Ivana Sudan

International Mission Specialist

A trained and highly skilled linguist in charge of handling translation projects, often teams up with other members of the crew and together they operate the spacecraft Mirara and carry out the mission's flight plan – enabling all species and cultures to communicate freely without any difficulties. Once assigned to a project, the mission specialist is fully committed to accomplishing the mission's objectives: delivering a fluent and accurate quality translation by any means necessary. As an avid reader, language enthusiast and borderline Grammar Nazi, she strongly believes that the solution to any problem, linguistic or otherwise, can be found in a library.

Tell us about your background and what attracted you to this industry.

Life is full of uncertainties, but one thing was always clear to me from a very young age – whatever career I decide to pursue, it’s going to have something to do with languages. So, it came as no surprise that I went to a high school with extended foreign language curriculum, and instead of learning only one foreign language, I learned three (English, Italian and French). Developing a special interest for English and my own mother tongue, after graduating high school I continued my education at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka and obtained a Double Honors Master’s Degree in Croatian and English Language and Literature – Teaching Track. While teaching really is a noble calling, I’ve never really received that call. I was much more interested into putting all my theoretical linguistic knowledge into practice and translation industry seemed like a perfect platform for that. After a couple of months of drifting through the unemployment space (DON’T PANIC!), this hitchhiker was mercifully picked up by the spacecraft Mirara – and the rest is history!

Could you describe a day in the life of an international mission specialist?

Step one: always check your email first. Step two: make sure you answer all the emails in a timely manner. Step three: assign new translation projects to suitable translators. Step four: deliver all completed translation projects. Step five: handle any follow-up queries. Step six: translate, translate, translate, translate, translate (this is my favorite step, I must admit). Step seven: repeat all steps above throughout the day, not necessarily in that order. Step eight: go home after a busy day, feeling tired but fulfilled. And of course, chit-chat with your colleague and commanding officers in-between steps. :)

What makes your job awesome?

I get to spend my days surrounded by many different languages and that really is a dream come true. I communicate and co-ordinate with other mission specialists throughout the Universe in order to successfully complete each mission, which not only allows me to further improve my communication skills, but also to meet (well, e-meet, to be more precise) new interesting people. Most importantly, I’ve learned so many new things thanks to various different topics I’ve had the chance to translate and manage thus far, and I continue to learn every day. If you need cardiac catheterization, I could totally do that for you. Well, maybe. Possibly. Yeah, probably not. You should see a real doctor for that. But I do know a lot about it. :D

What is your worst work-related nightmare?

I hate being late and I truly appreciate punctuality in every aspect of life, so I guess most of my work-related nightmares have something to do with not meeting the deadlines. Whenever one of our military translators is late with delivering the project, my eye starts twitching and I get really nervous. However, when such scenario does occur, I try to remain calm and sympathetic because I realize there are some unforeseen events beyond our influence that can get in the way of delivering a translation on time. It happens to the best of us. Not on my watch, though. :P

Do you have any superpowers?

As a mission specialist, I learned to work under pressure in a fast-paced environment, but also to be independent in carrying out assigned tasks, with the support of the rest of the crew members and under the watchful eye of our commanding officers. My other superpowers include reading, binge-watching and singing (my gigs are, alas, confined to my bedroom and bathroom due to my introverted nature).

If you could change one thing in the translation space today, what would it be?

I am a huge advocate of Computer-assisted Translation (i.e. CAT tools), because it makes the lives of us translators much easier (my condolences to those who had to translate before the Digital Age – you are the true unsung heroes of the translation industry), but I’m not really on board with machine translation. I would have to agree with my colleague Jana here. However, I don’t see machine translation as a big threat, because it seems that everyone still realizes that each translation should always be at least supervised by a human. Languages are too ambiguous, allegorical and dynamic to be entrusted exclusively to a machine. In fact, if I could offer a piece of advice to any translator, it would be the following: 1. Use a CAT tool whenever possible. 2. Avoid literal translation whenever possible. Literal word-to-word translation is the biggest enemy to a good and fluent translation.

 What is your ideal day off?

A warm sunny day spent at the beach, swimming, sunbathing and reading a really good book. And then a concert by my favorite band in the evening.


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