Before you ask someone to translate a text for you, see if they can provide examples of their prior work. This will give you a good sense of their expertise not only in translating a foreign language but, just as vitally, in writing well in their native language. Skillful translating involves much more than simply transferring the meaning of words from one language to another; it must also capture the style, tone, and register of the original writing (called the source text) and render them in a fluid translated version (the target text) that reads as if it were written by a native speaker. At the same time, the target text must achieve the same impact as the source, fulfill parallel aims and functions, and address the intended audience appropriately. Choosing the right translator for your project also entails something idiosyncratic and hard to pinpoint: a good fit, an affinity of style, a sense of recognition.
Below are links to some samples of my English translations in anthropology, history, sociology, and environmentalism. For comparison, I also provide the link to the text in the original language if available. If you think your translation needs and my translating services would be a good match, I encourage you to contact me here.
Arctic Madness: The Anthropology of a Delusion, by Pierre Déléage. Translated from the French. Chicago: HAU Books/University of Chicago Press, 2020. English (open-access book link); French (book description).
“The Construction of the Person in Indigenous Brazilian Societies,” by Anthony Seeger, Roberto Da Matta, and Eduardo B. Viveiros de Castro. Translated from the Portuguese. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 9 (3), 2019. English (open-access article); Portuguese original.
“Inquiries Raised by the Dead,” by Vinciane Despret. Translated from the French. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 9 (2), 2019. English abstract.
“Mixed Feelings? Fluctuations in Well-Being during Tourist Travels,” by Verônica Feder Mayer, Juliane dos Santos Machado, Osiris Marques, and José Mauro Gonçalves Nunes. Service Industries Journal 40, 2019. Translated from the Portuguese. English abstract.
Capturing Imagination: A Proposal for an Anthropology of Thought, by Carlo Severi. Translated from the French by Catherine V. Howard, Matthew Carey, Eric Bye, Ramon Fonkoue, and Joyce Suechun Cheng. Chicago: HAU Books/University of Chicago Press, 2018. English (open-access book link); French (book description).
“Total Social Phenomena and Social Dynamics,” by Georges Balandier. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 8 (3), 2018. Translated from the French. English preview.
“Illusion and Value, or Marcel Mauss on Alienability and Inalienability,” by Marcos Lanna. Tipití: Journal for the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America 14, 2016. Translated from the Portuguese. English translation.
REDD in Brazil: A Focus on the Amazon. Principles, Criteria, and Institutional Structures for a National Program for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation—REDD. Brasília, Brazil: Center for Strategic Studies and Management in Science, Technology and Innovation (CGEE), 2011. English translation; Portuguese original.
“Ethnogeography and Resource Use among the Yanomami,” by Bruce Albert and François-Michel Le Tourneau. Current Anthropology 48 (4), 2007. Translated from the French. English translation.
From the Enemy’s Point of View: Humanity and Divinity in an Amazonian Society, by Eduardo Viveiros de Castro. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. English (book preview); Portuguese (book link).
Catherine V. Howard, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 656
Putney, Vermont 05346
“Without translation, we would inhabit parishes bordering on silence.”
— George Steiner