This series of posts was inspired by Lifehacker’s How I Work series, which I’ve been reading for quite some time and thoroughly enjoy. It’s about time we discover how our colleagues work and get to know them a little better.
If you want to participate in this fun series, send us an email at email@example.com so we can send you the Word template where you can fill in your answers and your bio (incl. your site/blog/social media links) and then send it back to us as an attachment along with your photo (optional but preferred). If you don’t like any of the questions, just delete them and add your own. You can read the previous interviews here.
Location: Gardnerville, Nevada, USA
Current work title: Freelance French-English translator, doing business as McMillan Translation
Desired work title: Nothing different. The lifestyle my husband and I have created suits the family very well at this stage of life, and I don’t foresee any changes for a while.
Languages you have studied or currently speak: English (native UK), French and Spanish. If I stretch to everything I’ve ever studied I can add German, Latin, and New Testament Greek.
One word that best describes how you work: Initiative
Your current computer setup: Powerful desktop PC, two large monitors, and an ultraportable laptop.
Do you own a smartphone? Yes, a cheap Android phone.
Favorite gadget (apart from computer & smartphone): None. The family has a few but I stick to my lightweight laptop for a portable device and use my phone for audiobooks.
What everyday thing are you better at than most? I’m great at staying on top of email. I am quick to act, file and delete as necessary.
Favorite time of the day: Mornings, for the dawn chorus and sunrise, enjoying my family before we get to work, and eating breakfast (I grew up in Scotland – we’re good at breakfast there).
How many hours per day do you usually work: There’s no “usual” for me. Probably an average of about 7 hours a day, but my workload varies widely from 25 to 65 hours a week. My family-related workload varies widely from week to week and affects how much work I accept.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? I’m strongly extroverted in terms of forming ideas: I talk to think. I’m more balanced in terms of social life. Professional networking doesn’t drain me or energize me, unless I’ve been at it for days on end at a conference, when I’ll start looking for some peace and quiet. I don’t seek a particularly lively social life beyond the family, but I like being hospitable.
Are you an early-riser or a night-owl? I’m a morning person. Always have been. Typically, I sleep well and get up early. It’s just as well, living where we do, because it would be impossible to work with European clients if I weren’t up and responsive early.
What do you listen to while you work? No music. Sometimes I listen to news or an audiobook if I’m doing lightweight work, or have webinars on in the background. I need silence when proofreading.
Next conference/event you’re planning to attend: ATA’s 54th Annual Conference in San Antonio
And a few non-work related questions to get more personal 🙂
Your babies or pets, incl. names and ages: Three children: Zoé (13) [chosen for its Greek meaning, Catherine], Luke (11), and David (9). The family has a dog too: Mac, but he’s very much my husband’s, not mine.
Next city/country you want to visit: The list is very long. I’ll limit my answer to the next new place we will visit: the Oregon Coast.
Favorite vacation place: This is my favorite realistic place, i.e. one we can visit affordably, frequently if we want to: Monterey Peninsula, California.
Favorite book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. An uninspired choice, I know, but I have loved it for many years.
Favorite song: Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton
What are you currently reading? I always have several books on the go. Currently, The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonagal, How the Scots Invented the Modern World by Arthur Herman, and Carte Blanche by Jeffrey Deaver.
Karen M. Tkaczyk, PhD, CT, MITI, is a chemist-turned freelance translator (MITI and ATA-certified for French into English). Her translation work focuses on chemistry, its industrial applications and intellectual property. She has an MChem in chemistry with French from the University of Manchester and a Diploma in French and a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Cambridge. She worked in the pharmaceutical industry in Europe, and then in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics in the US after relocating there in 1999 with her French husband. She became a professional translator in 2005. Karen is the current administrator of ATA’s Science and Technology Division.