Open road interview series: Michelle Komura Reply

This is the seventh post in’s Open Road interview series in celebration of the site’s year-end membership campaign.

View previous posts in this series here.

Today we feature Japanese to English translator Michelle Komura. Michelle is a part-time freelance translator, a role that she balances along with studying and being a mother of three small children. She currently resides in Australia after having spent over a decade in Japan.

Q. How long have you been working as a translator, and what kind of changes have you noticed in your work during the course of your career?
I have been translating for over fifteen years, with varying levels of productivity. While I can’t comment on the industry as a whole, personally, I am delighted with the technological advances which have allowed me the mobility and flexibility to work anywhere, anytime. For working mothers such as myself, the ability to take my laptop or tablet with me when I meet clients or work away from my home office is fantastic, and definitely increases my productivity Sometimes, I just leave the kids with a babysitter and go off to translate in a café of my choice!

Q. Are you optimistic about the future of the translation industry?
I am most certainly optimistic about the future of the industry, especially given the increasingly sophisticated technology available. As mentioned above, it continues to provide great opportunities for working on the go, and while machine translation (MT) could be presumed to spell doom for translators, I think it actually serves to show what a valuable resource talented language professionals are. The ubiquity of MT means that everyone has had the experience of having to muddle through a poor, inaccurate translation at some point. That experience should prompt one to insist upon quality translation.

Q. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your career as a language professional?
Being a language professional is rewarding in many ways, both personally and professionally, however perhaps the most fulfilling aspect is the opportunity to add to the collective knowledge base through translation. That is to say, being involved in the transmission of ideas, creating understanding and exposure through application of my skills is both greatly satisfying and motivational.

Q. How has being a member of helped you meet your freelance objectives?
For me, is a virtual workplace, a great place to confer with colleagues, as well as a source of work projects. Although I have only recently become a full member, I have already profited from the expertise of the team and the informative discussions in the forums. I look forward to continuing to learn from everyone here.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?
In the short term, I am looking to maintain a steady stream of projects in my current proficiencies, while working toward my graduation in October. My long term aim is to build on my linguistics background and current psychological science studies to transition to a biopsychology specialization.

More on the Open Road campaign and’s Plus package kickstarted this campaign in September with the release of two new service packages to accompany its professional membership. Now members are able to choose between two service packages — “Standard” and “Plus” — according to their personal needs and preferences.

Learn more about the Plus package vision in the following video from Founder and President Henry Dotterer.

Open road interview series: Janos Barna (interview in German) Reply

Welcome to the sixth post in’s Open Road interview series featuring the winners of the site’s weekly campaign giveaway. This time we feature Janos Barna, a German to Hungarian translator and a long-standing member of He answers my questions here in German.

Janos, a German to Hungarian translator, at his (impeccable!) workstation.

Frage: Ich habe gesehen, dass Sie seit zehn Jahren bei sind. Danke für Ihre Unterstützung unserer Website! Welche Veränderungen haben Sie in diesem Zeitraum in der Branche wahrgenommen? Sind Sie optimistisch in Bezug auf die Zukunft dieses Berufs?
Vor zehn Jahren habe ich praktisch ohne Ausnahme alle Übersetzungen ohne CAT-Tools angefertigt, was heutzutage kaum vorstellbar ist. Zur Zeit verwende ich fünf CAT-Tools, weil es viele Auftraggeber gibt, die nur mit ihrem eigenen CAT-Tool arbeiten.

Hinsichtlich der Zukunft bin ich optimistisch, ich wollte schon immer Übersetzer und Dolmetscher werden und in der Zukunft möchte ich nach wie vor als Freiberufler arbeiten.

Frage: Welches war der erfüllendste Aspekt Ihrer Karriere?
Das Beste ist, dass ich sehr oft Texte übersetze oder eben dolmetsche, die wirklich die neuesten Dinge beschreiben. Neue Technologien, neue Ideen, neue Lösungen, neue Produkte usw. die in meinem Land bisher unbekannt, bzw. nur für wenige Leute bekannt waren. Das hat aber auch oft zur Folge, dass ich Ausdrücke übersetzen muss, die in den Wörterbüchern nicht zu finden sind und bei denen ich lange recherchieren muss. Aber das ist das Schöne an der Übersetzung!

