Francesca Gatenby

Who are you? Please introduce yourself.
I’m Francesca, I translate from French and German into English and work with a range of private and corporate clients. I am also a member of the Yorkshire Translators and Interpreters committee, where I coordinate the YTI Network’s social media presence.

After several years of working in advertising and marketing – both agency and client side – I switched to the world’s most intellectually satisfying career. I live in beautiful Yorkshire with my husband, two high-octane daughters and (currently) several dozen assorted vegetable seedlings.

Do you translate, interpret, or both? What are your areas of specialism?
I ‘think with my fingers’ so translation was always the route for me. My work often demands a high level of creativity and I have to add a hint of copywriting sparkle to ensure the translation engages the reader and achieves the client’s overall marketing objectives (e.g. sell a product; advertise a service; raise awareness of an event). I specialise in translating marketing and commercial texts, often in the fashion and luxury retail sectors. I also work with museums and hotels; these are areas in which I plan to expand over the coming year.

Why did you decide to get into translation or interpreting?
I was working in marketing and, although I was gaining useful analysis, project management and people management skills, I felt starved of creativity and autonomy. After researching a few alternative options – including a tempting career as a trademark attorney – I decided to pursue the profession my grandfather, two aunts and an uncle had chosen before me: translation. I quit my job, completed a master’s degree and set up my business. Thirteen years later, I’m still translating and ever grateful I had the courage (and support) to make the leap.

What’s your favourite type of project?
Anything that demands a creative approach. I love playing with words and finding new ways to express ideas. Favourite recent projects have included social media posts for a German shoe retailer that were chock-full of wordplay, and translating a lifestyle magazine for a well-known ski race event in Austria. However, I also enjoy those projects where I learn something, such as those for museums, where I’m able to get deep into research on a particular exhibit or issue.

What do you do outside of translation or interpreting?
I like reading, drawing, singing, eating good food and hiking, but my favourite hobby is trail running. For me, running = freedom and the satisfaction of mens sana in corpore sano. It’s not just about the numbers – although I value that aspect, too – but about the sheer joy of being able to move my body and trust that it’s going to get me to where I want to go (albeit with a few scratches and bumps along the way). And, as a parent of youngish children, there is always plenty to do on that front as well!

Francesca Gatenby is a commercial translator specialising in marketing translation from French and German into English.