Where do you live and what do you do by day?
I live in Mechelen, Belgium. By day, I work for the Financial Services and Markets Authority, in the department of supervision of the rules of conduct. Basically, we check whether financial institutions act honestly, fairly and professionally in accordance with the best interests of their clients.
What drew you to TED?
I stumbled onto TED in 2010 while preparing my MBA thesis on transparency as a competitive advantage in insurance. (I worked for an insurance company at the time.)
What was the first talk you translated and how did you pick it?
I wanted to share Siegel’s talk with my colleagues at work. But that meant I had to overcome the language hurdle. I saw the “Translation” menu on TED.com and I thought, “Why not give it a try and translate it into Dutch?” The fact that the talk was only four minutes long helped too.
What have been your favorite talks to translate? Why?
I have a couple of favorite speakers, like Hans Rosling and Clay Shirky. They really changed my mindset. And they’re funny — I love the challenge of doing justice to their jokes. But the most moving talks, the ones that really stick with me, are often by speakers I would never have heard of if it hadn’t been for TED,
Which talk was the most difficult for you to translate and why?
This summer, TED-Ed videos were added to the Open Translation Project. I translated a TED-Ed lesson on the art of metaphors, in which the animation illustrated the English imagery. I couldn’t just use the Dutch equivalent — because it would make the animation meaningless. In 3 or 4 seconds, I had to convey the meaning in Dutch and respect the original English image. This six minutes translation took me much longer than many an 18-minute TED Talk.
What’s a phrase in your language that you wish would catch on globally?
I would propose a word: “pretoogjes,” which refers to the eyes of a chuckling person who is up to mischief. It was the Dutch contribution to the Words Worth Spreading tray designed by Dick Lundgren and presented by the TED Translators at TEDGlobal 2012.