Valentina Ambrogio — professional English to Italian Translator, Localiser and Subtitler

The Unique Pro Series ft. Langwich

UNIQUE-langwich

The Unique Pro Series ft. Langwich

Posted by Valentina Ambrogio in Audiovisual, Interviews, Unique Pro 06 Oct 2015

Have you ever wondered whether it is possible to stand out as an individual when working as a group? Well, I certainly have, and to answer this question, who you gonna call? The amazing guys of Langwich accepted my invitation, so be prepared to read not one, not two, but THREE different viewpoints on what it is like to be yourself… in company! Manuela, Emmanuele and Alessandra, the stage is all yours :) 

First question. Introduce yourselves, but focus more on your personal than your professional life.

M: Hi Vale, thanks for having us here, we’re really happy to be part of this amazing series! Ok, let’s start: I’m Manuela, foodie, wine lover, book sniffer and TV series addict. My bookshelves are groaning under the weight of the books, manga and comics I’ve collected for years. Travelling puts me back on the right track when I get lost in everyday life’s little worries and fears. I’ve studied and loved English and Spanish since I was a child: when I was 6, my brother bought me my first English book and a couple of years later I started studying Spanish at school. I try to enrich my CPD logbook as much as possible, participating in live events whenever I can: being a little shy, they represent a healthy challenge for me; plus they give me the chance to meet fellow colleagues and potential new friends.

E: Hi everyone! My name is Emmanuele and I’m 34. I speak English, German and Portuguese. I’m essentially a computer nerd with an everlasting passion for languages and travelling. After graduating in Pescara (central Italy) I started looking around for job opportunities and realized I had to specialize more, so I moved to Turin temporarily in order to become an audiovisual translator. This is where I got to know the girls; studying together for almost a year, we developed such a strong bond that we decided to take the plunge together. A couple months later, Manuela and I fell in love with each other and I decided to stay for the time being :)

A: Hello, I’m Alessandra (Ale), the group’s youngest. Of course I’m a language enthusiast, I speak English, Spanish and French, but English has always been on top of the chart. Long ago, I fell in love with the UK and I fly there whenever I can. I’m also a music addict and my friends know all about my lifelong passion for the band Queen. I’m cheerful and sociable and this is my key feature when it comes to making new contacts. Call me Langwich’s PR expert :)

Have your personalities influenced your career choices (e.g., specialisations, branding, online presence, etc) and how have they shaped Langwich’s professional identity?

E: Well, of course. In our group, everyone’s voice is equally important and we brainstorm during and outside working hours. It’s difficult to explain, there’s a lot of constructive and creative dialogue that is really hard to keep track of, but it always ends up being productive. Of course, we have different interests and they are bound to come into play sooner or later. It’s a complex but solid balance in which everything counts. Let me make an example. My marketing and localization studies helped me come up with the idea of Langwich during a brainstorming session, but I originally wanted it to be a language blog. Then the girls realized that it was a perfect fit for us and our work ethics, so we made it into our brand and developed it from there. As you can see, the girls took my idea and made it even better. This kind of constructive criticism should not be taken for granted and really allows us to take things to the next level.

A: Yes, very much so. I’ve always been fascinated by the magic behind dubbing, and that’s why I chose the postgraduate course in audiovisual translation where I met the guys. Since the very beginning, we’ve relied on the strength of our group, for the chance it gives us to optimise work avoiding the loneliness which is typical of our profession. These aspects remain at the basis of our philosophy, but we’ve also been learning that it’s important to stand out as individuals as well, seeing our differences as resources rather than obstacles and cultivating our own specialisations.

M: I totally agree with Ale. During our postgraduate course, I realised how incredibly motivating teamwork is for me: we came up with creative, original ideas, were more productive and, on the whole, had a lot of fun! Teamwork has had a positive effect on me. My mind is always bubbling with new ideas, but the guys help me sort them out and keep calm and focussed. Over the years we’ve worked hard to find the right balance through honest – and at times painful – dialogue, and we’re still working on it. But I’m really proud of the result, and wouldn’t change it with anything else. And I’m sure that, when you believe so passionately in a dream, the rest of the world will notice it too.

Do you reckon your clients, project managers or colleagues can perceive the real Manuela, Emmanuele and Alessandra by following Langwich on social media? How do you stand out individually when you’re marketing as a group?

