The Green Room Interviews Series: Marta Stelmaszak - Rosa

The Green Room Interviews Series: Marta Stelmaszak - Rosa

Would you like some tips on how to start your own business as a freelancer? Or if you have a business already, are you trying to find some effective solutions to your everyday business issues?

There is no better person to help you with your translation business than Marta Stelmaszak-Rosa!

Marta Stelmaszak-Rosa is a highly experienced Polish and English translator and interpreter, a successful business owner and an excellent teacher and trainer (Yes, I am a proud graduate of The Business School for Translators!).

Just enjoy the reading!


Dear Marta, welcome to the Green Room Interviews series!
Below you will find the interview questions I have prepared for you. I hope you enjoy our "little chat"!


1. At what point in your life did you decide that you want to be a translator and what did you do to pursue your professional goal?

I remember when I was still in secondary or high school, I really wanted to translate some of the most beautiful Polish poems into English, as I was convinced the whole world should be able to access them. Of course, while this isn’t what really happened, I think I subconsciously worked towards becoming a translator. I even moved countries twice to study translation!

2. What were the two main difficulties you faced in your attempt to enter the translation industry?

If really pressed, I’d probably say that at that time there were fewer practical resources available with guidance on how to get established. Nowadays there is much more available to newcomers who want to get started. Second, while living in your source language country helps in many respects, it can also be quite tricky to find colleagues early on and support your language skills when you’re just starting.

3. Please name the three things you love the most in your freelancing career.

First of all, I love the fact that every day brings something new. There’s a lot of variety and many subjects in the work I do, and this makes every day interesting. Second, I really enjoy research, so being able to spend time on finding out about all the topics is really rewarding. Lastly, I truly enjoy the flexibility that it gives me to organise my day, and travel pretty much whenever I want!

4. What was the greatest challenge you faced trying to maintain a work-life balance in your daily routine? How did you deal with it?

Like many translators, I tend to get buried in my work and I end up working overtime (if there is such a thing!). It’s really difficult to stop yourself from working when you know there’s a project waiting for you, so one of the challenges for me was to stop being a compulsive completer. I had to learn how to divide work into chunks, rather than try to finish everything right here, right now. Implementing some stricter rules around blocking time in my calendar, as well as changing location physically helped, but I can’t say I’m fully there yet.

5. Nowadays, branding is closely related to social media and they are both significant for the development of our career. How careful a professional can be with these tools? Is there such thing as over-exposure?

Like any promotional tool, branding and social media have to be used strategically to meet our business goals. There’s hardly any point in spending hours on online profiles if our target customers aren’t there. Moreover, social media are particularly challenging when it comes to separating the professional you from the personal you, and if you conflate these two aspects you may end up exposing to your potential clients or colleagues elements of your private life which should, well, stay private. As tempting as it may be to appear all over the place, it’s far more important to reflect on your goals and use social media as means to achieve them.

6. According to your personal experience, name the top three key elements that will help a professional translator grow his/her business globally.

Strategy, dedication, and professional development. By strategy, I mean a well-thought-out approach to building your business and looking for customers. Dedication needs no explaining, and professional development is, in my view, essential to keep growing.

And a few fun questions to relax:

7. Do you like travelling? If you do, which is the next country you want to visit?

I love travelling, I often go on working holidays, or benefitting from the flexibility of my freelance lifestyle, I simply work from different places. I’d love to go to Turkey or Morocco next.

8. What is the best and worst gadget purchase you have ever made?

The best gadget – if you can even call it so – I got was a shredder. Don’t laugh! I really like shredding all the no-longer-needed papers by the end of my working week. The worst was a hand-held document scanner. You know, one of these devices that look like a big pen; you move it over a page and it’s supposed to scan it. I’ve used it twice, including once when I opened it. I can’t even remember why I thought I needed it in the first place! Of course, now you can do pretty much the same with scanning apps…

9. What is the most interesting thing you have read or seen this week?

I’ve watched a really interesting documentary about Nikola Tesla and his relentless pursuit of excellence. Apart from this, I really enjoyed seeing the new Murder on the Orient Express in cinema a couple of weeks ago – Agatha Christie is one of my childhood favourites!

10. What’s the most useless talent you have?

Depends how you define useless, of course! But knowing how to make decent wild flower bouquets is as useless as it gets - I live in London, so finding anything wild in here is a miracle.


Thank you, my dear Marta, for your precious time and contribution!

Lots of love,
Would you like to take part in my Green Room Interviews Series?
If you're up for it and you'd like to contribute, just drop me a line!

About Marta Stelmaszak-Rosa

Name: Marta Stelmaszak
Company name: Wantwords
Job title: Translator

Short Bio Profile: Marta Stelmaszak is a Polish and English translator and interpreter working in law, marketing and business, specialising in online communication. She is a member of the Management Committee of the Interpreting Division at the Chartered Institute of Linguists and a holder of DPSI, DipTrans and a BA degree in Applied Translation. In 2015, she has been selected by IPSE as one of top 15 freelancers in the UK and graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Marta now teaches translation and interpreting at various universities in London, and gives talks and presentations on the business aspects involved in being a translator and interpreter. She is also pursuing a PhD in management. Marta is a Chartered Linguist for Polish.

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