Faces of Gengo: Regina
An English to Bulgarian Language Specialist, Regina started her career as an IT Specialist before becoming a freelance translator. Specializing in IT and technical translations, she believes good translators need to have good writing skills in their native language.
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Occupation: Freelance translator
Gengo LS since: 2016
Language pair: English to Bulgarian
What languages do you speak? How do you maintain language proficiency?
My native languages are Bulgarian and Russian. I speak and write in English at an advanced level, and I’m currently learning German. I maintain my English proficiency through active practice by reading, creative writing and participating in forums of creative writing/fan fiction communities. I enjoy having constant interaction with native speakers.
How did you become a translator?
I studied IT and worked as an IT specialist. In one of my previous jobs, I had a translation task and my manager noted that my translation was extremely good. I then decided to explore this professional niche and found out that freelance translation can bring decent income while working from home. I also realized that I have a talent as a writer, which, in my opinion, is very important to be a good translator.
What have been your most enjoyable and challenging translation experiences?
I translated a very large volume of technical documentation for an industrial manufacturer. Besides learning the industrial machinery terminology, I also had to enter into the “thought process” of an engineer to translate the content specifically for the target audience. It was both challenging and immensely enjoyable, since translation allows me to indulge in a specific way of thinking. Technical and IT translations are my favorite areas.
What’s your favorite thing about being a translator? How about being a language specialist?
Being a translator means being a co-creator. You work together with the author of the source text to recreate it properly in your language. This process has a lot of depth and levels to explore.
A language specialist needs to have an extensive knowledge and a good grasp of the language to be able to detect errors that a less experienced translator won’t normally notice. I feel honored to be chosen as a language specialist for Bulgarian.
Based on your specific cultural expertise, what are the best books or movies you would recommend to others?
“Catcher in the Rye” and other works by J. D. Salinger.
What are your preferred translation tools?
Trados and MemoQ.
What’s your favorite productivity tool or service?
I frequently use various online dictionaries, mostly technical-related, like Multitran and Leo.org.
What are your top tips for those translators who are just starting out?
Besides having proficiency in your foreign language, become an expert in your native language. Then become a master of your native language, because a translator is more than an expert, he’s also a good writer.
Learn to differentiate between a good and bad translation. Also, there seems to be a common misunderstanding that it’s easy to translate and everyone can become a translator. In fact it takes a lot of work, practice and dedication to translate well.
Do you have any specific translation advice to translators in your language pair?
While having a good understanding of English is inherent for Bulgarians as a result of regular Internet use, I often encounter locals with a poor knowledge of their native language. Translators need to spend more time improving their Bulgarian proficiency.
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