Interview Campaign with Translators: Anna Muchin

by Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik e.V. –  The next interview partner of today is Anna Muchin, a half Greek half French Brussels-based translator with four years experience in various fields such as art, music, environment, construction… 

Milena Rampoldi: What are the principal linguistic and intercultural problems for translators into and from the languages you handle?

Anna Muchin: It is when it comes to idiomatisms, humour, cultural and political questions that the work is the most challenging for it does not have to do only with terminology, it’s not technical. It’s about translation a vision of the world that might not exist in the target language. But I chose this profession because I want to believe that there’s always a way, a bridge, a path that can be found. I remember trying to find that path since I’m a kid as I grew up in between France and Greece. 

 MR: What do you think is important to promote intercultural dialogue?
AM: It helps understanding each other, most of the times racism, intolerance or violence find their roots in ignorance, not hate. We should work on promoting knowledge, it’s the first step toward empathy.

MR: How can translations improve communication between people and promote a culture of inclusion and peace?

AM: I believe that if people have access to information about what else and who else is out there, and get to know different values and systems through translation, the chances for them to be tolerant and understanding are higher. We may all be different but we’re all human and that’s exactly why we should respect each other.
MR: How can you explain to foreigners how different your native language is?
AM: I often take a idiomatism as an example or a story about few transaltions I did in the past that were very challenging exactly because I had to build a new bridget to my native language. Sometimes songs as well children stories can be a good tool to explain the particularities of a language. 

MR: How can you teach your language to foreigners in the best way?
AM: Language is the most lively thing, it should be taught in real life, not necessarily in a classroom. I’d teach it from daily life, habbits, values, I’d teach it through my native culture.
MR: What are the principal problems translators face when they have to translate into a European language?
AM: I’ve experienced already this problem, though Greek is seen as an European language. The fact is that Greece finds itself in between Western and Eastern Europe, and we can particularily feel that today with the political context. Again, language is not only a series of words we put together and can translate through a software. Language reflects how a country and its people see the world and divide it into concepts, their history and the cultural aspects of their daily life. The more two cultures differ from each other the more the translation gets difficult and raises questions, and especially when it is from an African, Asian, Eastern language into a European one.
MR: What does intercultural awareness and intercultural empathy mean to you?
AM: It means the possibility of a brighter future.