TCK. Third Culture Kid. It’s the technical name for children raised across cultures. With that early multilingual and multicultural exposure, a good number of TCKs end up in jobs that require an ability to easily move between languages and cultures – like translation and interpretation.
So I invite you to meet Susan Rials, MITA’s Communications Director and consummate TCK. The daughter of a US military family, Susan grew up in cities spanning the continental US and in Taiwan. She studied French and Spanish in college, and then followed up with a year of school in Europe. Shortly after her return to the US, she went to work for Berlitz Translation Services.
After sixteen years with Berlitz, Susan embraced the freelance life and has never looked back.
However, her experience as an in-house translator, multilingual editor, project manager and resource manager has given Susan an unusual insight into the relationship between contractor and agency. “My approach.” she shares, “is to do the best work I can, to learn from successes and failures and to be open to feedback and communication from colleagues and clients alike.”
Susan uses humor to connect with her clients and colleagues, dispel tension and make her job fun. Once, as a new manager in her Berlitz days, she was conducting her very first interview of a freelance translator. The candidate was a distinguished gentleman who had just arrived from China. Susan began fiddling with a paper clip in an attempt to calm her nerves. All of a sudden, the paper clip flew out of her fingers and whizzed right past the translator’s left ear. The candidate kept his calm, and so did Susan. “Congratulations,” she told him, “You have passed the serenity test portion of the interview.”
One big perk that Susan finds in her work is the opportunity to constantly learn. Another is that she never need wear shoes to work. To learn more about Susan, her story and the presentations she has given, visit her website at www.barefoottranslator.com.
Through the years, Susan has written several articles for industry publications and given presentations to national and local groups. Everywhere she moves, she makes a point of becoming involved in the local translator and interpreter community – and MITA is all the better for it!