Spotlight on our freelancers – today: Anya C.-R.

Daughter of diplomats and a citizen of the world, this literature graduate began her career as a journalist and French teacher before focusing on translation full time. Find out what she most likes about translation and working with Apostroph.

Middle-aged woman sitting inside

Hello Anya! Tell us a bit about your childhood and background before becoming a freelance translator.

I spent my childhood in Germany, France, Turkey, Japan and the United States before packing my bags for Geneva, where I studied English and French literature. German is my mother tongue, but having done all of my schooling in French schools and then gone to university in Geneva, French is now my preferred language. These days I live in Basel with my husband and three teenage children.

After university, I first worked as a journalist and French teacher for adults. It was somewhat by chance, thanks to people I knew, that I began my career as a translator. Word of mouth being the best advertising there is and having taken a shine to translating, my work grew over time to become a full-time job, which I’ve now been for doing for over ten years.

What are your working languages and what type of texts do you translate for Apostroph?

I translate exclusively from German to French because it’s the language combination I like most and feel most comfortable in. My favourite types of text are those aimed at the general public, in other words, marketing texts, brochures, advertisements, blogs, etc. I particularly enjoy translations that allow me to be creative. Because I’m lucky enough to speak Swiss German too, I also translate from various dialects of German (except Walser German!).

How and when did you join the Apostroph team?

I’ve been working with Apostroph for about three years. I wanted to get new clients and discovered the firm by doing a simple Internet search. So I submitted my application, exchanged a few emails with Luise and did a test translation. I received confirmation that I had been added to the freelance pool during my summer holiday. I’ve been receiving jobs pretty much daily ever since!

What do you like most about working with Apostroph?

I like the friendly interactions I have with the language managers, the easy-to-use myFREELANCE platform and the varied subject matter of the jobs I’m sent (insurance, healthcare, telecoms, food industry, tourism, etc.).

What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of Apostroph? And why?

Human! In our day-to-day work as freelance translators, everything’s done over the Internet. This means that the human side of things tends to take a backseat. We have to meet deadlines, never make mistakes, be reachable, responsive, and, above all, productive. At Apostroph, I have the impression that the language managers never forget that we’re people, too, with a private life and other commitments. It’s very much welcome.

Could you tell us about something cool or funny that you’ve experienced in your translation career?

There’s nothing that particularly stands out, but I like never knowing what the day will bring. I don’t know how long the translations I'm going to receive are, or what they’ll be about. So I don’t really have a routine working day! But one thing is certain: I learn new things every day. And at times about subjects I thought were utterly uninteresting – but appetite comes with eating! Sometimes I’ll be with friends and a fairly specialised subject will come up in conversation that (despite myself) I know a lot about. Then they’ll ask me: “But how do you know that?” To which I’ll usually reply: “It’s just that I did a translation about this.”

What does your typical working day look like?

I’m careful to work standard hours. As a general rule, I work from 8 am to 12 noon and from 1 pm to 5 pm. There are of course gaps at times, but I try to stick to these hours so that my translation work doesn’t take over my family or social life. This is all the more important when you work from home. I sometimes do a bit of work at weekends, but simply because I know that I won’t be disturbed.

If you could start again from scratch, would you take the same career path?

I think so. I take enormous pleasure in engaging with and nurturing my bilingualism every day. And from a linguistic point of view, I've never stopped learning. What’s more, the freedom and flexibility that my freelance work gives me is an invaluable opportunity!

Do you have any advice for budding linguists or other freelancers who translate for us?

I would not presume to give advice to young translators, other than not to spread themselves too thin by offering lots of language combinations, because it isn’t credible.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Anya!

Do you want to know more about the freelancers on our books? Do you have a similar path to translation as Anya's or a completely different one? 

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And stay tuned for more Freelancer Interviews in the coming months.  

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