Faces of Gengo: Adrián

Not only is Adrián a Gengo translator across two language pairs (English to Spanish and Japanese to Spanish), he’s also studying for his Master’s degree in Mathematics at the University of Tokyo. Originally from Madrid, he lives in Tokyo with his brother, a fellow Gengo translator. Adrián says the complexities of knot theory (his chosen research area) and translation go hand-in-hand.

What languages do you speak and why/how did you learn them?

My native language is Spanish, but I learned English in school and studied Japanese through private lessons and visits to the country during summer holidays. I maintain proficiency by talking with friends and by listening to both languages every day (daily life for Japanese, videos on the internet for English).

How did you become a translator and how often do you translate?

I became a translator by chance. I found Gengo in 2009 (then called myGengo), signed up and took the tests. Years later I started to translate and enjoyed it. I translate when I’m free and am in the mood.

What has been your most enjoyable and challenging translation experience?

My most enjoyable experience was translating the content of a video game called 豚恋物語 (Pig Love Story). I love games, and translating it was a lot of fun. I found translating subtitles of a skateboard DVD challenging because I had to look up many words, including specialized words and slang that I didn’t know.

What’s your favorite thing about being a translator?

I enjoy moving languages around in my head.

workspace (5)

Describe your office setup or workspace.

My workspace is my desk at university—full of papers and books with just sufficient space to be able to use the keyboard. All I see is the room I’m in with two blackboards in front of me. I can also see a few trees through the window.


Based on your specific cultural expertise, what books or movies would you recommend?

I read academic literature so I can’t really recommend a book. As for movies, I would recommend Primer.

What are your preferred translation tools?

I don’t really use CAT tools, just online dictionaries like WordReference. Sometimes I also use my colleagues’ Japanese ability—if that indeed counts as a tool!

What’s your favorite productivity tool or service?

Evernote and Dropbox, which allow me to work on anything, anywhere. I can start a translation and complete it hours later from a different device.

What are the best ways to relax and stay sane as a translator?

Don’t hurry when translating. If well-scheduled, there’s always plenty of time.

Want to become a Gengo translator?


Megan Waters

The author

Megan Waters

Megan manages all things translator-related as Gengo’s Community and Digital Content Manager. Born in South Africa but now based in Tokyo, she’s passionate about languages and people. Megan spends her free time exploring secondhand shops, camping in the mountains and hosting the occasional dinner party.

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