NAME: Tanja Radmilo
PROFESSION: Translator and interpreter, self-employed in Language Kitchen
WORK LANGUAGES: English/Russian/Croatian
PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WORK: Split, Croatia
What kind of translation / interpretation work do you do and what type of clients do you work with?
Croatia is a small country so we do not have translators/interpreters that are specialized in certain narrow fields of work. So, basically it can be anything, let me give you an overview of the last month’s activities and clients: lots of legal agreements, one exhumation request (yes, really), a couple of gun export licenses, certificates, certificates, certificates, simultaneous interpreting on Gender Training organized by the Government of Croatia within Twinning Project (simultaneous is always a favourite), large investment projects (road building, development of resorts, wind power plants, etc.), dispute over 1 m2 of land plot (extremely popular sport in Croatia), school certificates and diplomas (many Croats are leaving the country, but also many people decide to live in Croatia and they need to have their qualifications translated), court matters (I am a Court Appointed Interpreter), web pages, brochures, menus, and other texts related to tourism (The Summer is coming!), subtitling for Netflix, I am translating Russian Booker winner into Croatian…
Can you provide a brief description of a typical work day?
I really like to get up pretty early, sometimes before 06:00 a.m. and it is the best time of day, no phones, no e-mails or any distractions. I like to prepare for a hectic day by reading and Turkish coffee-sipping. And then at about 07:30 a.m., here we go; I translate and interpret practically all day round. I work from home which is good, because very often you make money in your pyjamas, but sometimes it can be difficult to concentrate with children, dogs and partner coming in and out of your office/bedroom at all times. I like to have yoga, hiking or swimming break, if possible.
What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most?
I enjoy freedom and I must confess that I love the unpredictability moment, like when you get up and you do not have any idea what you are going to work on that day. I like meeting people from all walks of life; I like the process of translation, when you have that mass of words, and slowly, meticulously you turn it into something else, yet the same. I like to play with words.
Which aspects do you least enjoy?
I feel that translators/interpreters are not appreciated enough; sometimes it seems to me that the general perception is that anybody can do translation which is a thing that never happens with other professions. I do not accept translations, such as: “Hey, my daughter/cousin/niece speaks excellent English and he/she translated my web page (meaning Google translated it). Could you take a look and do the proofreading?” Am so NOT doing it. Also, I am not on very good terms with price dumping that happens very much in the industry.
How long have you been working as a translator and interpreter?
I have always been translating, but as of 2007, the translation/interpreting is my core business.
Does this work fit with your initial studies? Did you in fact study to become a translator and interpreter?
I studied and graduated English and Russian languages with English and Russian literature. At that time, there was no separate study program for translators, but I would say that what I do for a living fits with my initial studies.
What is your career path? Why did you make the decision to work as a translator and interpreter?
I was working as English teacher in Secondary School, and was not very happy with it, so little by little, as I developed translation services, I decided to quit my job and go solo. And I never regretted it.
Is translation your sole professional work? If not, in what other fields are you involved?
Now yes, until recently I was active in NGO sector, I still am, but not on a professional basis. I also write: texts for portals, poetry and fiction (not as much as I would like though, because there are always pages to translate).
English and Spanish > French translator
French and Spanish teacher (face-to-face/Skype)