Made in England
I was born and bred in the university city of Oxford, England, where I left school with A-levels in French, Latin and Mathematics. I went on to study Modern Languages at Christ’s College, Cambridge, specialising in French and Dutch (the latter no doubt inspired by a family connection). During my time at Cambridge, I spent a year abroad as a language assistant in Annecy, France, and also spent the summer months each year working on a château campsite in Normandy.
In 1978, I moved to Groningen, the Netherlands, to take on a part-time post as an assistant lecturer with the university’s English Department. My main reason for doing so was that, although I had studied modern and medieval Dutch literature at Cambridge, I really needed to improve my spoken Dutch, which was pretty poor. Spending some time in the Netherlands seemed like a good idea. Little was I to know that I’d still be around over 40 years later.
After spending two hugely enjoyable years giving drama classes to second-year students and editing and contributing to the department magazine, I decided that the time had come to try and find a ‘proper job’. My next destination was Nijmegen, where I worked for Vertaalbureau Bothof as a translator and revisor for three years. It was a brilliant apprenticeship, as it gave me an opportunity to work on a tremendously wide range of material under the guidance of a highly experienced and gifted mentor.
In 1983, I moved to ING in Amsterdam (then known as NMB Bank), to work as a staff translator with the bank’s in-house translation department. Surrounded by masses of linguistic and technical expertise, I earned my spurs as a financial and legal translator, working on reports, speeches, staff magazines, loan contracts – in fact, anything that came our way. I took a a series of specialist courses during my time with NMB Bank, including two self-study courses at the Netherlands Institute of Banking and two summer courses in English law, which I attended at Oxford University and the University of Surrey (Guildford).
Five years later, in 1988, I was offered (and accepted) a post as an English lecturer at the Dutch National College of Translation in the southern Dutch town of Maastricht. As I was to discover, Maastricht rightly deserves its reputation as one of the country’s most welcoming and sociable cities. My responsibilities included classroom teaching, the individual supervision of final-year students and curriculum development. Another five years later, I embarked on a freelance practice as an English translator and editor. Initially, this was on a part-time basis, but in 1996, I took the plunge as a fully self-employed practitioner. I have not looked back since then!
I specialise in both financial translation and more creative work on brochures, staff magazines, newsletters and so forth. As a partner in Teamwork, I run courses, workshops and conferences for translators in conjunction with my business partner, Marcel Lemmens.
Boring but important
And, finally, the more humdrum bits:
Membership of examination boards
|1991-2001:||External examiner, Sittard Business School.|
|1993-1997:||Member of English board of examiners, Dutch national examinations in translation and interpretation (‘staatsexamens’).|
|1996-2001:||Member of English board of examiners, Dutch national examinations in translation and interpretation (‘SNEVT’).|
|2010:||Member of English board of examiners, pilot examinations scheme for National Register of Certified Translators and Interpreters.|
|2011-2018:||Jury member, BBC/GNE Public Speaking Awards (for secondary schools in the Netherlands)|
- Member of Society of English-language professionals in the Netherlands (Sense)
- Member of the Vereniging Zelfstandige Vertalers (Dutch association of self-employed translators, VZV)
- Former executive committee member of the Nederlandse Vereniging van Tolken en Vertalers (since merged with NGTV)
- Former member of Training Committee of Nederlands Genootschap van Tolken en Vertalers (main Dutch professional association of translators and interpreters)
- Co-author of Handboek voor de Vertaler Nederlands-Engels (Wolters Noordhoff, re-published by Intertaal, Amsterdam; enter ‘vertaler’ as your search word)
- Certified translator for Dutch and French since 1982. Registered under no. 2872 with the Dutch National Register of Certified Translators and Interpreters
- Handboek voor de vertaler Nederlands-Engels (Wolters Noordhoff 1995, now available through Intertaal)
- The Mother-Tongue Principle: Hit or Myth? (Alexandria Virginia: The ATA Chronicle, May 2016)
- Mum knows best? Are translations always better quality when we work into our native language? Tony Parr puts the mother-tongue principle to the test (Milton Keynes: ITI Bulletin, November-December 2016)
- Magical mystery tour: Tony Parr and Marcel Lemmens recently conducted two experiments based on Chris Durban’s ‘mystery shopper’ model. Here, they reveal the results (Milton Keynes: ITI Bulletin, September-October 2017)
- Man against machine: Tony Parr looks at how new machine translation tool DeepL performs compared with two more established translation machines – and with real humans (Milton Keynes: ITI Bulletin, January-February 2018)