What do you do in your job?
I work as a staff interpreter, providing simultaneous and other forms of interpreting from French and German into English and English into French at meetings of Council of Europe Committees and expert groups as well as other Council of Europe institutions (such as the European Court of Human Rights, Parliamentary Assembly, etc.)
Can you briefly describe your background?
After graduating in modern languages, I completed a Postgraduate Diploma in conference interpreting. I have been a staff interpreter all my career, spending 10 years at the UIC (International Union of Railways) in Paris, followed by four years in Brussels as a NATO staff interpreter before joining the Council of Europe.
I developed a huge soft spot for the Council in 1995 when I had my first ever interpreting experience as a volunteer interpreter for the European youth week - not in my wildest dreams though did I think I'd one day be a staff interpreter here!
What do you love about your job?
The variety of subjects covered – from human trafficking to child-friendly justice, from training of Roma mediators to match-fixing in sport, there's rarely a dull moment in the booth! I love the variety between bilingual meetings (e.g. expert committees) and multilingual ones (e.g. Parliamentary Assembly or Congress of Local and Regional Authorities). As an interpreter at the Council I feel respected and valued rather than a necessary evil. Although English is the dominant language at meetings, I love the fact that French is spoken a fair amount and not only by delegates from French-speaking countries.
What do you love about working for the Council of Europe?
Who wouldn't feel motivated working for such worthy causes as human rights, democracy and the rule of law?!
How do you find living in Strasbourg?
In my current stage of life as a father of two small children, Strasbourg is an ideal city to live in with a real quality of life to offer. I love the green spaces, the canals and rivers, the tram (which still looks great almost 20 years after it was first introduced), the plethora of cycle paths, and the proximity with Germany meaning you really can have the best of both worlds.