Member Spotlight: Let’s Meet Vladimir Smolyanskiy


Vladimir PHOTO

Vladimir Smolyanskiy

Where I live:
Brooklyn, NY

What I do:
I have worked mostly as a telephone interpreter throughout my career. I interpret in the following directions: Russian<>English, Ukrainian<>English, and Portuguese (BR) <> English. My native language is Russian. I have studied Ukrainian by watching a lot of TV and taking classes at school. I really did not like Ukrainian very much, but when I came to the United States I happened to find a lot of work in that language. Currently I am also working as a Russian and Portuguese video interpreter for StratusVideo. I love this job very much because I can do it from the comfort of my own home and I can see the individuals I am helping in the videos.

I’m proud of:
My language skills and my ability to bridge the communication gap for people who need assistance.

My background:
I was born in Ukraine and have studied languages all my life. At age 6, I ventured into a library on the outskirts of town and got a textbook to learn English by myself. In 1992 I moved to the U.S. with my family, where I attended high school and college. I studied computer science in college because it was a hot career at the time. Later I realized that languages are what I love the most and I entered the world of interpreting. I have studied Portuguese by surrounding myself with Brazilian friends in the U.S. I have visited Brazil five times, both on my own and with friends. I spent about three weeks each time, visiting São Paulo, Rio, Ribeirão Preto, Santos, Guarujá, Salvador and Feira de Santana.

Why do I belong to the PLD?
Because I love this community of like-minded people.

Major challenge(s) in my career:
I am unable to travel as much as I would like due to my busy professional life. I would love to learn more languages. I think it is much easier to learn a language while living in a foreign country as opposed to learning it on your own. When you are faced with having to survive somewhere, you pick up the language a lot faster than sitting at home and learning it from books or a private teacher. I believe that anyone can learn a foreign language if they spend a year living in a country where it is spoken; otherwise, they may need 5 to 10 years of studies. However, it is always different from individual to individual.

The last book I read was entitled“Everything is illuminated.” It is about a young Jewish Ukrainian man who went to Ukraine to seek the woman who saved his father from death during the Holocaust. I really liked this book because it presents what I think is a fair and humorous critique of my former country of residence, Ukraine. It also shows how erroneously people from my country perceive the United States.

Current or most recent project:
I recently interpreted an audio file for a German gentleman who was married to a Russian lady. He secretly recorded her conversation on the phone by leaving a cell phone close to her and asked me to interpret the file into English. It was very interesting and unique work since I felt that I was part of an investigation.

TerezaBragaMembers are interviewed by Tereza Braga, former PLD Administrator and current member of the PLD Leadership Council. Tereza has dual citizenship and a freelance business based in Dallas. She specializes in corporate communications and is ATA-certified in both directions.

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