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

The Unique Pro Series ft. Sofia Polykreti (earthlang)


The Unique Pro Series ft. Sofia Polykreti (earthlang)

Posted by Valentina Ambrogio in Interviews, The Unique Pro Series 02 Dec 2015

Today we meet Sofia Polykreti, Greek translator AND engineer based in Athens. Just like a wonderful mythological creature, she lives between two worlds: the world of words and the world of numbers! I have always loved Maths (I also considered studying Mathematics at university), I am therefore beyond curious about her professional journey.

Hello, Sofia! Would you please tell us briefly who you are?

Hi, Valentina! Thanks very much for this great opportunity. The Unique Series is absolutely fantastic! [Thank you *-*] I have enjoyed reading the interviews and I can’t wait for the next ones. I particularly love that you have taken great care in choosing the best questions for each of us. Well done!

Who am I? I am a Greek woman fascinated by language, who reads tons of books and who is also a geography geek! If you come to Athens, you can find me taking long walks downtown or hiding in some quaint bookstore.

Your education background is impressive. You studied Rural and Surveying Engineering; you hold a BA in English Language and Literature, and now an MA in Translation and Traductology. Two completely different worlds on so many levels. Why did you choose these subjects? Has your personality influenced this choice?

Thank you, Valentina. It took a few years to complete these degrees, and a lot of sleepless nights as well. But I am glad I did it :)

As for how I chose those subjects: I just followed my heart and studied what I loved most, that is, nature and language. In the School of Rural and Surveying Engineering I had the chance to study cartography and earth sciences, subjects that were most interesting to me since I was always a geography geek! Moreover, surveying engineers spend a lot of time working outdoors, and thatʼs very important for me because I really love nature.

Besides, I have always been drawn to language and culture. During my engineering studies I always tried to stay connected with that side of me by reading books and studying languages. See, what I needed was an interdisciplinary field which could accommodate a generalist like me who wants many things at once. And thatʼs how I found translation. Being a translator suits me best because it combines many things at once.

Your set of skills is unique. Is it also a strength professionally speaking? Have you found a balance between Sofia the engineer and Sofia the linguist?

As you know, I work as an independent professional, both as a surveying engineer and as a translator. As regards translation, I work mainly with texts in environment, construction and real estate. So, you can see that these two aspects of me are in fact closely related. I have hands-on experience on the texts I translate, and this goes a long way with clients. They can be sure I will give them the high-quality translation services their company needs.

You are right, these are indeed two different worlds. Nevertheless, these worlds do complement each other. As an engineer I am a practical person, action-oriented and prompt; on the other hand, my studies in language, literature and culture have given me special insight into people. Letʼs not forget that engineers are those professionals who use their knowledge of mathematics, science and legislation in order to help people in their daily lives. We work closely with people; thatʼs why itʼs crucial to be able to understand them and their needs. Clients want to talk; and engineers are busy people, looking only at the “numbers.” Me, while I am still good with the “numbers,” I am able to connect to people as well. And I have seen that this makes a difference.

Do you think clients, PMs and colleagues can see the real Sofia by following you on social media or reading your blog, earthlang?

Oh, I am sure they can. As you know, my social media accounts are a bit… impulsive; I tend to post on the spur of the moment. So, while sometimes I focus on posting things related to my profession, I also enjoy sharing bits of my life with my followers. It may not always be consistent, you know, but itʼs true. And I think most people are interested to get to know a real person, not just a persona.

Are you the kind of professional who likes to show her true self and be open about who she is, or would you rather keep your distance?

Oh, it is impossible for me to pretend I am someone else. I am always wearing my heart on my sleeve, very impulsive and friendly :)

Showing your true colours: game-changing or irrelevant?

Game-changing, of course!

Wrapping things up.
Do you feel professionally unique?
I should say so, yes; not many people were fortunate enough to be able to get two degrees in their favourite fields. Whatʼs more, I am always trying to be exceptionally good, providing high quality services both as a translator and as an engineer.
Are you happy with your life/job balance right now?
Right now, Iʼd say yes! But in the past few months I was struggling with my MA thesis, and it felt as if I didnʼt have a life at all. Thatʼs why I have decided to start reading books on time management. I hope that this way I will learn how to manage my time more effectively and thus be more productive. I think time management is one of the most crucial skills of freelancers and entrepreneurs; we are our own bosses, after all, and thatʼs why we need to learn how to “manage” ourselves best.
What is your plan for the future to stand out?
Well, I am happy to tell you that I am currently preparing my professional website. Much work has been done regarding the branding, thatʼs why I am so looking forward to showing it to you all!


Bio Pic - SofiaBio: Sofia Polykreti is an Athens-based, fully equipped surveying engineer as well as a freelance translator for English and Greek. She recently completed an MA in Translation and Traductology while she holds a Rural and Surveying Engineering Degree plus a BA in English Language and Literature. Her Twitter account was among the 25 Best Language Twitter Accounts for 2014. You can also read her blog, where she writes about language and geography, visit her LinkedIn profile, or contact her in Google+.
Book(s) you are currently reading: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Book(s) you recommend: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.
In my spare time I like to: take long walks in nature.
Share a song: “Donʼt Stop Me Now” by Queen. Such an uplifting song!

Sofia, you are a beautiful and sweet soul. I really can’t wait to see your website online. I wish you all the best!

  • magda January 12, 2016 at 11:37 am / Reply

    Brava Sofia! I am proud of you. xxx

  • Kozue Macmichael February 12, 2016 at 8:58 pm / Reply

    I really enjoyed reading about you on here, Sofia! Amazing accomplishments and a wise advice on time management.

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