2010 Folio Merit Award Goes to Top Translation Studies Graduate
Jeani Louw, who recently completed the Post-Graduate Diploma course in Translation Studies at the University of Stellenbosch, has been awarded the 2010 Folio Merit Award. Jeani, who translates from English to Afrikaans and vice versa, is the fourth recipient in the award’s history.
The award acknowledges the top academic achiever in the course and recognizes young South African translators who have committed themselves to excellence right at the very beginning of their careers. According to Philip Zietsman, Managing Director and founder of The Folio Group, “We established the award because we believe in supporting the development of the translation industry in South Africa. Furthermore, four of Folio’s project managers are alumni of the University of Stellenbosch’s Translation Unit.”
Jeani, who is from Porterville in the Western Cape, was presented with her award by Folio Project Manager, Henk Hagen, at a prize-giving ceremony for students of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch at the University of Stellenbosch. Professor Ilse Feinauer, head of the Department’s Translation Unit, said, “Jeani’s initiative and commitment are clearly evident, and it helps that she has a fine sense of humor.”
Jeani is currently working in Cape Town, where Folio is based, as a professional translator. At her new position at Die Son, the city’s only Afrikaans daily tabloid, Jeani translates news from around the world into Afrikaans. This brings a particularly challenging aspect to her work: how to make current affairs accessible and meaningful to the average reader.
While completing her BA in Language and Culture with a view to taking up journalism, Jeani discovered her passion for translation during one of her editing classes and decided to enroll in the year-long course in Translation Studies. She says that the most enjoyable aspect of the course was feeling like a “mini-expert” since the curriculum is so wide-ranging.
Jeani enjoys working with creative texts, such as advertising and marketing. She explained that “It’s a challenge to keep the humour and catchiness of the text as you translate it. In a sense, you have to tune into the mind of the original author.” When asked about her least favourite material to translate, she quickly replied, “kitchen appliances.”
Jeani’s prediction for the translation industry is that it will only get bigger and have an ever-increasing effect on people’s lives as the world grows smaller. Her advice to budding translators is to “consider an internship and educate yourself about the industry as much as possible by talking to professionals.”
Once all the world news has been translated, Jeani enjoys spending weekends with her boyfriend and family, sketching, and reading. She plans to take cooking classes later this year and, on top of it, squeeze in a trip to Thailand!