At Multilingual Connections, it’s our international team of passionate and curious professionals that makes us who we are. Each team member brings their unique perspective and experience – both professional and personal.
This month we’re celebrating the fifth anniversary of our Production Director, Katie Baumann. Katie started at Multilingual Connections as a Spanish to English editor, and her journey included Project Manager, Senior Project Manager, and Team Lead. As one of the core members of the Multilingual Connections’ leadership team, she works on developing her people and improving processes to support our growth.
Why and how did you start working in the translation industry?
I started working in translation around 2009. I studied Spanish in college and afterwards moved to Chile to explore and travel. I was working as an English teacher at a language institute, and the owner trained me on Spanish to English translation. I loved it right away: the research, figuring out the puzzle, and all the interesting topics you come across.
Tell me a little about your background?
I grew up on the southwest side of Chicago, and was a shy kid who loved animals and reading. I also spent a couple of years of my childhood in the Caribbean traveling. I’m grateful for that because it made me realize at a young age that creative ways of living and working are possible.
What’s a typical workday like for you, and what you are currently working on?
I spend a lot of time in meetings, emails, and other various forms of team communication, where I troubleshoot or help make decisions, and a few hours per day of focused individual work. Right now I’m working with our tech team on an automated form for a key client, brainstorming a plan and structure for a new service we are offering, and working on reports for our management team to better see what’s going on in the day-to-day.
What has been your favorite project so far?
When I started at Multilingual, I was an editor of our Spanish to English translations of law enforcement interviews. This type of work was both fascinating and important, since these translations play a part in ensuring that perpetrators of child abuse or other crimes are prosecuted, and that innocent people accused of crimes have their voices heard and words expressed clearly.
We’ve also had an interesting genre of translation requests that has grown significantly over the past few years: gender-inclusive language. These projects are always fascinating and incredibly challenging, since each language has its own ingrained and unique gender structure.
What is your favorite thing about working at MLC?
I love the team and the culture. We have a strong team spirit, which is embraced by both our leaders and our diverse, language-loving group of employees, and our culture encourages creativity and personal accountability.
What have you learned since working in your position?
I think localization projects are successful when the teams can quickly anticipate all potential challenges, think creatively, and above all be understanding – since ultimately the work involves coordinating humans. Translators and project managers alike need to find a balance between being efficient while also being thorough and attentive to the little details of the text to make sure it resonates with the audience. With respect to team management, I think the same theme applies: be understanding above all, and move quickly and transparently if there are problems.
Your top 3 favorite Podcasts/Books?
I’ve been listening to Globally Speaking for industry talk. For fun, I’ve been listening to Radio Ambulante, which bills itself as a Spanish-language This American Life, as well as Las Raras, a Chilean podcast that also focuses on storytelling and Reply All, a podcast about the Internet that dives deep into how different systems in the world function.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love racing sailboats on Lake Michigan in the summer, being in the mountains, reading, tending to all the plants in my apartment, and spending time with a big community of friends and family in Chicago.
When are you happiest?
I’m sailing in a race, it’s windy, and it’s that moment when there’s just enough of a chance that something could go wrong and we’d all need to jump into action.
What values drive you?
I’m driven by kindness, understanding, and reflection, and have seen teams that act from a foundation of these values succeed over and over again. MLC’s integration of company core values into our hiring and our work has really been motivating for me and the team. We’ve focused on people who are flexible and creative and who prioritize relationships, and the result is a team of employees who gain high levels of trust from clients, vendors, and colleagues.
We congratulate Katie on her five years with Multilingual Connections and thank her for her dedication and leadership!