After finishing an internship at the UN, fate led her to a job at Okodia Translation Services. The job that could be done from home, since from the very start this translation agency has adopted the remote working model. Natalia is part of our Project Management team and she has been at this small but perfectly formed family for more than 6 years! May there be many more!
– What are your daily tasks?
This is something that people are always asking me. To this day, not everyone knows what a translation agency is or what my job as a Project Manager involves. You could say that I am the link between the client and the translator and the person who makes the whole process work. I am also responsible for ensuring that the work produced is perfect. My work involves a very wide range of tasks, some tangible but others less so: analysing the projects and the needs communicated by the client, choosing the ideal translator for each project or for each phase that it will go through, setting deadlines (considering the client’s needs, of course), anticipating possible complications and avoiding them (we need a very well developed ability to see into the future!), answering any questions that the translator may have, dealing with any unforeseen circumstances that arise throughout the work process and, finally, making sure that we are producing a perfect translation that meets the customer’s needs. I assure you that this is a very summarised list of our daily tasks!
– What encouraged you to start working at Okodia?
After finishing an internship at the UN, fate led me to Okodia, a very approachable company with a very fresh and exciting vision and that was focussing on teleworking (relatively unknown at that time). I tried my luck, and they gave me the opportunity to train and do my bit in a job that I had always wanted to do since university.
– What do you like most about your daily work here?
Besides the fact that every day is an adventure, and you never know what it will bring, I love the fact that it is a job where you interact with everyone involved in the process: clients, translators and colleagues who help you with certain tasks. It is lovely to have such good relationships with so many people. Of course, there are difficult moments when things do not go as well as I would like, but it is very satisfying when a client is happy not only with the result of the work but with the way I have handled all their requests or the complications that sometimes arise, when you see the human value that we bring to the project management process. I also like knowing that I am really supporting the translators every time I help them with a problem (they sometimes thank me by sharing some details about their life, a photograph, an anecdote).
– Why are you interested in the world of translation?
Since I was little, I have had a special interest in communication (no doubt watching cartoons in another language helped too!). When I started to master English, I loved the feeling of being able to help other people to understand something, to understand other people when travelling. In essence, for me translation seems like a social task in one way or another.
– What is the most curious thing (strange, odd or nice) that has happened to you in your time working at Okodia?
As “special” events, at times over the years I have stepped out of the routine of my usual job as a project manager. For example, meeting a potential client to explain our services or being responsible for training a colleague. As an anecdote, when a client writes an email addressing you with a name completely different from yours, when translators send us photos of their children (details that always make us smile behind the screen), or those times when we receive 8,000 words to translate in a couple of hours. I can assure you that we are never bored.
– How would you describe the world of translation?
Fairly unknown and misunderstood. Fortunately, an increasing number of companies are understanding the need to translate their products or services, the value that this provides and what they receive in return for doing it, and the work behind the scenes is beginning to become more visible.
– Some people say that the world of translation is very complicated. After all your years working at Okodia, do you think that’s right? Why?
From the point of view of the translator, it is a very competitive world and it is difficult to become established. If I have learned anything, it is that, as in many other areas, today you need to provide strong added value so that people want to keep using your services. Luckily, we have a great network of professionals who put everything into their work and are passionate about what they do. They make the difficult seem easy.
– What advice would you give companies thinking about whether or not they should translate their content?
I think that nowadays companies all aspire to reach the largest possible audience, but it is not worth doing this in just any which way, you must connect. We all choose one company or another, for any service or product, based on the way it makes us feel, whether we have the sensation of being looked after. If a company translates its content or publishes posts on the various social networks in your language, it will have more of an impact on you than another that you feel has done any old thing just to muddle through. Details do matter.
– What are your greatest achievements?
To this day, I am proud to have studied for my degree and worked at the same time, to help out at home and to do my best every day.
– What are your favourite hobbies? What do you do in your spare time?
A good conversation with a friend, going to the theatre, travelling with my partner, I love watching thrillers, trying new restaurants and I have a terrible sin (oops!) which is a love of Tetris.
– A country where you would like to live.
I am always saying that I would love to live for a while in a city by the sea. I think it must be magic. A city where I have already lived and that feels like home, Nice.
– Is there a language that particularly catches your attention? Why?
I love Greek! Really sing-song and easier than it sounds. At university I studied it for three years in a row and I ended up being able to speak it well, but now I can’t even remember three words.
– How and where do you see yourself professionally in 10 years’ time?
Working with the same passion as I have today, with a good balance with my personal life and, ideally, in an idyllic location next to the beach 🙂