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How Richard Rakowitz Is Helping Clients Succeed and Grow Their Businesses Internationally



Richard Rakowitz is a professional editor and translator based out of New York. He obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in history from Queen’s College before enrolling at the University of Strasbourg where he studied German Linguistics and Historical Documents from the medieval era through the Cold War. His passion for linguistics did not end there. He relocated to Italy and earned a linguistic degree from the University of Pavia.

Since then, Mr. Rakowitz has made a highly successful career as a translator and has worked on a wide range of projects with his clients: books, manuals, and marketing materials. He states that every new project is a fun learning opportunity and experience that allows him to grow as a linguist and as an editor.

Additionally, Mr, Rakowitz has traveled extensively, and has received numerous awards for his work. He looks forward to the new year ahead and connecting with new clients from all over the world.

  1. Why did you decide to go into translation and editing?

The first translation project that I did was for a client who requested me to translate a local paper from Spanish into English. This really drew me in and hooked me onto languages and learning new languages. While living in China, I was asked to translate a project from Chinese into English, and then into German. This is when I knew I wanted to do this as a career.

It can be a challenge going from a complex language such as Chinese to German directly. By translating into English first and creating an appeal to the broader audience in the process, I’m able to have a part in sharing incredible works with the world. Despite the occasional stress, it is a lot of fun.

For every project I connect with the author or artist over Zoom, Skype or whatever platform works best, to learn how to best reflect their needs and their targeted audience. I’ve been able to build a rapport with my clients over the last five years and have continued to work with those clients. It is nice to know that they appreciate my work and the effort that I put into each and every project that they request me to translate.

  1. What trends in your industry excite you?

That’s a good question, but I really don’t rely on trends. It’s important for me to be in tune with my clients. I want to know what they are working on or about their target audience. The words that flow in one language for an audience may differ for another audience. This makes it important to know the market they are in instead of the trends that might be in translation or editing. I’m better able to meet their needs, appeal to their targeted market, and help my clients directly by not paying attention to industry related trends.

  1. What would you tell others looking to get into your industry?

Be open-minded. With translation, the possibilities are endless. That’s one of the great things about language. Whether it’s just a small conversation, or translating a movie, whether you’re inserting subtitles, or if you’re doing voice overs to help people who are not able to understand a language, the options and opportunities are endless. Whether you’re in archaeology, art, government affairs, the medical field, business, or academia, the translation needs are endless. This is why it is important to be open-minded when it concerns translations.

Also, remember to accept criticism as it comes, and to brush up on all aspects of language because it’s necessary to prevent miscommunication and to bridge any possible gaps that may arise. Make time to foster stronger relationships between clients, communities, and from a global perspective between nations.

  1. What is one thing you would change in your industry today if you could?

My biggest suggestion is for people not to rely so heavily on Google Translate so much. It’s a great tool, but it’ll never be 100 percent accurate. Be open to learning new techniques and nuances within languages. This ensures a natural sound to the words and a natural, authentic translation of the original text.

I would also suggest for every translator and linguistic editor to work to build relationships. Clients are the foundation of any business. Continue to build on those relationships, sharing what you’re doing in the niche from one client to the next. Help others with everyday conversation, technical writing, editing, or understanding the languages in the various formats.

  1. How has translation and editing changed over the last decade?

More things are now web-based, especially due to the pandemic and not being able to meet face-to-face with clients. I’ve had to adjust to this new work environment by using my computer (i.e. Zoom and Skype) in conference meetings rather than the typical face-to-face meetings. I’ve had to learn more technical aspects within the various Microsoft applications or web interfaces to meet the needs of my clients. It’s constantly changing and something I truly enjoy.

  1. Who has been a role model to you and why?

If I had to choose a role model it would be Sir Winston Churchill. I tend to reread his speeches and the letters that he composed, especially during the war years between 1939 and 1945. I truly admire how he upheld his convictions throughout that tumultuous era when the world was on the verge of collapsing to totalitarian rule. Churchill’s ability to make the difficult decisions as Prime Minister during the Second World War is truly inspirational.

His speeches resonate with me everyday and truly respect him as an individual and as a statesman. He was not just a statesman of the British Empire, but a statesman of democracy, of free speech and free-thinking when the world was engulfed in a global war. His steadfast approach is admirable.

  1. What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

First, the time zone difference. Since I began my career while living abroad, there was a time zone difference that I had to adapt to. Secondly, the technical terminology that I had to use took some time to get acquainted with.

I think those are the two major obstacles that I had to overcome. That’s one of the great things about linguistics, in general, it’s about being able to adapt and to communicate with others.

  1. What does success look like for you?

From a professional standpoint, I think whether I’m meeting with clients personally, or on Zoom or on Skype, it’s knowing that I have addressed their concerns, and I can tell that I have put them at ease by their facial expressions and their positive feedback.

One of the things that I really strive for is efficiency, and also to meet the needs of my clients and to see that they are satisfied with the quality of my translation and editing work. To know that I met their expectations is something that is truly gratifying. To see that and to see how their business or even their own professional positions have led them to greater heights, whether it’s from an economic standpoint or from an employment standpoint, that brings the greatest satisfaction to me.