radio broadcasts in French where he was a guest, and beefing up my knowledge about the Anschluss. But I also had to trust myself and the fact that I have always been an avid reader… And indeed, Mr Vuillard illustrated his point by mentioning Gogol, Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn… Flaubert, Balzac, Zola, all the way to Allen Ginsberg, and then all the way back to Dante!”
Abel says that sharing this experience with her students helps her stress the importance of constantly working on improving your general knowledge, being well read, and “also the fact that even experienced interpreters can be stressed and have to work on managing their adrenaline.”