Faces of Gengo: Anna

An English to Ukrainian Language Specialist, Anna loves dancing the Argentine tango in her spare time. She started translating at the young age of 16 and joined Gengo almost four years ago. Find out her favorite things about being a translator and a language specialist at Gengo.

Nationality: Ukrainian
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine
Occupation: Interpreter and translator
Gengo LS since: July 2014
Language pair: English to Ukrainian

What languages do you speak? How do you maintain proficiency?

Ukrainian, Russian, English, French, some German, and I’m also learning Spanish. To maintain my language skills, I read, write, listen and also travel to get speaking practice.

How did you become a translator?

My first translations date back to my high school years so, even before I enrolled in a translation and interpreting program at university, I already knew this is what I would like to do as my career. I’ve been enjoying translating since I was 16, and I’m not planning to stop.

Anna’s workspace at home

What have been your most enjoyable and challenging translation experiences?

It’s hard to pick because I really enjoy translation as a process. But thanks to the #TheatreHD project, I have been providing Ukrainian subtitles for British stage productions for four years. And no matter how challenging a translation may be, I feel great joy when it’s completed and the target text reads smoothly.

What’s your favorite thing about being a translator? How about being a language specialist?

My favorite thing about being a translator is having the opportunity to learn about various fields and understand them in depth. I also get to find out about exciting news even before it reaches the media. As for being a language specialist at Gengo, I like looking after a group of translators and overseeing their development. It is also interesting to see how my colleagues solve issues that come up in the texts they translate.

Based on your specific cultural expertise, what are the best books or movies you would recommend to others?

I’d wholeheartedly recommend books that make us proud of our profession and aware of the power that lies in words. They are Lexicon by Max Barry, Embassytown by China Miéville, and finally, Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang, a sci-fi story that inspired the movie Arrival. If you haven’t seen the movie, I recommend reading the short story first.

She enjoys dancing the Argentine tango. “It’s like speaking one more foreign language. Dancing helps me meet members of the tango community wherever I go.”

What are your preferred translation tools?

MemoQ is my favorite CAT tool.

What’s your favorite productivity tool or service?

RescueTime, which ruthlessly logs every minute I spend on social networks and sends me reports about it.

What are your top tips for those translators who are just starting out?

Look out for every opportunity to do work, because you’ll be improving every hour you spend translating. Take up various tasks and topics to find out what suits you best. Keep learning and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Spectacular sunset over her hometown in Ukraine

Do you have any specific translation advice to give translators in your language pair?

Read more high-quality fiction and journalistic materials in Ukrainian to develop a feel of the language. Write something longer than Facebook comments to understand the languages’ expressive means. Remember that a good translator is first and foremost a good writer, and just being a native speaker does not automatically qualify you as a language professional.

Want to become a Gengo translator?


Jenie Gabriel

The author

Jenie Gabriel

Jenie creates and coordinates content for Gengo's marketing team. Originally from the Philippines, she was an advertising creative in Singapore before moving to Tokyo. In her spare time, you’ll find her wandering around the city or planning her next escapade.

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