Frage: Hat Ihnen Ihre Mitgliedschaft bei geholfen, Ihre Ziele als Freiberufler zu erreichen?
Wie gesagt, ich wollte schon immer Übersetzer und Dolmetscher werden. Als ich die Ausbildung zum Fachübersetzer und Dolmetscher absolviert habe, habe ich mich sofort selbstständig gemacht. Damals hat mein Kollege an der Universität zu mir gesagt, dass es für mich eventuell vorteilhaft sein könnte, einmal in eine ProZ-Mitgliedschaft zu investieren. Wer weiß, vielleicht lohnt es sich! In den ersten zwei Monaten habe ich leider keinen Auftrag erhalten. Aber nach zwei Monaten, im Dezember 2006 habe ich einen großen Auftrag erhalten. Der Auftraggeber war später mit mir sehr zufrieden, wollte mit mir langfristig zusammenarbeiten und dadurch ist es mir gelungen, in dieser Branche Fuß zu fassen. In den letzten zehn Jahren haben mich sehr viele Auftraggeber über gefunden und ich habe nicht nur einmal, sondern bisher elfmal in die ProZ-Mitgliedschaft investiert.

Frage: Das Thema dieser Kampagne ist „The Open Road“. Was streben Sie in Ihrer Karriere als nächstes an?
Als Übersetzer und Dolmetscher bin ich immer bereit, mich weiterzubilden. Ferner versuche ich nach wie vor meine Geschäftsbeziehungen zu vertiefen bzw. zu erweitern.

Translation of questions into German provided thanks to’s German localization team.

Did you know? is in the process of rolling out the benefits of the new Plus package. These are the features that have been released so far:

Keep an eye out of the Plus subscription benefits page to stay up to date on the latest features in’s Plus package.

Open road interview series: Jesús Tena Ruiz Reply

This is the fifth post in the Open Road interview series featuring winners of’s weekly campaign giveaway. Those who purchase or renew their memberships during this campaign are entered into a drawing for a weekly Apple Watch giveaway, and the grand prize winner will receive a brand new Nissan Juke.

Learn more here »

This week’s post features Jesús Tena Ruiz who, after working as an interpreter, is now transitioning to a career in freelance translation. Jesús works primarily in English to Spanish and specializes in finance, accounting, and banking.

Workstation: Jesús Tena Ruiz

Jesús Tena Ruiz at his home workstation in Valencia, Spain.

Q. You mentioned that you used to work primarily as an interpreter, and now you are working more as a translator. How has that transition been?
A. Well, I have a background in finance, accounting and banking. I used to work in a bank and had to interpret for some of the English-speaking customers. From time to time I’ve been working as a simultaneous interpreter. Now I’m working both as a translator and as an interpreter, about half and half, and in the near future I expect to work more as a translator.

Q. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your career as a language professional?
A. Helping others is always rewarding, even when it’s simply when they need an interpreter to work face to face with them while they complete paperwork. But when I really “feel good” is when I interpret at a doctor’s office or a hospital appointment. There you can see the effect on your customer: they feel more relaxed to have someone there with them so that they can fully understand what is going on.

Translating documents is also fulfilling, but in a different way. It’s a mental challenge to give the best of your language knowledge, to convey the full meaning and “flavor” of the source. You are always learning something new.

Q. How has being a member of helped you meet your freelance objectives?
A. Using KudoZ is always helpful for me, and the questions often contain lively discussions. The ability to check a Blue Board record to evaluate a new client is also vital for me, as this allows me to read feedback that others have left about them. I also read the articles and forums on for helpful advice and comments from other translators.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?
A. My next step as an interpreter is to practice, practice, practice. My goal is to improve my skills as a simultaneous translator. My next step as a translator is to to learn how to use several CAT tools, diversify my skills, and be available for different outsourcers.

