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?
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.
2:How did you get into translation? Did you want to become a translator right from the beginning?
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?
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.
4:How has being multilingual helped you?
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?
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.
6:Has anyone given you some great advice about being a translator?
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.
7:What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
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?
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?
I would like to be remembered as someone who contributed to something big – maybe see my name in the credits of some famous movie.
10:Any project that comes to your mind when I say 'interesting'?
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?
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!
12:Do you remember any funny translation incident that you’ve come across?
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.
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?
Forget about the borders! Try to work with other countries and companies abroad.