HÉLÈNE VIGLIENO CONTE is an ATA-certified English to French translator and a French court certified interpreter currently residing in Northeast Ohio.
A native French speaker, Hélène grew up in Southern France and quickly developed an affinity for foreign languages. By the age of 16, she was already semi-proficient in English, Italian and German—and at the start of what would become a life-long fascination with language. Her current skills also include Spanish.
In order to continue her studies in English, Hélène moved to the United States and then turned her attention to translation. With the credentials of both a 20-year resident of the U.S. and a native and active French speaker, her cultural relevance applies to both sides of the Atlantic. She has the language comprehension clients want and continues to pursue her native language proficiency. As such, she converses daily in French, consumes French and English technical literature and media, attends industry training and classes (including webinars), and takes annual trips to France.
Her work as a translator is defined by a studied approach to language nuance and detail, resulting in translations that are both technically accurate and culturally authentic. With each project, a careful consideration of tone is taken to ensure that final voice is appropriate to the content and target audience. This all adds up to translations that help clients effectively communicate, persuade and/or sell.
“When going international, the quality of your end product or service is going to be positively or negatively affected by the quality of your translation. As such, your translation must sound completely natural to native ears, and not just grammatically correct. Some businesses/organizations fail to understand that and try to save money by selecting cheap translation services. In the long run, they end up with significant losses or they cheapen their brand—sometimes both,” says Hélène.
In 2014, Hélène began working towards becoming certified by the Ohio Supreme Court as a judiciary interpreter. With an average success rate of only 20%, the arduous certification exam requires serious preparation. Hélène took the exam in 2015, passed it and is now serving her local courts, as well as various immigration courts around the country (via telephone).
“When assigned to a case, a judicial interpreter is acting as an officer of the court and is de facto an extension of the bench. It is crucial that she understand the role she plays in the administration of justice as an erroneous interpretation could result in the loss of individual freedom, property or rights for the defendant.”
More recently, Hélène also took the American Translators Association’s challenging certification exam in the English > French combination, and passed it. This respected certification is notorious for being difficult to obtain, especially in her language combination with an average success rate of 9%. Hélène was thrilled to learn back in June 2018 that she had passed the exam.
As of September 2018, Hélène serves as President of the Northeast Ohio Translators Association. She first served as the association’s Secretary when she joined the profession a few years ago, and in more recent years as its Membership Chair. As President, she hopes to help advance the profession at the local level, and is grateful for the opportunity to give of her time and energy to her colleagues.
Along with language, Hélène has a heart for social justice and takes an active role in supporting worthy causes. Her translations and interpreting have helped serve minority and vulnerable people groups from around the world. In addition to providing language services, her charitable efforts include a 12-year sponsorship of a Mexican child and serving as an informal advocate for social justice and environmental organizations and movements.
-By Rachel Hoskins
(Rachel Hoskins is a copywriter. She writes for large and small brands, organizations and individuals, and believes the best stories are the ones most people overlook.)