Interview with Nigel Greenwood: Looking forward to many more years on the open road Reply

Next up in the Open Road interview series is Apple Watch winner Nigel Greenwood, a freelance translator and interpreter working primarily in Spanish and Catalan into English. Nigel specializes in technical, engineering, legal and financial texts, and has been in the business for over thirty years. He currently resides in Valencia.

nigelgreenwoodQ. I see that you’ve been working as a translator since 1984. I’m sure you’ve witnessed a lot of changes in the field during your career. How have these changes altered the nature of your work?
A. I became a full-time freelance translator after being made redundant in my last position when the company I worked for, after 10 long years, closed its doors in 2008. I was then 54 and of course I was desperate and downhearted, and was searching for a job on the Internet when I found I quoted for a project and, surprise! My quote was accepted, I did the translation, sent off an invoice and surprise! I received payment. This is what convinced me. Since then, indeed, I have witnessed many changes in the translating industry. That is what caused me to become more specialized. Therefore, during my free time I studied all I could about aviation and helicopters, which has allowed me to be invited to do more interpreting work in those fields.

Q. Your profile indicates that one of your specialties is working as an in-flight interpreter for real and simulator flights. That’s incredible – how did you get into that line of work?
A. In-flight interpreting is certainly exciting and thrilling. How did I get involved? Well I am thankful to for this. You see, one of my first clients was a Spanish agency who found me through After doing many technical translations for them, they invited me to quote for an interpreting project during a Mechanics course for helicopters. I prepared the quote and it was accepted by their client. The course -at their client’s premises in Spain- was led by a Chief Instructor from the company’s headquarters. He taught the course and all went well. At the end of this three-week course he asked me if I was available for another course, this one on avionics. I accepted and during that time he evaluated me as an interpreter. I was then invited as an interpreter at the company’s base in France. There I also worked as an interpreter for simulator courses and then, after showing my capability, I was asked to interpret in-flight courses. Their clients -mainly Latin Americans- were all very pleased with my interpretation and gave positive feedback about me. I have worked continuously with this client since 2010.

Q. Are you optimistic about the future of the industry?
A. Yes, I think that although there is much fierce competition, not to mention the rise of machine translation, gradually clients are seeing that quality is always better than price. In fact, I have gained more clients recently due to them coming to me to re-do another colleague’s work. Of course, we should assure we are up-to-date with all the knowledge about our specialities. Naturally, we also have to be aware of how the industry is progressing, CAT tools, etc.

Q. How has being a member of helped you meet your freelance objectives?
A. As I mentioned earlier, I found my initial, very good client through, and since then I’ve found enough clients to keep me busy. In fact, I very rarely quote on offers now, but I like reading some of the forum posts and seeing other viewpoints from colleagues. I feel very grateful to you all, and that is why I will always remain a member of Whenever anyone asks me about my profession and how they can start as a translator, I always suggest that they have a look at For me, it is the best way to start in this exciting industry.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?
A. Well, I take this to mean that I have not yet reached my ceiling. I plan to concentrate on my interpreting work and feel that this is good for me. I see the opportunity for improving my abilities and enjoying my profession even more. Certainly my road is open and I am journeying along it to my delight, and looking forward to many years of work.

Many thanks to Nigel for sharing your story with us! Wishing you many more years of work ahead of you.

As a reminder, all posts in series can be found at Stay tuned for another interview in this series to be featured soon!

Interview with Mac Sharkawy: New technology leads to new opportunities on the open road Reply

This is the third post in the Open Road interview series, this time featuring Arabic translator Mac Sharkawy. Mac specializes in legal and financial translations and currently resides in New York City. For all posts in this series, visit

mac_sharkawyQ. I see from your profile that you specialize in accounting, finance, and law. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience in these fields?
A. Well, I was a lawyer in Egypt for 12 years and worked as an arbitrator as well, and this gave me a lot of experience in legal terminology. When I moved to the United States, I switched to a career in finance, spending another 12 years in different banking positions, in finance and in financial advising within both the commercial and credit arenas.

