Hi, I’m Judith.
I was born in the seventies in Paris of two French parents, one of semi-Austrian descent, hence the (mangled) German-sounding and -looking name. I grew up in the countryside; moved back to Paris for my late high-school years; and I graduated from one of the last high-schools of the French Armed Forces in what had been, until then, West Germany. That was the very year when the Berlin Wall fell. I remember hearing the news on the radio and crying with joy (all while brushing my teeth; this is the sort of dignified moments my life offers). German was my first foreign language, which I’d started learning at age eleven, and it felt really good to share in that liberation of energy.
After the baccalauréat (Maths & Humanities, German & English) I chose to concentrate my studies on cinema. Started a period of meandering. I hung about university for a while, crushing on professors and enjoying my studies. In our language course, the teacher’s assignment was movie reviews in English… I think I had mine on a floppy, perhaps I could post it here someday. The same fellow introduced me to William Gibson by pushing Mona Lisa Overdrive at us; I owe him a debt of gratitude. I could say that I blame movies and university for this era, that moment when I started speaking English fluently and began to neglect my old friend German, but since I’d been a movie buff from a much younger age and my first translations were of Beatles songs, it would be rather dishonest.
In the nineties, through an internship for virtual video editing, I found myself caught up in the internet craze and learned on the job how to edit web pages, organize information, bookmark a lot of websites. In short, I learned to surf the WWW and talk to computers, which meant a lot of reading and speaking (sometimes a mangled sort of) English.
In time, this culminated into six years as an expatriate in Luxembourg, during which I spent most of my time de facto translating from one language to the other, be it
English to French or
Engineer to Suit or, once I’d been promoted to head a multinational team,
Executive to Executant. I had gone in to ask instead for a promotion to the loner position of Information Architect, but why not. The heady, heady times before the infamous bubble burst have been rhapsodized about by more talented (and richer) than me; I will not expound on them here much further.
Suffice it to say that along with being given a chance to learn new skills, I strongly appreciate the personal confidence I have gained from using both those skills and the older competences I’d brought to my job in the first place. Forced to assess what was left after our collective ears had popped, I finally drew the inevitable conclusion that helping people understand each other is an activity I particularly enjoy.
Still, we all have our limits, and my endurance had been stretched very thin by a long period of hard work and a few cycles of classic “pre-launch(es)” overtime. So, before this new-found knowledge drove me back to school, I retreated from the physical world a while: 2+ years of getting to know my inner pandemonium and its population – by which I mean, writing thousands of words (the less said here, the better). To keep feeding the beast, I did bilingual secretarial work for a while.
Sane, if not unscathed, I eventually ventured out again in search of official recognition of my abilities, and joined the program for a Masters in Literary Translation at the ITI-RI in 2006.
And here we are.