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Patricia Hulmes

Question and Answer

  • What is your name?
    • Patricia Hulmes
  • Where do you live?
    • Lyon, in France
  • What made you decide to become a translator or interpreter?
    • When we moved over to France from the UK my husband, who took up a post with the CNRS as a biochemist/biophysicist, was often asked to correct texts in English by French scientists, but did not have the time. As I also had a scientific background, I saw an opportunity and set up as a freelance scientific translator.
  • List one strength that you think sets you apart from your colleagues.
    • I specialise in very specific fields
  • Name the one thing that you most enjoy in your translating or interpreting career.
    • I am always learning new things!
  • We all have worked on those not-so-perfect assignments. Write about one such assignment that was not ideal and what you learned from it.
    • I was persuaded very early on, against my better judgement, to translate a technical text into French at short notice. It was a nightmare. Even though I am pretty well bilingual, I now always translate from French into my native English and never the other way round.
  • If you could go back in time to when you were just starting out as a translator or interpreter, what advice would you give to your younger self?
    • Acquire a better understanding of French bureaucracy before you start!
  • Name one resource – such as a phone app, CAT tool, website, and so forth – that you find especially helpful in your translating or interpreting work.
    • The internet, used judiciously
  • What's the best book you've read this year?
    • The Paris Wife by Paula McLean



A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures the love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled "Lost Generation"—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking, fast-living, and free-loving life of Jazz Age Paris. As Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history and pours himself into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises, Hadley strives to hold on to her sense of self as her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Eventually they find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they've fought so hard for.

A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.



NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY People • Chicago Tribune • NPR • The Philadelphia Inquirer • Kirkus Reviews • The Toronto Sun • BookPage

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