Interview by Sarah Kilcoyne
Once a month here at ESDIP, there is a prestigious prize up for grabs – the esteemed ‘Coworker of the Month‘ award!
We are proud to take this opportunity to show off one of our fabulous coworkers, and give you an insight into the type of work that our community members do here on a daily basis.
Photo credit: Sarah Kilcoyne
Susan is a translator and interpreter from Dublin, Ireland, who runs her own translation company out of ESDIP.
We sat down with her to talk about learning languages, secret government meetings, and translation fails.
Sarah: Hello Susan! We’ll start with the basics – what do you do?
Susan: Hi! I run an agency that does project management for mainly large-scale translation projects like Annual Reports, Sustainability Reports, corporate newsletters and the like.
S: And what languages do you speak/interpret/translate?
S: I speak English, German, Spanish, French (Irish unfortunately not, to my shame, although that’s where I’m from ;)
S: I know that you’ve been in Germany for quite some time – long before the recent Expat-Berlin-Boom. How did you decide to move here in the first place?
S: Originally, I came on a year-long Erasmus-type university exchange to the beautiful city of Wuppertal in North Rhine-Westphalia. Then of course, usual story: I fell in love and ended up staying.
S: You’ve been coworking with us at ESDIP for years now – what is it about coworking that appeals to you?
S: The people, the atmosphere, the lunches, the potential to find collaborators and friends. ESDIP has a very positive vibe!
S: Tell us a bit more about how you founded Ring Interpreting!
S: Uhm, it’s so long ago, I can’t really remember. It kind of evolved organically, from teaching English in the 90s to interpreting in the noughties, to managing projects these days. At some stage it all gained the name Ring Interpreting but the details are lost in time!
S: Have you ever interpreted at any top-secret underground government meetings?
S: Lol, we do a lot of top-secret stuff that involves non-disclosure and insider agreements but I’ve never worked under the ground for the government ;)
Susan’s company logo, designed by fellow coworker Jorge Chamorro. Photo credit: Susan Ring
S: I know that you’ve collaborated with some of our other coworkers here in the past – maybe you can tell us a bit more about that?
S: Yes, gladly! Jorge Chamorro designed my website which is super clean and minimalist, just as I wanted it. And Laura Eglington and I collaborate a lot on translation projects. I think we both enjoy working together a lot. And over the years, I’ve also found lots of people willing to help out with smaller things like technical issues, advice, contacts etc.
S: Do you prefer to speak Spanish, or German?
S: I don’t really have a preference in general. Language is a tool to communicate and I love them all. I use whichever one suits best at the time. At the moment I am kind of in love with Spanish though as I spend a lot of time there and it’s nice to see how you get more and more fluent as time goes on.
S: I also know that you now live between Majorca and Berlin – it makes us all jealous, during the winter months. Would you ever leave us, and move there permanently?
S: Nah, there’s nothing like a good Berlin summer, I’m not intending to let that go anytime soon!
S: How does it feel to win the esteemed Coworker of the Month award?
S: I’m overwhelmed and honoured, it brought a tear to my eye.
S: Do you have any hilarious translation-fail stories for us?
S: When I was a rookie interpreter, I once spent an entire conference saying “die Vereinigten Strassen von Amerika”.
S: A lot of us Expats here in Berlin are still struggling to learn German properly – do you remember how long it took you to become properly fluent?
S: I guess it was about a year, but I had a good base knowledge of German already from school and uni, and I lived in a town where no-one spoke much English and had a German partner – so all that helped.
S: And finally! Any language-learning tips for beginners?
S: Only the usual, there’s no magic formula: Do an intensive course at the beginning and then try to immerse yourself as much as possible in the language. And never stop – learning a language is a lifelong challenge.
You can check out Susan’s website for yourself here.
Are you also interested in coworking? Then check out our pricing plans here, or just drop by the space any day within the opening hours, Mon-Fri 10-19h, and we’ll show you around.