Q. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your career as a freelance translator?
A. With the new tools and technology in the industry now, my job is so much easier than it was before. Every day there is something new. It’s exciting to see technology advancing in such a way that makes my job easier and helps me save time, which is wonderful to have in this business. I also enjoy helping other freelancers get into the field. My goal is to take advantage of these new technological developments to outsource work to my colleagues in other countries. Right now I work closely with other freelancers in the Middle East and Latin America, which enables me to add more language pairs to what I offer as a company.

Q. How has being a member of helped you meet your freelance objectives?
A. To be honest with you, if it wasn’t for I would not have gotten into translation. The site provides me with clients who are in need of my services, as well as helpful training courses and substantial discounts on CAT tools. has also given me a community of fellow language professionals. For example, sometimes you get stuck on a word or a phrase – you know the translation, but you’re unsure of how to phrase it in the situation – so you ask a KudoZ question. Within minutes there are people helping you and providing their opinions. It’s a unique community and I participate as much as I can. I believe is a great service and a really helpful platform for both freelancers and companies.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?
A. For me, I plan to keep expanding my business and marketing myself as a freelance translator. I intend to take advantage of new training and opportunities, and to stay up-to-date on the many technological advances in the industry.

I want to thank Mac for taking the time to do this interview with me (while in the airport waiting to board a flight, no less!), and congratulations on your prize!

Stay tuned for the next #OpenRoad interview with Apple Watch winner Nigel Greenwood.


Interview with Biljana Stojanovic: Leaving your “safe” job and following the open road 1

As announced at last week’s annual virtual conference in celebration of International Translation Day, will now be offering two distinct packages as part of professional membership: a Standard package and a Plus package. To help spread the word about this, the site team is launching a special “Open Road” campaign during which both packages are being offered at a significantly discounted price.

Those who purchase or renew their membership before the end of the year will be eligible to participate in a weekly giveaway for an Apple Watch, and one lucky translator will be chosen for the grand prize – a brand new Nissan Juke – in line with the “Open Road” theme of the campaign.

The following is an interview with our first giveaway winner of an Apple Watch – Biljana Stojanovic. Biljana is an English into Serbian translator specializing in chemistry, pharmaceuticals, and engineering.

Q. How did you get started in your career as a freelance translator?
A. I started as a freelance translator when I was almost 50. After 25 years of work in the Pharmaceutical industry, participation in scientific projects, development of new drugs, a lot of analytical experiments and document creation, I decided to change careers and to do something that I always wanted: to translate. So I left the “safe” job and finished the one-year seminar for scientific, technical and court translators. It helped me to gain confidence, but not to find jobs. I started translating various materials for my friends and acquaintances, but it was far from enough to make a living.

Almost two years passed, with very meager results. Then I realized I had to change something. I browsed the web and discovered very useful posts, podcasts, and webinars (Thank you very much, Corinne McKay, Tess Whitty, Marta Stelmaszak, and, of course, Dmitry Kornyukhov!) That was it, I was not alone anymore… About a year ago I discovered, and I think it was the beginning of my new career.

Q. How has being a member of helped you meet your freelance objectives?
A. As we all know, marketing is a vital aspect of a freelance career. Some of us are capable of making new connections easily, finding customers by meeting people and making phone calls. But, like the majority of translators, I am an introvert. I became a member of, I made a profile, and I became a Certified PRO. In the beginning, nothing happened. However, after only one year, I must say that the results are very visible. I have had some interesting jobs, and I’ve acquired at least five very good clients through I’ve learned a lot by listening to webinars, and by attending’s 2016 international conference in Stockholm.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?
A. I have many plans for the future. Because of my age, I have no time to lose. I have to use all possible shortcuts and to apply the experience of seasoned translators. I am planning to attend at least two conferences every year. It is an excellent opportunity to meet other translators. And it is fun, too! I have to learn a lot, to find better clients. My dream is to create glossaries for my fields of expertise (chemistry, pharmacy, clinical trials, etc.) and my languages (Serbian – English – French – German).

Congratulations to Biljana for being the first giveaway winner, and a special thanks for sharing your story here!

Interested in entering the giveaway drawing and sharing your own story in this Open Road interview series? Simply visit the campaign page to purchase or renew your membership by the end of the year: Don’t delay! The special discounted offer on these packages will only last until November 15th.