The Green Room Interviews: Catherine Christaki
The next language artist who enters the Green Room is Catherine Christaki!
I am really glad Catherine accepted to take part in my blog series as she is one of the colleagues that I really admire. Most of you already know that Catherine is the co-owner of Lingua Greca Translations. She has been a full-time English-Greek translator since 2001 and co-owner of Lingua Greca Translations since 2012. Her working languages are English, French, German (source) and Greek (target) and her specialisations include IT, Medical and Technical texts.
I am sure you also know that Catherine is an amazing blogger. Lingua Greca's blog is a powerful, vibrant blog that is definitely worth bookmarking! You will be impressed by the blog's set up, categorisation and diversity in topics. But I don't want to keep you waiting any longer, ladies and gentlemen, Catherine Christaki!
- Catherine Christaki, welcome to the Green Room!
- Thank you so much for having me Anastasia and congratulations on your blog too, it’s nice to see a fellow Greek translator be active in the translation blogosphere!
1. At what point in your life did you decide that you wanted to be a translator?
I’m one of the lucky ones! I discovered what I want to do in my life at a very young age. I started learning English at the age of 6 and then went on to learn German, French, Italian and Spanish. When people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said “I want to be a translator in the European Parliament!”. A few years later, I decided it would be nicer to be my own boss, i.e. a freelancer, and here we are today! I find languages fascinating and translation is much more complex and interesting than I had imagined. Every single day is a new adventure!
2. You run a fantastic blog! I am really impressed by all the work that you've done. You deal with so many complex topics and yet you maintain everything perfectly simple. Would you like to share some tips on how to improve blogging experience and run a successful blog like yours?
Thank you for your kind words, I’m very glad you like our blog! When we started I thought it would be just a nice medium to express ourselves, write about our daily lives, the challenges, the good times, like a diary. But then, it turns out it can be so much more. At the moment, I think the main purpose of our blog is to connect with interesting people and colleagues, that’s why I’m such a big fan of guest posts. I also use our blog as a scrapbook with our Weekly Favorites. It’s like having my very own library of brilliant articles on the subjects I love!
Blogging needs dedication and it needs time. But the best thing is that your business blog can be whatever you want it to be. There are no set rules (apart from the basics of course, like focus on professional topics, don’t write about your dating experiences). Regular posts can mean 1-2 a week or 1-2 a month. There are so many different things you can write about. Daily experiences, events you attended (translation-related or not), you can host interviews (which are a great opportunity to connect with other bloggers or translators you look up to and pick their brains). I’m not even going to mention SEO and Google ranking and writing content that appeals to your clients, which are also significant advantages of blogging.
A blog doesn’t have to be as complex as a website. It’s very simple to create a free blog, add a few plugins (like social sharing buttons and your RSS feed so people can subscribe to it) and start writing! Experts advise us to have a blogging strategy before we even start a blog, but that sounds complicated and stressful to me. Just think how much time you’d like to spend on it (i.e. how often you want to publish articles), write a few posts (5-10 at least) before you launch the blog so you are covered for the first few months and you’ll figure out the blog’s tone, purpose and your audience along the way.
I almost forgot the most important thing! Spend a few months reading other blogs and see how other bloggers do it. There are great blogs in the translation community and I read a lot of them every week, check out our Blogroll.
3. You recently moved to Toronto, Canada. How come you chose to leave Greece and move to a country so far away? Do you think that this choice will help your business grow?
This will be a very long article if I list all the reasons that made us leave gorgeous Greece. One of the main things that made us unhappy in Greece was that we felt our taxes were wasted. Especially after the crisis, the taxes have been sky-high. But the services offered by the Greek government were as bad as ever.
The Greeks’ mentality of tax-evasion was another thing that bothered us. I used Proz to find a Greek-English translator a few years ago. The first 10 people I contacted were not even registered with the tax office! They said they were professionals, that they’ve been offering translation services for the past X years, to clients in Greece and abroad, but they had never declared a single eurocent! We didn’t like feeling like idiots just because we declared our income, paid our taxes and also paid our bills in time.
As for Canada, we researched the main things before deciding to come here, e.g. health system, welfare, pension, security, and everything has turned out even better than we had imagined. After we applied (4 years ago) we came for a visit to see if we can survive the harsh winter. We talked to many people on the street, in shops, in our hotel. All of them were immigrants and very very happy with their new country. How’s that for a reassurance we had made the right decision? :)
Work wasn’t on top of the list of factors that made us come here but I do think our move will have a positive effect on our business. First of all, the direct client market is completely different than in Greece, in a great way. I don’t need to explain why, right? Your Greek readers and readers from any country in the world will understand the reasons why that’s true. Secondly, the amount of (free) networking events, expos and conferences here is truly amazing! They value and support entrepreneurs every way they can. Thirdly, we feel like we are in the middle of the planet here in terms of travel. From Greece, coming to the annual ATA conference was an (pricey) adventure involving interminable hours of flying.
4. I know that apart from our passion for languages we also share a passion for... paws! How do your two four-pawed "miaow" boys feel about you travelling so often without them?
Well, I can’t say they like it but they are kind of used it by now. When we were in Greece, we tried to limit our trips in Greece or in Europe to 3-4 days because that’s the maximum they would stay on their own without the need for someone to check up on them. For longer trips, my in-laws used to come to Athens and check up on our boy cats once a day. There are services that can help with that here, i.e. they come for 20 minutes every day, feed the cats and change their litter, play with them a bit and then they send you a report! “The cat hid under the couch when I first came into the condo, then ate all his food, then we played a bit with the pink toy gorilla, I told him a story and left 20 minutes later”. Hehehehe. It’s brilliant to have so many different options here!
By the way, we are back to working from home (we had an office the last 2,5 years in Greece) and our cats love it! There’s playing and hugs and kisses and food all day long, instead of once in the morning and then goodbye till 9pm.
5. What are your future translation-related plans?
In 2015, we are planning to explore the direct client market in Toronto. Attend as many networking and business events as possible, get to know lovely and inspiring entrepreneurs from other fields and learn from them. We might incorporate next year and take our business to the next level, depending on how things go work-wise. That will probably also mean hiring in-house people and I’m not sure I’m ready to be someone’s boss. Being my own boss is still thrilling enough :)
Thank you so much, Catherine!