Translator Interview with Rustam Shafikov

For Rustam, translation was his calling. At the young age of 15, he had decided to turn his passion for learning languages into a career. After 14 years of translating from Russian to English, he’s glad he made the right decision. Rustam is a native speaker of Russian and is fluent in English.

Join us in finding more about Rustam’s life as a translator, the challenges he overcame, and the one thing he would ask all up-and-coming translators to do.

1:Hi Rustam! Thanks for talking to us. Let's get to know you better, shall we?

  Rustam:

You’re welcome! Thanks so much for interviewing me 🙂

Here’s a little about me. I live in the city of Ufa in Russia. Russia has 22 republics and Ufa is the capital city of a republic is called Bashkortostan. 

I live in Ufa with my wonderful family that includes a beautiful wife and two lovely children – one is 7 years old, and the other is 2 years old. In my leisure time, I love to listen to music, play computer games, and watch movies.

TBH

Oh, the perfect life 🙂

2:How did you get into translation? Did you want to become a translator right from the beginning?

  Rustam:

I had an inclination towards learning languages while I was in school. Hence, getting into translation was the natural course and an appropriate decision. To be specific, I decided to become a translator at the age of 15. 

After school, I pursued Masters in English Philology from the Faculty of Romance-Germanic Philology of the Bashkir State University. There, I enjoyed studying very much and thought I’d like to do this for a living.

3:What would you have done differently at the start of your career if you knew then, what you know now?

  Rustam:

Online platforms help translators in creating visibility and a good portfolio. Another thing I’ve learned over the course of my career is that the international offers a variety of opportunities for translators. Hence, I would have liked to pay attention to the international market. I would not limit myself to Russia.

TBH

True. The exposure helps you get more clients, too.

4:How has being multilingual helped you?

  Rustam:

First of all, being multilingual helps me make money. 🙂 Of course, this skill comes in handy when I travel. It’s easier to communicate and pick up phrases from the local languages. 

5:What does a normal day in your life look like?

  Rustam:

Being a freelancer helps me manage my time in a flexible manner. I don’t usually get up early – around nine in the morning. Currently, I am working with many western companies. People there start their day even later. Hence, new orders usually start coming in at around two or three in the afternoon. Until that time, I work on current orders. I finish work around six in the evening. 

My work schedule is a little unpredictable – there are days when I’m absolutely free.

TBH

Oh, the life of a freelancer 🙂

6:Has anyone given you some great advice about being a translator?

  Rustam:

Well, the best advice I’ve received is to sign up for ProZ.com. It’s a great platform for translators who are looking for work and wish to build credibility.

TBH

Agreed. It’s a gold mine for translators.

7:What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

  Rustam:

In terms of my career, the biggest challenge has been to maintain good productivity levels. That means managing the need to do a lot of work in a very short time. 

Also, I did a bungee jump once, and that was extremely challenging too! 

8:What surprising lessons have you learned along the way, as a translator?

  Rustam:

I was surprised that being a translator can be quite profitable and comfortable. I would never have thought so 15 years ago.

9:How do you want to be remembered?

  Rustam:

I would like to be remembered as someone who contributed to something big – maybe see my name in the credits of some famous movie. 🙂

TBH

Ah, that would be awesome!

10:Any project that comes to your mind when I say 'interesting'?

  Rustam:

I remember a project wherein I did translations for a car game. Also, I’ve translated texts for the US State Department. That project was interesting, too.

11:How has been your journey with TBH? Are you enjoying the projects you've been working on?

  Rustam:

So far, the journey has been really smooth. Everyone on your team is polite and there have never been any delays in my payments. Top-notch!

TBH

Thanks, Rustam. We have also enjoyed working with you.

12:Do you remember any funny translation incident that you’ve come across?

  Rustam:

I can’t remember anything particularly funny, but I do try to learn from the mistakes of others! 🙂

13:Teach us a new phrase in your language.

  Rustam:

This phrase is almost impossible to convey in any other language. Also, it is difficult to understand if Russian is not your native language.

14:What advice would you give to an aspiring translator?

  Rustam:

Forget about the borders! Try to work with other countries and companies abroad.

TBH

Great advice! Thank you so much for your time, Rustam.

  Rustam:

You’re welcome. Thanks for letting me be a part of your translator interview series.

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