The proFile Series: Real People, Real Stories

Some of the most fun I’ve had writing entailed interviews, an opportunity to discover what makes people tick. Since I like fun as much as the next blogger, I decided to focus more on  interviews. Announcing The proFile Series featuring (mostly) language pros with a story to tell. One day, if subjects are willing, I might even figure out how to operate a videocam. Maybe one of those things I can attach to my head. Talk about fun!

Blogging, writing in general, requires a tons of research. No amount of research, however, can replace interviewing a real live human being with a story to tell. In my experience, interviews, especially face-to-face live interviews, produce the very best articles and blog posts.

I had my first truly awesome, and slightly intimidating, interview experience well before I started this blog. In 2007, as a regular contributor to Multilingual, I pitched the editors a review of the book Sorry, I Don’t Speak French by Graham Fraser, Canada’s newly-appointed language commissioner. I also pitched an interview with the commish even though I hadn’t nailed it down and I really doubted he would agree to meet with a small-time stringer.

Surprise! He did agree. And he was charming and very generous with his time.

Since I blog on my own time and my own dime, conducting interviews is not always practical. Still, I have managed to swing face-time with a few, truly fascinating colleagues.

Some were eager to describe their professional practice. For example, Ann Marie Boulanger, a translator and small business owner, shared a detailed account of her career trajectory with me. Hardly a straight line—the adjective “harrowing” comes to mind—Ann Marie toughed out the worst of times as a newbie entrepreneur.

Others shared the passions they pursued outside of work. I give you Crystal Crow. Forget the usual translator stereotypes. They simply don’t apply. Crack translator by day, in her off hours she’s a roller derby queen.

Or Marc-Olivier Giguère. Usually buttoned-up and business-like when training end-users on language tech IT tools, he gets jazzed and, sometimes, just a little misty at the mention of photography. My interview with Marc-Olivier reminded me yet again of how much I love doing interviews.

Thanks to Ann Marie, Crystal and Marc-Olivier, the proFile Series has already had an organic jump start. More nterviews are in the works. Next up, a day in the life of a court interpreter.

If you have a story to share, please let me know!

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Photo Credit: Not exactly an interview shot, but I can’t resist vintage B&W photos. What’s going on in the pic? Here’s the skinny from Wikimedia Commons: “Mimi d’Estée giving reply to another actor in the B-12 Radio-Canada studio when recording the radio play of Henry Deyglun, “The Secrets of Dr. Morhanges”, broadcast on CBC station (Radio-Canada), located at 1231, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest in Montreal.”

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