My name is Anna Kiefer and I am Kiefer Fachübersetzungen. I am a trained nurse and English and Polish translator as well as a freelance copywriter and journalist. I was born in Saarland, in the west of Germany. Following a year spent volunteering in Krakow, Poland, I moved to Hannover, where I currently live and work.
AS A NURSE, WHY DID YOU STUDY TRANSLATION?
Because I excel at and enjoy both. I have always been interested in medicine, but I wanted a career that had to do with language as well. If you want to become a doctor, you study medicine. If you want to become a teacher, you study pedagogy. If you’re creative and have a knack for language(s) but also want a job where you will be able to help people, then you merge a few different professions and find your niche. For this reason, I intentionally chose to complete my nursing education before beginning my translation studies. Throughout the course of my studies, I attended lectures and courses that focused specifically on medical translation. At The University of Mainz’s Faculty of Translation, Language and Culture, choosing a specialisation is compulsory and mine was, of course, medicine. During that time, I also worked as a freelance journalist for the daily newspaper, Die Rheinpfalz. There I was able to use my linguistic abilities to write articles about a range medical and non-medical issues.
DO YOU CURRENTLY WORK AS A NURSE?
Unfortunately, the shift work of a hospital is not compatible with working as a freelance translator, so at present I am not working as a nurse. During my three years of study, I worked as a temporary employee in various hospitals and specialist units: primarily surgery, neurology, gastroenterology and cardiology, but also urology and intensive care. Quick reaction times, conscientiousness, diligence and the ability to work well under pressure (due to both psychological factors and time constraints) were all prerequisites for working with patients during my training. When translating medical texts, I continue to utilise the knowledge I acquired during this time on a daily basis – as a former nurse, one does not need to research generic drugs or look up how to spell ‘hypertension’.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE NOT TO BE A GERMAN TEACHER OR WRITER?
Because I was interested in both language and medicine – theory and practice. For this reason, German studies would not have been fulfilling for me. Working freelance does not stop me from writing or teaching German, either. If you are currently looking for a teacher, then have a look here:
WHICH PROGRAMS AND/OR RESOURCES DO YOU UTILISE?
When translating, I work with CAT tools (primarily SDL Trados) as well as a number of different online dictionaries. If anything is unclear, I employ a variety of online tools, consult various technical dictionaries and, if necessary, seek advice from experts in the specific field – of course without compromising or passing your name, contact details or any other sensitive data on to any third party. I believe that open communication with my clients is of vital importance and that many complications can be avoided simply by speaking with one another. I prefer to communicate directly, be it via phone, Skype, or e-mail. Questions can be clarified much more quickly in this way, as opposed to instant messaging or social networks, which often end up creating just as many questions and misunderstandings as they clarify.
And, depending on geographical distance, we can also meet up to discuss any questions in person. This is also always an option for any sensitive data that you do not feel comfortable sending online. Depending on distance, we will be able to meet in person or find a way to ensure maximum security in transferring sensitive information. All my electronic devices run an up-to-date version of a reputable anti-virus software, and back-ups are automatically carried out on a regular basis. All emails are archived in accordance with legal requirements. I am personally responsible for all of Kiefer Fachübersetzungen’s translations, which ensures that no critical information is lost. Unlike many large organisations, documents are not handled by multiple different people.
ARE YOU FROM POLAND?
No, I am not. Before the year I spent in Krakow, I had very little to do with neighbouring Poland or the Polish language; I only remembered a few significant historical events from history class. But when I was there, I had the opportunity to get to know the country, the people and the language. I shared stories with residents at the aged care facility where I worked. One elderly man had spent years as the editor for Krakow’s most popular newspaper, Gazeta Krakowska. Another told me about his childhood, and how he had been in the same class as Karol Wojtyła in school – none other than Pope John Paull II. I watched The Bold and The Beautiful with one elderly woman, and took care of her shopping at the local Biedronka supermarket. As a Caritas volunteer, I baked and did arts and crafts with individuals with physical and mental disabilities during the holidays and provided support and assistance to the German teachers at a local Gimnazjum (a Polish secondary school). With other volunteers and friends, I explored Krakow’s Old Town centre, travelled to Gdańsk, Łódź und Wrocław, and learned about the culture, traditions, religion, politics, history and present of the country. Polish is a difficult language, but once one has lived there, the positive memories remain motivation enough to continue learning it. Or to study it – as I did, at the University of Mainz in Germersheim.
WHERE CAN I FIND YOUR CV, TESTIMONIALS, ETC?
Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to see a copy of my CV. If you are interested in knowing more about my education, experience or qualifications, just send me an email at email@example.com.