Megan Waters

Hall of fame: Priscilla

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Priscilla is another polyglot who has successfully achieved the hall of fame status. Being raised in a multilingual home and living in different countries empowered her to learn more languages and, eventually, pursue a career in translation. She offers words of wisdom for other aspiring Gengo Wordsmiths: Always learn from Senior Translators’ reviews and don’t take low scores personally.

What languages do you speak and what are your experiences with learning them?

I’m fluent in French, English, Spanish and Creole. I can also understand and read a few other languages but can’t speak or write them. I was born and raised in a multilingual environment and by the time I started going to school, I was already acquainted with at least three languages to the point that the concept of a “mother tongue” has never made any sense to me. I also learned early on that alphabets, sounds and structures differ a lot across languages, as well as cultures. This sparked my interest in languages and I since developed a great passion for language learning and translating. I have also been a globetrotter for half of my life, which has kept alive my passion for different languages and cultures.

I think there is no perfect way to learn a language and each one of us learns in different ways. For me, writing has always been important. Being able to understand the grammar and writing using the correct grammar and syntax are what I focus on when I am learning a new language.

To keep improving and continue learning, I try to be exposed to at least two languages each day through reading, writing, watching movies or the news, and listening to music. Although living and working in different countries has helped me to maintain exposure to different languages, I find that you don’t really have to travel to faraway countries to learn languages or improve the ones that you already know.

What are your favorite translation tools?

I prefer Wordfast, SDL Trados Studio and Memsource, but I don’t particularly like becoming too dependent on CAT tools, although they are very useful and essential for a career in translation. I love trying new tools and changing my work interface, so I am always on the lookout for new tools and new ways of memorizing vocabulary.

I also use online dictionaries like Linguee and Dict, the KudoZ forum on ProZ, online encyclopedias, online and paper versions of the traditional dictionaries and translator forums. I find monolingual dictionaries to be particularly useful when you’re stuck with a word that you can’t translate. Synonyms are my best allies in translation.

What are your tips to become a Wordsmith?

Reaching the 500,000-unit milestone has a lot to do with being chosen as a preferred translator by the Gengo Projects team to work on specific jobs. For newer translators, my tips are:

  1. Work on a one-word job with as much seriousness as doing a 2,000-word job.
  2. Don’t hesitate to pick up small jobs or jobs declined by others.
  3. Take risks and work on new topics outside your comfort zone.
  4. Accept Senior Translators’ reviews and learn from them. There are days when you may not fully agree with their feedback and that’s normal. It is an integral part of working and growing with Gengo. If the review is really unfair, you can always request a re-review.

Want to become a Gengo translator?

Megan Waters
Megan Waters
Megan manages all things translator-related as Gengo’s Community and Digital Content Manager. Born in South Africa but now based in Tokyo, she’s passionate about languages and people. Megan spends her free time exploring secondhand shops, camping in the mountains and hosting the occasional dinner party.