Welcome to the June edition of “In the Spotlight”: our monthly interview segment.
Today, we’re excited to introduce one of our most popular translators to work with, and now interview. Bubbly, professional and a favourite of our translation department’s team leader. Italian native Elisa, who speaks Italian, English and Spanish!
In the Spotlight interview
Thank you for making the time for this interview Elisa, tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you for having me in the interview! In few words: avid traveller, language and culture enthusiast. I am a curious human being. I like discovering and learning new things whenever I have the chance.
How long have you been working in your role, and what languages can you speak/translate?
My interest in translation dates back to 2014, when I undertook my Masters in Business and Legal Translation. Since then, I started gathering more information. Reading blogs, articles, talking to other linguists and attending events in order to get a better insight of the industry and slowly started translating. My mother tongue is Italian, and I translate from and into English and from Spanish into Italian. I am currently brushing up my French.
What drew you to working in this industry and what is it about translation work that you enjoy the most?
I wasn’t born a translator. I mean that I am not one of those people that always knew what they wanted to do in life. Initially, I studied Law and for years I nurtured this idea of becoming some sort of Ally McBeal and fight for what was right. Which sounded great in theory, but clashed with my reality and view of the future.
I trained as a lawyer for a few months before realising that it simply wasn’t the right path for me, and that I needed to take some courage and explore something new.
I always had a strong interest in what’s different. Which includes different cultures and that curiosity led me to learning new languages and eventually translating. Plus, I am an avid traveller. I love experiencing life in different countries and freelancing gives me the opportunity to be flexible with my time, pursuing a lifestyle that is in line with my personality.
As a translator, I’m sure you’d agree that attention to detail is essential to your work. How do you get into the right frame of mind to focus on your work?
I do my best to avoid distractions (like phone, social media, etc.) and work in a quiet environment where I can fully focus on what I am doing. Then, coffee, coffee…and more coffee! It does help, or at least it gives me the illusion that I can be more focused.
Does the challenge of working with two languages simultaneously get easier over-time? Do you employ any unique methods to cope with the challenge?
I wish there was a method! I think it’s a matter of practice, experience, study and consequently confidence. It did get easier over the years, at least for me. I got more confident and my brain can switch quickly from one language to the other.
How would you say the job has affected you personally? For example, do you feel like you’ve learnt a lot from what you do, or has the work ever surprised you in any way?
One of the things I love most about translation, is the variety of work you get.
Every text that comes across my desk presents a new little puzzle to unlock, and at least one new thing for me to learn.
Therefore, I’m constantly challenged, I’m always learning, and I’m never bored.
Do you have any advice you would give to anyone new starting work as a translator?
Be determined, don’t give up and carve your niche of specialization. I believe it’s important to do what you love. This will give you the right amount of motivation to pursue your dreams and aspirations. The money will come later and if it doesn’t, at least you’re doing what you love which is always the right thing to do.
What are some of the challenges you encounter when working on a translation and how do you ensure you can overcome them?
I believe that having excellent linguistic skills and to be fluent in two or more languages is not enough when it comes to translation. The first and foremost quality required to avoid common pitfalls is showing humility at all times. Too much confidence, too much over-reliance on one’s memory, is exactly what will lead any translator into the ditch of serious mistakes.
Translation is an ongoing learning process. No matter how confident you are in the field, no documents are alike. It’s important to carry out proper research. Check, double-check and triple-check everything.
Our team have spoken very highly of you, and your approach to your work. What has appealed to you most of all about working with our team at DA Languages?
I can say the same in return. I get along very well with the PMs, communication is always prompt, friendly and requirements are clear. This is certainly an attitude that put me in a good mood and frame of mind, always looking forward to the next assignment.
In today’s multicultural society, translation is incredibly important as it enables people to communicate the world over. However, I’d be interested to know if you enjoy translation beyond it being your job/career. Do you do translations or work with language in other ways for fun?
I don’t see translation as just being a job. I’m passionate about it, it’s part of my life and this keeps me motivated and enthusiastic. I love combining my knowledge of languages with my passion for traveling and when I am home, in Italy, I bring tourists around the city, discovering it.
Since translation work can get a bit lonely, I love finding other ways to practicing my languages and interacting with people. I am also a member of the couch surfing community and I host travellers in my house from all over the world. I believe this is a fantastic way to share cultures, languages, habits, dreams and life’s plans.
Nominate, Review, Contact!
We’d like to thank Elisa once again for taking part in our interview and being so generous with her time. We look to build relationships and support our linguists, and look forward to hopefully many more years of working with Elisa.
For now, you can look forward to another interview coming next month, but be sure to keep an eye out for all sorts of other content too!
Finally, if you’re interested in our services, take a look here for more information: we’d be happy to assist with your own Interpreting or Translation needs!
Written by Andrew Tattersall
Title image produced with Snappa.com.