Spotlight on our freelancers – today: Melanie R.

Melanie has seen a lot of the Arab world – Arabic is also her main foreign language. Find out how she came to be a translator and why she doesn’t actually have any areas of specialisation.

Illustration of a woman on a desk

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Who are you? Where did you grow up? Why did you want to become a translator?

Yes, certainly. I’m Melanie and come from Klagenfurt am Wörthersee in Austria. After spending a lot of time abroad in Arab countries (from studying in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan to working in Egypt) I finally ended up in Magdeburg in Germany in 2013. That’s where I did my Masters in Specialised Translation. I then spent six months in Mannheim, where I gained an insight into the translation department of a pharmaceutical company.

Following this internship, I knew that I wanted to work as a freelancer. However, working on my own at home was not sufficient for me – in parallel with this I wanted to pursue my second passion, teaching. So I moved to Würzburg where I taught Arabic at the university. I now live in Munich – a nice city from where I can easily get to my beloved mountains. And at the same time I can maintain the professional networks I’ve acquired.

Translation courses have a reputation for being demanding; that suited my ambitious nature perfectly. A regular language course seemed too boring and run-of-the-mill to me. That's why I decided, shortly before my school-leaving exams, to become a translator.

Which languages do you work with and which areas do you specialise in? What kind of texts do you translate for Apostroph?

My working languages are Arabic, German and English. I don’t really have any actual areas of specialisation, no need: I believe as a rule I can translate any text. All that is required is proper research and time. For Apostroph, I usually translate marketing, medical and legal texts.

How long have you been working for Apostroph as a freelancer?

About six years now.

How did you get to work for Apostroph as a freelancer?

I previously worked as a freelancer for Transcript. Apostroph acquired this company – and with it me.

What do you enjoy about working with Apostroph?

The straightforward order fulfilment process (from accepting/turning down requests to the provision of reference files right through to delivering and settling orders) thanks to the sophisticated portal. The project managers are very respectful, understanding and friendly, which makes it a pleasure to work with them. Of course I also like the great variety of projects.

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

Reliability. In relation to assistance with queries, variety of jobs and settling orders.

What does your typical working day as a translator look like?

I don't have a “typical” working day. Depending on the urgency of jobs and deadlines my working day can start early or late. With the emphasis on “late”. To make up for this I’ll happily work late into the night as I find it easier to concentrate then.

Would you take the same professional path if you could start over again?

It's difficult to say; there are so many fascinating professions. I would also get a thrill from being a physicist or astronomer, even if my maths leaves something to be desired. In the end I would therefore probably become a translator again.

Do you have a couple of tips for prospective linguists and freelancers who translate for us?

I advise prospective translators to talk to experienced professionals. They can give newcomers valuable, practical tips to help them get established. This will certainly make the first steps, such as preparing quotations, acquiring orders, invoicing, quality standards and research techniques, easier for them.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Melanie!

Do you want to know more about other freelancers on our books? Did your route into translation look like Melanie’s or was it completely different?

Please send an e-mail to

And stay tuned for more freelancer interviews to come in the following months!

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