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A Pro Bono story: Progressive International

Updated: Jul 1

Are translators born or made? Here’s my take on this rhetorical question.

a pro bono story

As a child, I had exceptionally blond hair. As a child, I liked to fantasize and play, oblivious to the passing of time. As a very blond child who sometimes escaped and got lost in the crowd on the shoreline of the Italian Riviera Romagnola, someone must have spotted me and talked to me in German to bring me back to my family, which might explain why I decided to learn this language as a young adult. ;)

Now, seriously. I delivered my first “ProZ Pro Bono” subtitle translation shortly before catching a train from Milan to Frankfurt, Germany. In October 2022, I was going to the Frankfurt Book Fair for the first time. For once, I just wanted to be in the hotspot of contemporary German literature.

A few months previously, I had just said goodbye to an in-house position as a foreign business correspondent. A job I had ended up doing for almost seven years, just because I graduated in March and I had time to kill before enrolling in Master studies. Life happens: I never got a proper Master's Degree. I’ll say that I made the most of my time as a student during my Bachelor studies, including a full year abroad in Cologne, Germany. Instead, after a few years of gap, I resumed my studies - remotely - to qualify as a specialized translator.

I remember quite well the days before my graduation. I remember walking into the office of my thesis supervisor and engaging in a talk about my future career. He suggested I study further to qualify in Journalism. The reason is that I had written a thesis to offer an overview of Russian print media from Perestroika to the first decade of the 2000s. But I should have moved far away, to a city where I couldn’t just commute daily, and costs kept piling up: enrollment fees, accommodation. On the other hand, I was offered some decent money for my first graduate job, so bye-bye studies.

Translating for Progressive International (PI) brings back some memories of me as a student writing my bachelor's thesis. Although I graduated in Foreign Languages, it was never just about languages, it was about the world out there. Whenever I translate something new for PI, I get to travel to a whole new country, and I just love that. Plus, in times like these, I take every chance to make a real difference out there, privately or publicly. Long live ProZ Pro Bono! And to answer the opening question, I’d say that a translator is definitely made.

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1 comentário

Oscar Núñez
Oscar Núñez
28 de jun.

Maybe, you were born translator and make yourself a language specialist over time. Anyways, congrats for your bachelor's degree and best wishes with your Master studies.


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