Today we’re talking with Tanya Mitkova, who became part of the Readdle team almost 9 years ago, and she still remembers Readdle as a start-up with only 50 employees. Since then, Tanya has made the journey from a Customer Support Specialist to today leading a team of 18 translators located around the globe! Despite the team’s size & geography, they get along very well. They are dedicated to perfecting the localization of Readdle’s products, so that our users worldwide can feel comfortable using our apps in their local languages.
Let’s listen to Tanya’s journey and her relationships with the team.
Tanya, tell us, how did join Readdle?
I was a student of Odesa Mechnikov University in Ukraine, and one day my scientific advisor for the diploma thesis called me up, letting me know there was a good IT company making apps for Apple devices, and they were looking for a support specialist. Regarding her question, "Would you like to apply for this role, Tanya?" I said, "Sure, why not?". But I didn't tell her I knew next to nothing about IT, let alone Readdle. Moreover, I didn't know what an iPad or iPhone looked like because I'd never owned one.
A few days later, during my first one-to-one with Igor Zhadanov, our CEO and co-founder, he let me take one of the office iPads home to play around with and make a better-informed decision. And the decision was made. 9 years have passed, and though I'm no longer a support staff, nevertheless, I'm still in touch with our users, just from another side — the language side of things.
Could you tell us more about how you have switched roles?
I spent two years in the Support Team as a Customer Support Specialist. Everyone on the team knew I was pretty keen on languages, especially French and Italian. At every opportunity, I offered my linguistic help to the Translation department, and one day my help became handy. Our Translation Lead went on maternity leave, and I was offered the chair. 7 years have passed since then, and the chair is still mine.
How many languages do you speak? Do you have any advice on learning languages?
I can count to ten in ten languages (joking). Frankly, the only language I feel accomplished in is French. Sometimes I get the sense that I was French in one of my previous lives. This language was the only one I easily mastered, as if I’d been speaking French all my life.
What advice can I give? I have one — talk to yourself in the mirror in the language you’re learning, tell yourself the stories learned by heart, and speak to yourself; it will help you reinforce your artistry; language is an art.
You manage a localization team of 18 translators from different parts of the world, right? How has it been for you?
Take them on as your good friends, chat with them on WhatsApp about everyday life things, share the photos of your peach garden with them, and don’t forget to say Happy B-day to them. They’ll never let you down.
The only trouble we may get into is the time zones. Our translators hail from different corners of the world, from Brazil to China, and sometimes this can be an issue.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Time. We are always racing against time because the deadline is yesterday and never tomorrow (smiling).
What do you love the most about your job now, what inspires you?
What really inspires me is when our co-founders’ international friends or partners from Japan or Germany evaluate our translations as top-notch! Something like: “by the way, your landing page sounds brilliant in Japanese!” or “who is doing the German translations for you?!”
And here’s one more thing: the opposite being the one that also inspires me. It’s when our worldwide customers are reporting localization bugs. For me, it means that we’re being read, heard and seen, and there's a connection with outer space. There’s feedback!
Could you tell us about the projects that you’re most proud of?
Definitely, it’s the Ukrainian language support for all our apps, so-called Ukrainization. It started 7 years ago, and at long last, we’re done. I am proud that all Readdle apps have acquired an interface in my native language. Now when I see the Ukrainian ‘Привіт’ on the screen, it warms my soul.
Do you think you’ve fully realized your potential in this role?
Not yet. I’m sure I can do more. I just haven’t figured out what it could be. But there is so much more to come, I can feel it!