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: Granite Bay, California
Desired location: Some day, the Balaton region of Hungary. Or the francophone side of the Pyrénées. But for now, I’m loving where I ended up!
Current work title: Owner/Translator (I do business as Untangled Translations.)
Desired work title: No change needed. I love being my own boss.
Languages you have studied or currently speak: US English native, fluent in French and Hungarian. I’ve also studied bits and pieces of Italian, German, Spanish, Swahili, Moroccan Arabic, and, very briefly, Romanian… But two non-native languages seems to be my current maximum intake.
The project you’re most proud of: I was incredibly lucky to have been able to help a young man earn political asylum. The smile on his face following his final hearing was worth more than any per-word rate could ever net!
Your current computer setup: A wide-screen Mac desktop one upgrade below Maverick, and a Nexus 10 tablet for when I’m on-call but want to get out of the office.
Do you own a smartphone? Nope.
Favorite gadget (apart from computer & smartphone): A good friend of mine made me a letter opener with a vaguely North African style. He has a small forge and does custom knives. It was the most unique Christmas present I’ve ever received, and extremely useful.
Favorite time of the day: About half an hour after I wake up for working. For anything requiring human interaction, maybe 11am is better.
Next conference/event you’re planning to attend: I organize monthly translator-interpreter coffee hours in the greater Sacramento region through my local ATA chapter. Our next date is Wednesday, March 12. Email me for details!
How many hours per day do you usually work: I usually max out at about 6 hours of chair time, but I check email and read up on topics of interest most of the day.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Exactly 50–50! I love brainstorming and talking with people, but when it comes to work time, give me space.
Are you an early-riser or a night-owl? More of a mid-day person, actually. You’ll never catch me chipper at 5:00am, but I’m usually out like a light before midnight. Definitely in tune with the sunlight.
What do you listen to while you work? The birds just outside my home office window. Or, for more monotonous tasks, French or Hungarian streamed radio.
And a few non-work related questions to get more personal.
Your babies or pets, incl. names and ages: Two fur-babies, both brown tabbies, named Shahrazad and Rex.
Next city/country you want to visit: Oh so many! We just moved to California late last year, so we’re still exploring around here. I’ve got my eye on Sonoma. In terms of longer trips, Alaska is definitely high on the list of priorities.
Favorite book: I have too many to call this my only favorite, but it’s one you might not have heard about—The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller. Great style. Fun story for anyone who loves the outdoors.
What are you currently reading? Septentrion, by Louis Calaferte. Virginie, my French book source, recommended it, and it’s been a captivating trip down the rabbit hole.
Carolyn Yohn is a legal and academic credentials translator based in northern California. She works with French and Hungarian texts into American English with a special affection for projects from African nations. Carolyn also provides translations pro bono for Humanium.org, promoting and defending children’s rights around the world.