Faces of Gengo: Oradjeha
Our next Face comes to us from Orhuwhorun, Nigeria. When not engaged in national service activities, Oradjeha puts his degree in German studies to use by translating for Gengo. He credits joining Gengo as the the beginning of his love affair with translation, although it hasn’t been an entirely smooth journey— Nigeria’s unreliable power supply sometimes makes submitting quality work on time challenging. But, his overall outlook is positive: “In spite of these obstacles, I have made comfortable progress for a beginner. I am now putting the finishing touches to my Masters application to the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, to study translation.”
Do you translate full-time? What is your special area of expertise?
I do not translate full-time and since I don’t have the requisite translator training, I am yet to pick an area of expertise. In the future, I plan to specialize in technical translation and translation studies, due to the need for translator trainers in my country, Nigeria.
Describe your office setup or workspace. What do you have on hand?
I work with my laptop at my desk. I work from the comfort of my home,
but if there is power failure, I go to a café nearby. I work best while listening to Beethoven’s symphonies or any other classical piece that catches my fancy for the day.
What is the view like out your window or office? What kind of scenery are you looking at every day?
Mostly, there is no scenery to speak of, because I work with my back to the window. When I do go out for a break, I drink in the sight of my neighbor’s farm.
And your workflow? Are there translation to-dos you check off every day, or an order of operations?
Since I am just starting out in the field of translation, I am yet to fall into a particular pattern of activities. But I certainly check my mail, RSS feed and Gengo dashboard as often as possible to make sure I don’t miss any opportunity.
Based on your linguistic and cultural expertise, what are the best books you would recommend to others?
I studied French and German for my Bachelor’s degree and in the process I have come to have deep respect for the French and German writers of the Romanticism and Realism eras. My favorite book is Balzac’s Le Père Goriot, an integral part of his oeuvre, La Comédie humaine. This book is a stark portrait of post-revolutionary Parisian society and its attendant ills. Apart from French books, I would recommend Wole Soyinka’s The Man Died to anyone who wants to gain an insight into the unholy inner workings of the Nigerian political reality.
What is your favorite “translator’s snack” for while you work?
My favorite snack is any fiber-rich cereal, with lots of milk. I find that it helps me think.
Finally, if you had to give advice to your fellow Gengo translators, what are the best ways to relax and stay sane as a translator?
Personally I stay in touch with my environment by going out and chatting with my friends. I also unwind by hanging out with my girlfriend. I find it calming.