Linguist Spotlight: “Translation is a constant challenge to improve what you do”

Tomoyuki and Silvi
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Topic: Our Talent

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At Multilingual Connections, we work with hundreds of talented linguists across the globe who are experts at translation, transcription, subtitling, and more. When we pair each project with the best linguist for the job, we take into consideration their native language, region, and area(s) of expertise to achieve the highest quality of linguistic accuracy and cultural relevance.

Linguists who go above and beyond are recognized as “Linguist of the Month” based on their exceptional quality, reliability, and their general amazingness. This month, we are excited to feature two outstanding linguists, Tomoyuki and Silvi.

Tomoyuki

Tomoyuki is originally from Japan and has lived in the UK since he was 18. He has been working with Multilingual Connections for 10 years and most of his translation work is in the medical and pharmaceutical fields.

Silvi

Silvi is originally from Argentina. She joined our linguist team in 2019 and translates marketing and eLearning content from English to Spanish for Multilingual Connections. 

Here are a few interesting facts about them:

Besides English, what languages do you speak and/or translate?

Tomoyuki: As a native Japanese speaker living in an English-speaking country, the vast majority of my jobs are in the English to Japanese language pair. I don’t ’speak’ other languages as such, but I studied Sanskrit and Pali (ancient Indian languages) for many years at university, and have a doctorate in the field. My ‘expertise’ in this field, which I regard as my intellectual passion, doesn’t pay my bills, though, apart from an odd job request to translate a proverb or motto into Sanskrit for a tattoo.

Silvi: I mostly translate from English to Spanish and vice versa. I also know a little Portuguese and Italian (I’ve been studying the latter for the last two years now).  

What do you love about translating?

Tomoyuki: It is a constant challenge to improve what I do. You constantly discover new ways of translating things. One practical aspect which many freelance translators perhaps take for granted is that we have been doing remote working for years and are well-adapted for this current upheaval! All I need is my laptop and somewhere comfortable and quiet (and the Internet, of course). We’ve had to go through a period of lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, but I consider myself extremely lucky that I have been able to continue doing what I have been doing, pretty much with no adjustments. This practical advantage of being a translator may sound banal, but it is something quite valuable at the moment.

Silvi: Undoubtedly, the constant reminder of the power of words. And also, the opportunity of learning something new every day to make information accessible to new audiences. 

Why and how did you become a translator? 

Tomoyuki: With a background in philology, translating from a foreign language wasn’t alien to me. Prior to becoming a translator, I was an editorial assistant and typesetter for a book publishing project, but it folded shortly after the financial crisis in 2009. Becoming a translator seemed like a natural move since I didn’t need any retraining and had everything I needed (computer and a home office in essence). Multilingual Connections was one of the first companies that gave me my break and I have never looked back.

Silvi: The long version – Since I was a child, I had a sort of special connection with words; I would spend hours reading books and writing poems and songs about boys at school, friends, and family. When I turned 8, my family and I moved to the United States, where we lived for 5 years. Being so young, I learned the language in no time. 

When we came back to Argentina, I had kind of forgotten my Spanish, so during most of my high school, I had to sit for special “Language” exams to move on to the next grade. I spent hours with tutors, learning about direct and indirect modifiers, subjects and predicates, passive and active sentences… And one day, I just knew it. I was going to spend the rest of my life with words. 

A few months before finishing high school, feeling pressured to make a decision about my future, Google (as always, doing things right), just showed me the way. And there I was, browsing through Facultad de Lengua’s website; learning about this awesome profession. 

But the truth is, sitting there at my new desk in this amazing University building during my first week at college, I found out that I had a completely distorted idea of what “translating” is. And I spent the next 6 (well, 7 actually) years figuring out if I was suitable for this incredibly complex task. And the truth is, I had my doubts all the way…  

Now, A few years later, I have this amazing diploma in front of me reminding me every day that I’ve chosen an amazing path, and that I have the opportunity of connecting the realities of two different cultures every day. 

TL;DR – I love languages, I love words, and I love technology and its unlimited information access.  

What kind of projects do you enjoy and what was the most interesting project that you’ve worked on?

Tomoyuki: I like projects where I learn something new while translating – about what people think, how something works, etc.  But as long as there is variety in the projects (which there always is), I’m happy.

The most memorable project I have worked on was a documentary on the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, which featured testimonies from its survivors. Their harrowing yet caring accounts have left a profound mark on me.

Silvi: I would say I enjoy working mostly with e-Learning material, which is quite a challenge after all. Especially e-Learning material for kids. One would think it’s easy-peasy as, after all, the terminology is (usually) less technical and structures are simpler. However, translating e-Learning material involves a whole lot more – creating a new “voice”; keeping brevity and simplicity in mind, based on the child’s learning level; condensing information to avoid expansion, and more. But the idea of knowing that I, based on the words I choose, will be part of a kids’ learning development… it just makes sense.   

Thanks to Tomoyuki and Silvi for being such a great part of our linguist team. Stay tuned for more updates from Multilingual Connections!

Want to see more like this?

We periodically share news and updates about language and our business. We’ll never share your contact information with anyone.