Leonne Buur-Haaijman

Prisoner of books


Surrounded by four walls is where I feel most comfortable, walls of books, mind you. And the higher you build those walls, the freer my spirit will fly. My daily diet of words and poems is alternated by a healthy dose of translating. Being an awkward socialiser since youth, books soon became my best friends. And I had plenty. Still do!


As a child, I cycled through fields of tulips and windmills, but oddly enough, most of my paper friends were English. At school, teachers were pushing me to pick a profession, but I had no idea what or who I wanted to be, or where for that matter. It was not until I met another hedonic refugee that things started to fall into place. This knight in shining armour took me on his white horse and told me he would take me home. ‘I will take you to England,’ he said, ‘There, you will be reborn’. And reborn I was. With the White Cliffs of Dover drawing closer on a rough sea, the tears in my eyes bore silent witness to the fact that I had finally come home.


I began to flourish and set myself free. I ventured into uncharted waters and territories. Not long after that, I sat the translator’s exam at the Chartered Institute of Linguists. Without any formal education in translation, my expectations were low, but I passed with distinction. The agencies liked my work and soon I had more work than I could handle. To put the cherry on the cake, I took the oath at the District Court of The Hague. I now was a sworn translator and have since obtained three more specialisation units at the Chartered Institute of Linguists, all with distinction.


The Legal and Economic Lexicon by Aart van den End is by far the most comprehensive reference work in my extensive collection of Dutch to English dictionaries. I often translate for official government bodies and regard the Legal and Economic Lexicon as my bible. I have found the author Mr Aart van den End to be extremely well-read and knowledgeable in his field of expertise. I enjoy contributing to the Lexicon where I can, as language as a medium never stops evolving.