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The team at Transparent Language is made up of all kinds of kinds.
As you might expect from a language technology company, nearly everyone speaks or has studied another language, from Romanian and Russian to Python and SQL. Get to know the talented team who works so hard to provide language learning opportunities to government personnel, libraries, universities and K-12 schools, and of course curious individuals.
I am a native English speaker. My language learning background is a bit of a hodgepodge! I started learning Spanish in 7th grade, and took 2 years of high school French. My real passion was learning German. When my high school didn’t offer it, I decided to teach myself at the age of 14. I did two summer homestays in Germany during high school. In college, I accomplished my dream of a study abroad year in Heidelberg, Germany.
Naturally, when I graduated college, I moved to South Korea. I only knew 3 words: “yes” (네), “no” (아니오), and “bus” (버스). After two years of classes and immersion, I passed the KLPT (Korean Language Proficiency Test) at the lowest level (1/6). I counted that as a success!
Since my time in Peru, I’ve also had a strong interest in Quechua. I still only know a few words, but it’s another dream of mine to learn more.
I earned a BA in International Studies and Spanish at Elmira College. During my studies, I took two trips to Cusco, Peru. The first time I went to study Spanish. The second time I interned at a non-governmental development organization (NGDO). During my year in Heidelberg, Germany, I was an intern at the library of the German American Institute.
After graduation, I taught English in Gwangju, South Korea. Aside from teaching students in grades 3-8 in the classroom, I also created audio and videos for the school. I loved that part. When I came back to the States I spent 3 years at a Localization company. I worked specifically with market research clients to prepare their content for markets all over the world.
This August will be 4 years!
My role as Content Project Manager can be tricky to explain because it encompasses lots of bits and pieces that add up to a polished product. No two days are the same!
My days range from working independently to collaborating with the Content team, other internal teams, or external resources depending on the task at hand. Oftentimes several Excel files are involved. I edit and review a lot of text, both in English and other languages. And get the audio recorded. Sometimes I record the English audio for our content.
There is a whole different aspect aside from the content, too. I am responsible for defining projects, planning, executing, and keeping them on track. That includes everything from writing detailed guidelines, making sure internal tools are updated, finding, contracting, and training qualified resources, to producing and publishing the final product in our courseware. Any given day I can be found feverishly typing at my desk, working on one of those steps.
Google Translate for sure. While I would not recommend it for a publish-worthy translation, it can often provide insight into a text. Or read a script that you can’t. With the right usage, it is a powerful tool. Of course, it also provides lots of laughs when the translation goes awry.
And dictionaries. I spend a lot of time in Merriam Webster. And similar resources for other languages. Meanings are so nuanced, even within a language. When you’re working between two languages it’s important to get the concept right. You gain a fine appreciation for context!
My first project at Transparent was in Khmer, which is written with a very complex script. We use several proprietary tools internally to create our content, which take time to learn. While I pride myself on being a quick learner, Khmer taught me a new level of understanding when it comes to the interaction of language and technology. Let’s just say I got to know our tools development team very quickly!
Showing my advanced 7th grade Korean students one of my practice tests for the KLPT exam. They were thrilled to see complicated questions I had answered correctly (whether knowingly or by luck), and eager to explain to me why my answers did not work in other cases. It was a lot of fun for them to turn the tables and play teacher. It was the kind of moment that makes cultural exchanges so fulfilling.
Don’t be shy. You are going to make mistakes, that is a perfectly natural part of the process. Take it in stride, and celebrate your progress. If you have the chance to experience immersion, do it! You’ll learn so much more than a language or a culture, you will learn about yourself in the process. Keep an open mind.
I’m training for my first full 140.6 in August 2017: Ironman Mont Tremblant.