I get a huge rush of endorphins when I find just the right phrase to translate a tricky concept, or when I find the proper word for a scientific or engineering term.
One of my favorite words: intumescent. An intumescent is a substance that expands greatly when exposed to heat. It is generally applied as a foam in openings and holes in walls, such as small air vents and cable penetrations. In the event of fire, the intumescent swells up and closes the opening, cutting off the oxygen supply and making it much harder for the fire to spread to the adjoining room. I would never have learned this word if I hadn’t translated some technical regulations on fireproofing for industrial buildings. Even though the source text was a bit tedious, I found this little gem inside.
Translation is my calling. I see myself translating for the rest of my life. I always take pleasure in performing each translation to the best of my ability. I try to take advantage of all the learning opportunities inherent in every translation assignment.
I’m a word nerd. I love the feel and aroma of old dictionaries. I spent my free time one summer memorizing the names of the chemical elements in English and Russian.
I’m a number nerd too. I can recite π to the 100th decimal. I love number puzzles like KenKen and Kakuro. Did you know that ii = e-π/2?
My hobbies include swimming, running, biking, backpacking, and swing dancing. I’ve lived in eight different states and two different countries. I’m a rather poor musician, but what I lack in talent I make up in enthusiasm. I played the trombone in my school and college band and I now enjoy the guitar.
On February 11, 2014, I went to a lecture by Dr. Robert F. Curl, Jr., who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996 for his discovery of buckminsterfullerene and other fullerenes (commonly known as “bucky balls” and carbon nanotubes), which kick-started the nanotechnology industry. As he detailed the history of how he and his team discovered C60, he showed surprising humility and humor. The team’s first attempt to build a model of the molecule was a failure because it was made out of gumdrops and toothpicks. Here are some of the memorable things he said that evening:
“All experiments work on Fridays after dinner.”
“Be adventurous. Ask questions nobody’s ever asked before.”
“I’m a big supporter of curiosity-driven research.”
“Even the most obscure and mundane things can lead to great discoveries.”