Zingterview with a translator: Mehmet Ali Ermis

I like how my life is unfolding in front of me so far. I have a professional life with friendly colleagues and have a good personal life.


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This week’s interviewee is Mehmet Ali Ermis, Turkish translator extraordinaire. He sucks the life out of coffee beans, loves translation technology, is into sports and outdoor activities, and wants to climb mountains with Zingword.

Mehmet, you are formally invited to join us climbing mountains!

Zing: Let’s begin at the beginning. How did you become multilingual?

Mehmet Ali: I am a Turkish citizen and I have several relatives in England whose kids do not know Turkish. That is how I met with another language at the age of 5. Later on studying in University of Arkansas improved my professional English skills.

Zing: How and/or why did you become a translator? (and do you suck the life out of words for immortality purposes or to pay the rent?)

mehmet-aliMehmet Ali: I worked as an IT specialist in a Turkish firm. Here, I do a lot of translation for the articles that we find online which we would like to share with our users. The more translations I did the more I learn about the stuff I do translations for so the learning part really makes me love translating.

Zing: How much of a coincidence is it that you ended up on this path? How much of a choice?

Mehmet Ali: I had never thought of translation being an everyday task for me. However, I love it. You could say it was coincidence at first. But, after I started translations I choose to translate some content I was not even asked to do.

Zing: Is life everything you thought it would be, and more? What did you think it would be?

Mehmet Ali: I like how my life is unfolding in front of me so far. I have a professional life with friendly colleagues and have a good personal life.

Zing: What is it you love about your lifestyle as a translator?

Mehmet Ali: I like being the one doing the job by not depending on others. I am a group player, do not get me wrong. But, translation jobs show me that I can translate pages and pages of material by myself and be happy about my job.

Zing: What was your darkest moment as a translator?

Mehmet Ali: Once I was given a 30 page Turkish document which I was asked to translate to English in a day. No problem for me as long as the content was understandable; however, there were many grammatical errors and broken sentences. As a native, I even had hard time understanding it. And, everytime I would ask about a sentence to the person who prepared the paper, I would get insulted on my translation skills.

Zing: If you listen to music while working, what’s on your speakers lately? Spotify links or youtube links are much appreciated 😉

Mehmet Ali: I love Spotify and here are some of my favorites.

Zing: If you had a magic wand and a pointy hat that actually worked, what would you change about the translation industry or your working lifestyle?

Mehmet Ali: I would want people to be more understanding about how actually challenging this industry is. Sometimes, it is hard to explain to people that one job usually does not even compare to another job in translation.

Also, better translation tools that help us with our translation process to finish jobs faster and good quality.

Zing: What are you doing at home or in the office to be more productive?

Mehmet Ali: I do keep up with my interests with online articles and magazines about those areas to learn new lingo that might be needed in the future.

Zing: Tell us about the weirdest thing you ever translated.

Mehmet Ali: I had to translate a business termination email to a client that was written by my boss which had very mean and rough words in there.

Zing: What’s the best question that we didn’t think to ask?

Mehmet Ali: How important or motivated are you when a translation job is ralated to your hobbies?

Thank you, Mehmet Ali, for participating!