A university student based in Denmark, Julie is a young and well-traveled Gengo translator in two language pairs. Having lived in different countries growing up ignited her passion for languages and translation. Wise beyond her years, she has a great thirst for knowledge – one of the traits of a good translator.
Occupation: University student
Gengo translator since: May 2016
Language pairs: Danish to English, English to Danish
What languages do you speak?
Danish, English, French, and learning Korean
If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be and why?
I would be fluent in Arabic because it is such a beautiful language, both in its written and spoken form. There is also a deep history in the language that ties into today’s societies and current events, which I find truly fascinating.
Do you have experience living in other countries? If so, where?
I do; in fact, living abroad is all I’ve ever known. I am what would be labeled as a “Third Culture Kid”, and thus have been exposed to all sorts of diversity during my almost-twenty years of life experience. The timeline of moving that is my life is quite (and by ‘quite’ I mean VERY) long, so to make a long story short: I was born in Belgium, moved back and forward between Denmark and Belgium four times; this was followed by a more permanent move back to Denmark, though for a short period of time only. Two years after, I moved to Latvia; and finally, I moved from Latvia to Lebanon, where I graduated high school. Now I am in my freshman year of university in Denmark.
All in all, these are my stats: 11 non-consecutive years in Belgium, three and a half non-consecutive years in Denmark, two consecutive years in Latvia, and three consecutive years in Lebanon. Additionally, the longest I’ve ever lived in a country before leaving is five years.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you enjoy being a translator and why?
Eight. I love translating and I love being able to see and understand the differences in our languages, all the while discovering new ways to communicate with and learn from each other. However, just like any other job, translating can become a bit dull when there’s not much of a challenge in what you’re translating, or it can become stressful and intimidating if the task seems too complicated or overwhelming.
How has translating for Gengo impacted your life?
Since I haven’t been here for very long, I do not think I am the best person to ask this question; but for all that it may do, it has definitely allowed to touch up my grammar and translating skills, as well as helped me sharpen my critical thinking when it comes to the differentiation of a direct translation and an accurate translation. Having been able to work with translating has also helped me to see patterns and structures within the different languages I speak/am learning that may actually help one with learning a new language.
When you were growing up, what did you aspire to become?
I never wanted to be a specific thing, but I always knew where I wanted to be. I wanted to continue traveling the world. I wanted to follow in my mother’s footsteps and become part of the international world of diplomacy and international relations. I still wish to do that, though it may be through different means than embassies or the UN, for instance.
Recommend three of your favorite language-related books/films.
Why You Say It by Webb Garrison, Mother Tongue by Joel Davis, and Literally, The Best Language Book Ever by Paul Yeager.
What quote do you live by?
“All the world’s a stage” by William Shakespeare. It may not have much to do with the world of politics, but to me, it is a powerful mantra to make your life what you want it to be: you are the actor, and the world is your stage. Life is but one big performance, where you can be anything you want to be, and do anything you want to do. The people around you are actors as well, but that does not necessarily imply that you’re actors in the same play. You’ll only find out by developing the storyline that is your life.
What advice would you give to new or aspiring translators?
Never stop learning. It’s that desire for knowledge that will reflect how well you can translate, and as you go along, you will be able to enjoy translating just as much as you enjoy learning a new skill.
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
Don’t just admire the Arabic language – learn it while you can! You’re in Lebanon, surrounded by Arabic speaking people! Do NOT waste this chance to discover a new way of communicating with others and expressing yourself. Trust me, you’ll regret it.
Want to be a Gengo translator?