If you’re not Julius Caesar, it’s a bit odd to write about yourself in the third person. Since I don’t aspire to be an Imperator (although Istefan used to when I was a child), I’ll introduce myself in the first person. My name is Stefan, and I am the editor of this newsletter. After four years at the helm of the French Department of a private translation agency here in Wellington, I joined the Translation Service and have been the external relations advisor for about a year now. Half German, half French, I grew up in the beautiful Provence, studied in Paris where I got a Master’s degree in translation studies, and moved to Wellington five years ago with my partner. We had originally intended to stay here for two years, but you know how it is…

Here are my answers to the Proust Questionnaire. I hope you
enjoy them!

Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A. Having long and delicious, epicurean dinners with friends and family in a home by the sea or in the woods.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

A. Since moving to New Zealand, I am most afraid of spiders – I know it’s silly, but I often wake up in the dead of the night looking for spiders in the bed. I’m also afraid of vampires.

Q. Which person do you most admire?

A. My history professor when I was in classe prépa in Paris – an astounding teacher, with a great sense of humour and a certain je ne sais quoi which enabled him to turn a rather dull subject (rural France from 1815 until the 1960s) into a fascinating learning experience.

Q. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

A. My gullibility – I could write books about the made-up stories that people made me believe.

Q. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

A. Dishonesty.

Q. What is your greatest extravagance?

A. When I got my current job about a year ago, I decided to treat myself and bought a $2,000 coffee machine. I love coffee.

Q. On what occasions do you lie?

A. Hm… I suppose that I lie by omission to protect peoples’ feelings. I always try to put a positive spin on things.

Q. What makes you happiest?

A. Travelling. Cooking and eating. Hot summer days. Swimming in the ocean. Snow. Southern France. The Black Forest. And many more things…

Q. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I took more risks and were better at handling uncertainty.

Q. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

A. Convincing my partner to move to New Zealand with me three weeks after we met. We are getting married in the Rangipo Desert in January!

Q. If you died and came back as a person or thing, what would it be?

A. Wouldn’t that make me a zombie of some sort? I’d rather avoid that.

Q. What is your most treasured possession?

A. My glasses – I can’t see a thing without them.

Q. Who are your heroes in real life?

A. My grandfather was my hero. He had hundreds of stories of his time in Russia, how he learnt his trade in a Siberian gulag, escaped and crossed Europe to return to my grandmother who had been waiting for him.

Q. What is it that you most dislike?

A. Shrimps. Too many legs for my liking.

Q. What is your motto?

A. Don’t worry, be happy.

We feature a staff member or one of our freelance translators every month. The featured profile includes a picture, a small biography and the person’s answers to a light version of the Proust Questionnaire.

Do you wish to be featured in one of our newsletters? If so, write to Stefan for more details.