The Green Room Interviews: Sara Colombo

Anastasia Giago... 0
Anastasia Giagopoulou - Sara Colombo, IAPTI, Athens 2014

Hello there!

New week! New adventures! New jobs! New conferences! New reasons for smiling! Well, this morning, I am going to give you one more reason to smile. It's time for the first Green Room Interview! Yeah! I' am not going to keep you waiting any longer.

The first famous language artist who enters the Green Room is Sara Colombo!
I am honoured that Sara has accepted to answer the following questions as she is one of the most well-known professionals in the translation industry. Sara is a native Italian translator and interpreter who works with English, French and Italian. She specialises in health, sport/fitness, marketing and corporate communication. Sara is also a marketing and social media speaker, a professional trainer, a prolific blogger and an author! If you need someone to teach you all about healthy and productive freelancing, Sara is the expert!
Sara Colombo, welcome to the Green Room and thank you for this delightful mini interview!

1. At what point in your life did you decide that you want to become a translator?

I started to translate about 7 years ago, but only created my company in 2012, after a series of different experiences. What I love about this job is its flexibility, business options and the possibility it gives me to combine my interests.

Indeed, when I was a teenager my dream was to become a writer, but I also enjoyed traveling and, as you know, all sporty and dancing things.

Luckily, I was raised in a multicultural environment and my family encouraged me to study languages and translation, but although I was progressing into that direction, choosing among my many passions really difficult, so in the end I had to come to terms with the fact that I loved equally almost all of these things.

Then a few years back I had the pleasure to meet a brilliant entrepreneur who inspired me with his passion for what he was creating and his approach, so I decided that freelancing would have given me the chance to combine my interests and use languages, writing and much more.

Translating is all this: running a business, using languages, traveling, writing, researching and dancing. 30 seconds of pure excitement after a long 8-week project. ;)

2. Your blog, Balance Your Words, explores marketing, social media, sport and freelancing issues from a fitness point of view. Could you please explain what particular challenges freelancers face that differentiate them from any other desk job?

As I have said during my IAPTI presentation, freelancers – and especially translators or writers – who work from home easily get into the start up mood and fail to set a bottom line protecting their own balance.
There are many reasons and every case should analysed singularly, but among the various why and how, I think that the problem regard the fact that becoming a good freelancer and reach certain goals now requires a lot of time, energy and efforts.

Surely your language combination or specialisations will contribute to define a bit the workload you are likely to have in the next future, but, in general, freelancers spend 10-12 hours a day sitting in front of the computer and often fail to take care of their health.

Our brain has a key role in all this, as it runs our body and out business: we think, read, memorise, play with words and also have to find clients and wear the many hats of the small entrepreneurs’ life.

I have experienced the same problems of many other translators: piling up weight, loose sleep after famine times, overeating to fight depression, anxiety and more.

But as a former fitness instructor and dancer I decided to use my skills and passion to work out a way and create a healthy and balanced lifestyle inside and out of my office.

So I started with thinking ergonomic (changed my chair, bought a new desk, moved the laptop, created a better light, etc.) and then slowly progressed to my schedule, my fitness schedule and ultimately, my mind.

I have a small home-based gym that use to do yoga + pilates so when the deadline is too tight or time is limited I can always find 30-40 minutes and exercise/relax. On the contrary, when I am not exercising at home, I love to do fitness courses, cardio and go to yoga classes.

Exercise has helped me to maintain a balanced and determined approach toward this profession and has provided a good support of my back, neck and shoulders (often pinched by strained nerves!), let alone I still get into my little black dress and feel ok when talking to a new client.

3. As you say in your blog "as a translator, you need a website". How does a website help you boost your business and what more does it offer to a freelancer than a simple blog does?

A website is more complete and professional than a blog. Is the first step every translator should take to promote his/her services and get out there, where potential clients are.
It’s not the only tool we have, but definitely the most flexible and cost-effective.

Is a one-stop shop for everything that is your brand: services, your story, extra-resources, your blog, etc. The place to look for news and updates according to your interests and vision.

On the plus, a website with a good design and a personal approach becomes your way of telling people they can trust you while benefiting from your skills and ideas.

4. What are your future translation-related plans?

First of all my new courses with ProZ will start out in a couple of weeks, and it will be a very busy year as we have already planned more than 5 options for beginners and experienced freelancers. I love working with the ProZ team as I always receive immediate feedback from students and have a realistic evaluation of how the course was and how much it helped them.

Besides, after having looked back at last year’s experiences and projects I have also decided to renovate my offers of consultancies and get back on my notes to (finally!) edit my second book.

Another project related to freelancing, rather than translation per se, regards The Yoganess, which is now online and slowly growing. You know how much I love fitness + yoga, and indeed the idea was to put everything into its own natural home (in my case, the written world) and share tips + ideas from my professional and personal experience on how to live a healthier lifestyle and run a more successful business.  
For the time being, there are only a few articles and options, but I’m developing it.

I’ll be also traveling a bit, so if you are in Madrid towards the end of October, I’ll be speaking at this year’s MET Conference. And I really can’t wait to be there and meet a long list of excellent linguists and professionals!

Thank you so much, Sara and best of luck with your future projects!


If you ever have the chance to attend one of Sara's workshops or seminars, don't miss it out! It really worked for me!

You can join Sara on Facebook and you can read her blog here. Sara would also be happy to receive your tweets here


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Anastasia is a member of: American Translators Association | Associate member (membership number: 254614)  Anastasia is a member of: IAPTI - International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters | Member (membership number: 730)  Anastasia is a member of: Institute of Translation & Interpreting | Associate member (AITI) (membership number: 00013479)  Anastasia is a member of: Panhellenic Association of Translators | Full member (membership number: 399)  Anastasia is a member of: Certified PRO Network Translator | Full member  Anastasia is also a volunteer Translator for Translators Without Borders  Anastasia is a member of: Business School for Translators  Anastasia is a member of: Hellenic Tourism Society