Faces of Gengo: Omer
A seasoned English to Turkish translator, Omer has worked as a Gengo translator for nearly half a decade. Read all about about his journey, favorite translator resources, and his own advice for aspiring translators.
Occupation: Sourcing Specialist at General Electric
Language pair: English to Turkish
How long have you been translating with Gengo?
4-5 years. And before you ask, I heard about Gengo by a total coincidence from a blogger I was following called Jana Fadness.
What languages do you speak?
Turkish, English, and studied Japanese for some years.
If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be and why?
It would be either Japanese or Chinese.
I find Japanese culture and people very sweet and the country is amazing, so I feel motivated to learn the language and hope to take up studying it again. Besides, pronunciation and grammar feel like home for us Turkish speakers. Long live our Asian roots! 🙂
But also in recent years, I began to get very curious about China, especially after seeing Hong Kong, as well as constantly listening Chinese music and consuming content from YouTube about grand Chinese cities like Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai. Chinese language sounds so beautiful in songs!
Do you have experience living in other countries? If so, where?
I lived in Finland and Latvia for my master’s degree in Humanities for two years. Surprisingly, there was this constant talk of how Japanese and Finns are close to each other culturally and that Japanese were favoring to partner with Finns to do business in European markets. Yet when I finally made a friend from Japan, I remember asking her about this, and she was like: “Finrando?? Where is this country??”
How has translating for Gengo impacted your life?
Gave me a lot of self-confidence! I could have never imagined before Gengo that I could possibly make a considerable amount of money online, working for a company far far away… That mutual trust between translator and the company that you work for without a direct employment connection was and still is inspiring for me. And the fair relationship between Gengo and us, that reachability, definitely creates a sense of loyalty and motivates you to do your best work as a translator.
What are your favorite translation / language learning tools, and why?
Microsoft Language Portal when I am translating for Gengo, as their term database for anything related to Internet, Software, Apps, Websites, Games, etc. is huge and almost perfectly accurate. For my personal language study of Japanese, I do love and use Tangorin website quite often. It’s practically open on my screen at all times. It has a very elaborate and yet clear interface. You can search by kana, kanji and romaji in same screen.
Recommend three of your favorite language-related books / films.
When I was just developing my English, about a decade ago or so, Dreams from My Father was a great book from which I memorized hundreds of new words. I desperately wanted to understand that book in its original language, and remember holding the book in one hand and an electronic dictionary in the other (I don’t remember having a laptop or google translate back then) … Also, I bought several DVDs (“By the People: The Election of Barack Obama”, was one of them) from Amazon that had speeches and documentaries of Barack Obama that I watched constantly, studying and deciphering his every word, because he is such a gifted orator with perfect intonation.
What advice would you give to new or aspiring translators?
I know it may feel exhausting and boring after a few hours of constant translating, but that’s because it’s quite easy to take things for granted. Translation is quite a unique type of work that not everyone gets to do and it really helps to remember that and meditate on it if you are one of the lucky few who gets to do such a job. If mastering a language is valuable to you, translating is like a paid way of achieving it. Not only that, it’s an exercise for the brain also… An hour of intense translation makes your brain feel the same as an hour of swimming makes your muscles feel. I mean, when you can really see the beauty in an activity and appreciate its benefits, all the difficulties that may be there start to lessen and the work itself gets easier and smoother as years go by.
What would you say are the three things you enjoy most about Gengo?
- I love that Gengo has a very friendly and close relationship to its translators, almost like a family-business atmosphere that encourages you to excel at what you do with a sense of responsibility and mutual trust.
- Interface is quite user friendly and minimalistic.
- And finally, obviously, the freedom to work anywhere you want!
Want to become a Gengo translator?