Germany is a country that prizes qualifications: a piece of paper that says you’ve earned a degree, done an internship or completed vocational training. I’ve got a Bachelor of Music to my name, but that doesn’t necessarily look so interesting when you’re trying to tell the Agentur für Arbeit that you want to start a business as a translator and interpreter. I might not have a business or translation qualification on paper, but being an opera singer is a lot like being founder, customer service rep, market analyst, administrator, translator and accountant all in one. So founding Red Tape Translation wasn’t that much of a leap, even though I wasn’t officially “qualified” to do so. In this respect, it gives me great pleasure to be the person who doesn’t quite fit the mold, but still has the skills to succeed.
It also gives me great pleasure to work together with extraordinary people whose lives might have followed similar, off-the-beaten paths. Thomas Florio is a terrific example. He has a Bachelor and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and has spent the better part of the last 10 years singing in opera houses and concert halls all around Europe and across the US. Along the way, he’s worked in administration, marketing, web design, copy editing, data entry, customer service and project management, both as part of his work as an opera singer and in other fields. He’s fluent in German and English and a nice, genuine bloke to boot. (He can also quote Loriot offhand, which is like C2-level assimilation into German culture.) And I know from personal experience that opera singers are generally persistent as hell, open and flexible, cool under pressure, great at improvising and really good at solving problems. The word “business” is also absent from Thomas’s degree, but he’s spent his career being a small business owner, too.
As of February 2018, Thomas is a bilingual administration assistant at Red Tape Translation: he’ll be coordinating translation and interpreting projects, marketing and social media, as well as handling billing and communications – and pretty much anything else that might crop up. The timing is impeccable, as Kim leaves Berlin to take on Schwiizerdütsch in her new Zürich life. Kim is also one of those extraordinary people I value so highly: her background is in landscape architecture and construction project management, and these unique skills have proven incredibly useful in the translation and interpreting world. Kim will be working with us remotely until the end of February as Thomas transitions in. I bid a fond farewell to Kim and extend a warm welcome to Thomas. Let the new adventures begin!