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, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for the Word template where you can fill in your answers & bio (incl. site/blog/social media) 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. Check out the previous interviews here.
Location: Currently based in Seoul, South Korea, but on the road a lot.
Desired location: Kiev, Hong Kong, or Paris! But Seoul is great too.
Current work title: Freelance Translator, Interpreter, and Project Manager
Desired work title: In-house translator…would love to let someone else handle my accounting and sales!
Languages you have studied or currently speak: English (native), Spanish, French, Russian, Mandarin, Modern Standard Arabic, American Sign Language, Nicaraguan Sign Language, and now working (with imperceptible progress) on Korean. My working language pairs are Spanish, French, and Russian > English (translation) and Spanish <> English (interpreting).
The project you’re most proud of: A 60-page medical history for an individual with a congenital heart defect. Medical is not my main field of expertise so it took a lot of painstaking research (and a lot of looking at gross pictures of open-heart surgery) but in the end I was confident in my terminology choices and had learned how to efficiently research medical procedures.
Your current computer setup: A Lenovo Ultrabook, AOC external monitor, a Russian/English keyboard, and an external mouse. I also have an old Macbook, and I back up everything on both computers with Mozy.
Do you own a smartphone? Yes, an iPhone. I’m one of maybe four people in Seoul who don’t own a Samsung.
Favorite time of the day: Early afternoon KST – when New York clients have gone to bed and Europe hasn’t started the workday yet. That’s when I can grab a quick jog through Seoul or work on my neglected Korean homework!
Favorite gadget (apart from computer & smartphone): Powertubes to keep my phones running when I’m traveling, even when I’m using them for everything.
Next conference/event you’re planning to attend: The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, where I’ll be interpreting. And definitely the ProZ conference – since it is online!
How many hours per day do you usually work: 8-12 – I prefer getting my work done when everyone else in my timezone is working so I can attempt to have a life, but most of my clients are in the US and Europe so I still have to be responsive many early mornings and late evenings.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? A quiet extrovert. I like being in crowds but I’m not the loudest one in the room.
Are you an early-riser or a night-owl? I’m more productive in the morning, but in this timezone you have to be both, unfortunately.
What do you listen to while you work? I love podcasts but they’re too distracting for most translation work, so usually I listen to Spotify radio stations made from Ella Fitzgerald or Dizzy Gillespie. The Strokes or Ugly Duckling if I’m project-managing.
And a few non-work related questions to get more personal.
Your babies or pets, incl. names and ages: Just a stuffed frog named Fred. I’m on the road a lot and he’s low-maintenance, doesn’t need to be watered or homeschooled.
Next city/country you want to visit: Tehran and St. Petersburg are on the list!
Favorite vacation place: Myanmar – the spotty internet kept me from feeling obligated to work.
Favorite book: The Master and Margarita, The Sun Also Rises.
Favorite song: Manhã do Carnaval. I seem to run into it wherever I go.
What are you currently reading? A biography of Vladimir Putin, “The Man Without a Face”.
Sara Maria Hasbun is a freelance translator and interpreter. She also works as a Project Manager for New York-based Targem Translations, covering their nightshift from Seoul, South Korea. Before moving to Seoul she worked in New York and Managua with a research team studying Nicaraguan Sign Language. You can find her on Proz, Twitter (mbun) and Instagram (ayiyiesmaria).