We are back with yet another post in our Confessions Series, and this time, we are sharing some of the wisdom from our French analysts. If you have not been following the series, now it is a good idea to catch up with our older posts and read the interviews with our Japanese, Korean, and Chinese analysts.
As an official language in 29 countries across multiple continents, French is one of the languages that is almost always present in our multilingual projects. That makes our French analysts multitasking superheroes who get to jump from one project to another because they are needed everywhere.
This is what they had to say!
Galabina Yotova has been a part of the company for nearly a decade or nine years to be exact! When asked how she was introduced to the French language, she says:
“I’ve been fascinated with the French language from as far back as I can remember, being the offspring of a French teacher/translator. Later on, I started studying it in school and my main goal then was to learn the meaning behind all of those French lullabies that my mom used to sing to me when I was little and to read The Little Prince in French. However, by the time I reached this goal, I’d already fallen in love not only with the language, but with the culture as well, so I decided to make French my profession and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics.”
What is the biggest challenge for Galabina when working with French?
“The sheer number of countries where French is an official language (more than 25), each with its own culture, traditions, laws etc., which we should consider in order to do our job properly. At times, difficulties arise with the translation, as well.
The so-called “African French”, for example, has some vocabulary differences, including non-French words, locally coined terms and words that have different meanings in “standard” French and African French. It’s the same with Belgian French and Canadian French, but to a lesser degree.
Subject-specific terminology is also an issue, but I think that’s something most people have difficulties with, regardless of the language.
Being an experienced French speaker, she explains that:
“luckily, French is among EU’s official languages, which is a huge advantage, because there are plenty of helpful online sources and dictionaries out there. I’d like to give a special shout-out to EUR-Lex and its “multilingual display” option that has been my trusted companion in translating terminology ever since my university days.
But when online tools are powerless, human interaction comes into play and my teammates are always there to help. To paraphrase the old saying, “the truth is born in discussion” and most of the time, even talking through an issue with someone could be extremely useful.”
Some of the things that have kept Galabina for nine years in A Data Pro, you might ask?
“Colleagues, nature of the work, flexibility…
…Those are my top three things. I’ve met some great, funny, generous people thanks to the company. The job itself is also pretty interesting and helps me enhance my general knowledge. Also, being able to work from home, or anywhere else for that matter, is nothing to sneeze at.”
Galabina is one of the music souls in our company. She says that:
“My lifelong hobby has been playing the piano. I took 15 years of piano lessons and even though I didn’t become a professional musician, obviously, it’s been a great source of joy in my life and a way for me to decompress. The piano is my “safe zone”. When I’m not playing for friends, family and neighbours (the latter are not necessarily a willing audience), I like “consuming” all different types of art forms and spending time outdoors.”
Radoslava, or more popularly known as Ava to our colleagues, has been in the company for a little over three years now. This is how French became an integral part of her life:
“When I was in high school I tried to learn several languages including German, Hebrew and Arabic. However, I wasn’t very persistent and soon after I moved abroad for my undergraduate studies, I discovered French as a way to travel.
My French tutor truly believed that I could learn enough French in a year in order to go abroad and continue my studies in Lyon, France. I will be forever grateful for this chance to experience the French culture, as during this year abroad I met some of my best friends and it proved true for me that learning a new language is a lot easier when done in its country of origin.
This is how French became a life choice, rather than just another language in my CV.”
For Ava, formal French poses a bigger challenge than informal French. She says that she:
“was lucky to have picked up French in Lyon where I learnt a lot of slang that is very useful when working with social media data.
However, I sometimes find it harder to translate more formal speech, such as the one used in pharmaceutical or financial news pieces.”
However, Ava has multiple ways of overcoming that challenge.
“At work, I see myself as challenge seeker, so having to translate reports on topics that I don’t know very well is just another chance to get better and actually learn new skills.
I try to overcome such challenges by spending more time on research of the topic in order to know the background information that might not be included in the raw data. In some cases, when there are spelling variations between different countries, for example, I have also sought for the help of my university tutors, alumni students and also my teammates.”
What does Ava like the most about her work at A Data Pro, you ask?
“I love the opportunity to learn and grow at any time during work – from everyday situations within our team to regular, structured trainings on various skills…
…I think it’s important that our understanding is that reaching a certain level of seniority doesn’t necessarily mean that one stops to learn and improve. Admitting that you don’t know something, or you need more feedback or advice for a certain task is also a great way to connect with others in the team, which makes it for such an easy-going and happy place to be at.”
What does Ava like to do in her free time?
“In a different case scenario, I would’ve answered travelling… Not being able to do this as much as I would like to, now I try to keep myself occupied with several courses on social media marketing and team management.
I also do a little bit of gardening as I find it a good way to clear my thoughts. As Easter is approaching, I also started experimenting with clay, cement and wood to make decorations.”
Mariya became part of our company six months ago. This is her story with French:
“I started learning French language at school. Honestly, I just wanted to study in a language school not specifically French. I excluded the English school because it’s a very common language and I wanted to learn one more.
I remember my first lessons in school, it looked like a very difficult language, and I was confused. With time, I realized that this was my language, and it was becoming a pleasure to learn new things. I have many friends who say that French is one of the most difficult languages but when I started to like it, it became easier for me, and I was happy about my choice.”
The diversity of the French language is one of the biggest challenges that Mariya faces in her daily work.
“French people use many colloquial words or expressions, and it’s almost impossible to know all of them. When it comes to keyword harvesting or translation, an analyst should be very careful with the meaning of the words.
In French, a word in singular form can mean something different from the same word in plural form. Last, but not least, many French words exist only in plural form, so we have to pay attention.”
Mariya says that research is the key to overcoming this challenge:
“I always try to find the context of the discussed topic first. The research is also very important, and Google helps me very often. For me, learning new expressions in the language is very useful and interesting, so I don’t save time from researching. I also refer to some forums where people use more everyday expressions and words.
As for the forms of the words, I think it’s a matter of time to get used to this peculiarity of the language, but Google can come to the rescue too. I think that to get used to one language, you have to work constantly and be curious about its culture too.”
Mariya’s favourite part about A Data Pro is the people.
“What I like the most about A Data Pro is the people. There is no difference between seniors, managers and the others…
…I think this is very important because people feel free to communicate and share their problems if any. In that way, the work process becomes a pleasure, and the atmosphere is very friendly, so people can develop their potential.
I also like the projects, they are different one from another, so each person can gain experience in many spheres.”
In her free time, Mariya likes to be active and leave the desk behind.
“Besides work, I always try to do different things and to use my free time to inspire myself for the coming day. I find calmness and inspiration in nature, so I like walks very much.
I also do some sport because I think it’s very important for a good mood and a positive life attitude. In the winter I love skiing.”
We hope you enjoyed reading about our French analysts’ experiences as much as we loved talking to them about it. Which language would you like to read about next in our Confession Series?