ALL: Good question, Vale. For us, group identity has always taken over so far. Whenever we are marketing, we tend to market as one – we are very like-minded so it’s only natural that this should happen. We usually have several briefing sessions over the week in which our decisions come together. Then anyone can put them into practice, it really is no problem at all because we avoid doing things that would tick the others off. Even if that happens, we’ll just talk about it constructively and reach an agreement.

That said, we would like everyone to perceive the personal touch of each Langwich member. For the most part, clients and collaborators do so because we tend to follow them individually according to our specializations and our personal relationships with them.

As for social media, we’ve recently started creating personal posts and articles which tell our followers a bit more about ourselves.

Showing your true colours and being yourself as a marketing tool is what I always preach. Do you agree? Do you think it is ultimately a game-changing factor, or that it works best for individual freelancers?

ALL: You’re absolutely right. Having a strong identity on the market is fundamental, and this just can’t happen if the identity is not deeply true. It’s when the two things come together that they really become game-changing.

Of course, we think there is even more to it. It’s probably easier to develop your own brand and identity when you’re an individual freelancer: you’re alone, your mind is set, and you don’t have to pick three different brains for it. But what we can tell you is that even groups can do it and still stand out as original. What we did is take our time and shape our identity together over the years, with patience by spending time and working together. What came out of it is a really strong team that really clicks together, in and outside of work! We now have a strong bond and a strong brand we fully identify with. We would do anything for it and for each other.

And now, just some simple yes-no questions
Do you feel Langwich is professionally unique?
ALL:
Yes, because it’s the natural expression of who we are and what we love.
Are you happy with your life/job balance right now?
E:
For the moment. I think that there’s a lot I can still do to improve.
M: Being a perfectionist, I’m restless, and never completely satisfied, but I’ve got a good plan. 😉
A: As you know, it’s a long way to the top, but we’re good climbers.
Has Langwich itself brought you any balance in your life?
E:
It’s what I love to do, I helped create it with my own hands and no angry boss can take it away from me. How cool is that? :)
A: Yes and no. Working as a freelancer is great, because you can plan your working day as you want, but sometimes this can turn into a double-edged sword, as you end up translating at impossible hours. However, with the right amount of self-discipline and the help of Ema and Manu, it’s much easier to keep on track.
M: Thanks to the little compromises which teamwork implies, I’ve reached a better understanding of my potential and limits.
Is there anything you would like to do or plan to do to shine more?
M:
As a group, we’d like to further specialise in accessibility to the media. I’m also studying to add translation for the wine industry to my specialisations and I’d also like to improve my Portuguese.
E: I would like to switch to a more international clientele. Italy is a hard market to be in, and while I have found my niches here, they simply aren’t cutting it anymore. It’s a challenge, but I welcome challenges.
A: I love adding new and exciting fields of expertise to my portfolio. For example, I’ve been translating a lot for the robotics and fashion industries and I’m finding them more and more stimulating.

THE UNIQUE ID

Bio Pic - LangwichBio: Alessandra, Emmanuele and Manuela are the minds behind Langwich, a close-knit team of three freelance Italian translators and great friends, specialising in audiovisual translation and localisation. They work with English, German, Spanish, French and Portuguese. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin.
Website: http://www.langwich.eu/
Book(s) you are currently reading: E: Felicidade Clandestina, Clarice Lispector A: Just finished Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. M: Qualcosa era successo e altri racconti, Dino Buzzati
Book(s) you recommend: M: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer and The Walking Man, by Jiro Taniguchi. A: Anything by Daniel Pennac E: Into The Wild, Jon Krakauer and Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach
In my spare time you like to: A: travel, listen to music, go to concerts, hang out with my friends E: What I enjoy the most is travelling. Other than that, I like to play basketball and electric guitar, and I’m into photography and videogames. M: read, travel, dance flamenco, explore new restaurants and wineries
Share a song: A: Don’t Stop Me Now, Queen M: I Am The Highway, Audioslave E: Going Where The Wind Blows, Mr. Big

I have known Manu, Ema and Ale for over three years now, and I am very proud to say that we have become friends. They are honest, driven and full of ideas, and they love this job so much it’s contagious! I have seen Langwich blossom and develop into the beautiful and interesting creature it is today :) Keep up the good work!

If you liked this post, you can also check the first interview ft. Chiara Bartolozzi of One Sec Translations, and the second interview ft. Emeline Jamoul of In Touch Translations.

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