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ITI Profile: Simona Iancu

We talk to English and French to Romanian translator and interpreter Simona Iancu in the latest in our ITI profile series.

SIancuWhen and why did you decide you wanted to work as a translator?

As a child I was fascinated by people talking in a different language. My parents studied French and Russian, and I was always curious to learn and to understand other people’s languages.  My mum is a teacher and she saw my interest and passion for languages, so she encouraged me to pursue the career in translating. Somehow, I knew that I was going to work with languages. I grew up studying foreign languages from primary school to university.

 During my master’s degree I have been accepted on a study exchange at the University of Trieste, Italy (Scuola Superiore di Lingue Moderne per Interpreti e Traduttori) where I have had the best language experience ever, having to translate from and into English, Italian, French, Romanian.

Do you have a recent project you are particularly proud of?

My work varies quite a lot. Today I can have an interpreting job in court in North London, tomorrow I must translate 10 pages for a client who works in advertising. I always have to be prepared for the unexpected. I do both interpreting and translating jobs and I do them with passion.

One recent project that I am still working on is running my own translation business. Collaboration with other translators and linguists is one of my priorities. Getting projects from all over the world for me and the other translators I work with is a very rewarding feeling. I am only specialised in translations from and into English, French and Romanian, but the need for translations in other languages is very demanding. Most of the translators need to register with translation agencies to get some work or to build up a network for projects and jobs. I am one of them too, but also, I do have my own direct clients from my website (www.translatedin.uk) which I have created from scratch. I think promoting yourself online is very important. If you are not working as an in-house translator then you have to be able to get work from other channels, like your own website, visible online professional profiles and promoting your work all the time is an essential step towards a successful career.

Do you have any specialisms?

If you want to stand out from the crowd and beat the competition, then you need to specialise. As a translator it is essential to translate in a field that is profitable and can offer a lot of work.

I specialise in legal and medical translations, but I do enjoy working with texts from other fields, like technical, IT, business, finance, advertising. I believe that it is important to specialise, but translators are not experts in the fields in which they need to translate, they become better with experience. I think translating texts from different fields keeps the translator alert, curious and eager to learn new things. As a translator you must know a little bit of everything even if you are a specialist translator in one field, and to be able to grow professionally you must be willing to learn all the time.

What do you enjoy most about being a translator?

Working as a translator is very rewarding for me. Helping people get their message across and facilitating the communication between them is a satisfying feeling. The most enjoyable part of this profession is the networking with other translators who always inspire me. Their stories, careers and passion for translation and languages are motivating.

Being a translator is hard and demanding work, difficult and challenging but it is the only profession where you can communicate with confidence and transfer any message without language barriers. This really changes lives.

You joined ITI recently. What are you hoping to get out of membership?

I am very proud to be part of the ITI team, I do feel like I grow professionally with all they can offer. I hope I can do as much CPD as possible for my professional development. I would like to learn from other professional translators and interpreters’ experiences and join as many events as possible organised by ITI.

Is there a word, phrase or saying you particularly like in Romanian, that doesn’t have a direct equivalent in English?

Like in any language there are many words, phrases and sayings in Romanian that cannot be translated into English simply because it doesn’t have the same emotional effect as in Romanian. When trying to translate something untranslatable, the translation sounds more like a definition or explanation and the message is lost. One saying that I like in Romanian and I find it hard to translate into English is “Spor!” which is a saying Romanians use when they wish to another person “Have a good day!” or “Have a nice day!” but it actually means “May your work be productive!” which sounds a bit old fashioned in English and ridiculous for modern days.

How would you like your career to develop?

My career is in progress, in a continuous development and I am always working to improve my skills, whether they are about communication, languages, translation, technologies, there is always room for more and better. The translation profession is changing continuously and anyone who follows this career has to adapt, learn and be willing to change. I think one can develop his/her career by learning how to cope with difficulties and new changes in the profession and how to grow financially and professionally.

I think that translating more and better is the key to a successful translation career. The more work you do the better you will feel. We grow professionally with experience and patience.

Do you have any priorities this year for your own continuing professional development?

My first priority this year is to learn more about the technologies in translation. I have started to work as a translator the old fashion way, with pen and paper. Now it is more about technology, software, modernisation of translation and that’s why I decided to attend an intensive course in Translation Technologies at the University of Antwerp in Belgium in September. I do a lot of translation work with machine translation tools and software, but things change rapidly, and I want to keep up with this fast-changing environment. It is one of the things I like about this job: novelty and modernisation of work.

Who has inspired you?

I have my passion for languages from my school teachers. I had really passionate teachers of languages in high school and at university. They made learning languages fun and challenging, and I loved reading books in a foreign language. I think it is important to have around us people with a passion for what they do, motivated and creative, inspirational for the young generations. I also got inspired while travelling abroad and meeting people from all over the world. Being able to communicate with everyone is really the best job in the world.

What would be your perfect holiday?

My perfect holiday would be somewhere sunny and warm together with my family and friends. Living in London for over 7 years now, where to be honest the weather is not always great, I can say that I learnt to enjoy beach holidays and sunny days more.

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