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#4895: Haitian immigrant's Creole translation service thriving (fwd)

From: nozier@tradewind.net

Published Thursday, August 10, 2000, in the Miami Herald NORTH DADE

 Haitian immigrant's Creole translation service thriving BY KEVIN PAUL 

 The woman needed help. She wanted to write a love letter to a Haitian
man in his native language. Despite what they say about love being the
universal language, she sought professional help -- from a 2-year-old
North Dade company called Creole Trans. ``She only spoke English and
wanted [the love letter] in Creole and did it as a way to surprise the
man,'' said Faidherbe Boyer, who founded the translation service in
January 1998. Boyer runs the company from his home office in North Dade
and translates flyers and booklets, books, recordings, documentaries --
and, even love letters.

 Starting the company incorporates ``something I was always interested
in -- both the study of Creole and the development that it has gone
through over the years,'' he said. So far, Boyer and his staff have
translated more than 500 documents for more than 300 clients. He said he
charges 15 to 20 cents per word for written translations or $90 an hour
for verbal interpreting services. Some of his clients have been The
Haitian Times newspaper, the city of Miami, various attorneys, the city
of North Miami and divisions of the state of Florida. ``We're so lucky
to find him,'' said Virginia Newman, director of communication at
 the Florida Commission on Human Relations. ``We have been wanting to
publish a lot of our material in Creole and contacted him. He did a
wonderful job . . . and we will continue to use him in that way.''

 Boyer, 38, was born and raised in Haiti. He and his mother moved to New
York when he was 17. At the time, Boyer spoke no English. He says that
he had to learn it quickly due to ``peer pressure'' from his
neighborhood friends and at school. He finished high school at New Town
High in Jackson Heights, N.Y., and received a bachelor's degree in
elementary education from City College in Manhattan.

 Boyer taught elementary school for six years at Arlington Heights
Elementary. He also worked at the Miami-Dade Schools headquarters for
five years. He decided to start the company after he spent a year in
Haiti and came back to the U.S. to work for a former division of GTE
that produced and studied school reform programs. Boyer said he is
currently working with Mason Integrated Technologies, a
Massachusetts-based computer software company that publishes educational
software. ``One of the things we're working on is an auto translator
with his company,'' said
 Marilyn Mason, CEO of Mason Integrated. ``It will allow English to be
translated into Creole and vice-versa. It will make the job that he does
a lot easier.'' Demand for services like Creole Trans is growing. South
Florida's large Haitian American population fuels the need for
translators for everything from official city meeting notices to college
admission letters to immigration transcripts.

 Although most Haitians speak Creole, many were never formally taught to
read or write it. ``There aren't any available statistics . . . but a
lot of Haitians were not trained in the writing and reading in Creole,''
said linguist Yves Dejean. ``Every Haitian is a native speaker of Creole
. . . but due to the way the education system was set up, the majority
were taught in schools to read and write in French. Only a small
percentage of the population can write and read in Creole.'' Added
Boyer: ``A lot of documents we were looking at either were done by
people who either didn't care enough with the pronunciation or with how
the words were spelled or the rules of the language. The work we do is
done by some translators with some experience and is followed through by
an editor with a linguist degree.'' Boyer said he believes that with
time and the Haitian government's standardization of Creole and its push
to have students in school taught in both Creole and French, Creole
Trans can be more successful. ``Once our company becomes well known, . .
. then we'll be able to get a more steady stream of work and become a
big translation house that can spread into other things,'' he said.

 For information call Creole Trans at 305-770-9252 or visit the website
at http://www.creoletrans.com