Faces of Gengo: Lali
Hailing from Georgia, Lali is one of our English to Russian translators. A mother of three, who enjoys working from home, she’s also an advocate of healthy living. She recommends staying hydrated and doing simple leg exercises while translating.
Where have you lived?
I’ve had extensive experience living abroad, particularly in the U.S and Russia. Currently, I live in Tbilisi, Georgia.
What languages do you speak, and how do you maintain your proficiency?
My mother tongue is Georgian, but I couldn’t speak it until the age of six as I only spoke Russian. I also know Farsi—called Persian to some—and I’m trying to learn French but its grammar seems quite complicated.
To maintain proficiency, I try communicate with native speakers as much as possible. I often attend meetups at the local American Corners. The internet is also an excellent and useful tool for language learning.
How did you become a translator?
I never planned on becoming a professional translator, but I’ve always translated just for fun. My father used to travel a lot and brought home interesting books and magazines from all over the world. As a teenager, I translated some of my favorite articles and shared them with my friends. Lots of foreign guests often visited my family and I used to interpret their conversations.
Later on, when I became a mother, I found it very convenient to translate and work from home. I didn’t think my knowledge of English would become very useful! Now, I work for various companies and organizations, and Gengo is one of the best among them. I think the staff members are polite, dynamic, and proficient.
What has been your most enjoyable and challenging translation experiences?
The most enjoyable was the QuizUp project because I was able to choose my favorite topics like music, movies, basketball, science, history and geography. When I’m working on music translations, I like to listen to a particular song or musical on YouTube while working to give me inspiration.
The most challenging task was translating user reviews for TripAdvisor. I found those from angry travelers very funny, yet sometimes confusing. Some of them tried to explain their complaints in detail, but in broken English. So it sounded like they were kind of drunk! At least they were amusing.
Describe your office setup or workspace.
For me, order comes first. I always keep my workspace clean and I also need fresh air, healthy food and silence. I prefer to be home alone when working. As a translator, we have a sedentary job so we have to tone our muscles with chair exercises. I usually do a simple activity from time to time by lifting my legs off the floor for a few minutes and then hold them up in the air.
Based on your specific cultural expertise, what books or movies would you recommend?
I’ve had a passion for books since early childhood. Even before I learned how to read, I used to learn quite long children’s poems by heart. Among my favorites are Georgian, English, American, Russian, European and Japanese authors. I read everything from classical literature, detective and historical novels and poems to psychological dramas and autobiographies.
I highly recommend the following Georgian books and authors:
- The Knight in the Panther’s Skin by Shota Rustaveli—Georgian epic poem, written in the 12th century. It is considered to be the masterpiece of Georgian literature.
- Short stories by another Georgian writer, Vaja-Pshavela
What is your favorite snack for while you work?
As the process of translating involves limited physical activity, it is very important to keep hydrated. I like drinking warm water infused with lemon. Another important tip is knowing about upcoming projects in advance so I can prepare something delicious and healthy to eat.
What are your preferred translation tools?
What are your top tips for translators who are just starting out?
Train your brain and body for the long term, explore micro and macro worlds around you, be open to everything new, share your experience with others and, always remember, every piece of knowledge is useful!
Want to become a Gengo translator?