Workaholism is not contagious

From the moment we landed in Novosibirsk, we`ve been dying to get back to teaching full-time.  We`ve hardly been back a week when Mike was invited to speak at a conference for ESL teachers at Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University. This was arranged by our friend William, who opened his own school, PanAmerican in the autumn of 2013.

The university is a 40-minute bus ride away from the city centre so it was a bit like a road trip (although Novosibirsk is the third largest city of Russian with approximately 2 million population, we live in the centre  and work mostly here as well, so 40 minutes seems pretty far away).

Mike’s talk was on Discourse Analysis, and as I stood there, taking pictures of him and glaring at people who dared speak or use their phones, I couldn`t be more proud of my clever husband!


William introducing Mike IMG_5903 IMG_5912 IMG_5922

Me with my high school English teacher who is now involved in teacher training and represents Pearson Longman in Novosibirsk   

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Mike also took part in another conference at the same university –  and his paper, English as a Lingua Franca: Russia, the European Union and Native Speaker Contexts,   is going to be published by the university in an academic journal called Cross-cultural Approach in Science and Education. His first publication! So exciting! He also teaches weekly classes at the same university now, which is a good first step on the way to a career in university-level education.


So get back to teaching we did. In addition to two groups at a company which organized exhibition, which we share with Mike, we both have our own individual students.SInce we both got our qualifications (Mike – his TESOL MA, me – CELTA), we`ve taken a different approach to lesson planning, and to some extent, to teaching.  We’ve even been doing lesson prep together, and not only for the classes we share – just sharing ideas as we both learned so much from our respective courses. I even brought some Bluetack back from New Zealand to use in class (as taught at CELTA!).  Mike has been using cool things online he learned at his CALL class (Computer-assisted learning), like having a class blog and I`ve been doing interesting things with  Skype lessons using

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But teaching English is only one side of my workaholism. I also do translating and interpreting, and since I`ve been back, I`ve had 4 big interpreting assignments.

The first one was a seminar for IT developers and testers called Codefest. We had amazingly conscientious clients who spent no less than 5 hours going over presentations with us making sure we knew what everything was and giving us app testing 101. All this preparation paid off and the event went smoothly, helped by the exellent facilities in the new conference and exhibition centre NovosibirskExpo. There are 4 soundproof booths for simultaneous translation, which means that up to 4 simultaneous interpreters can (pardon the pun) simultaneously work for 4 different events (or 4 different sections within one event).

Interpreter’s console featuring two interesting buttons in addition to standard volume and microphone controls: ‘ cough’ for when you need to a quick break to, indeed, cough or take a drink of water, and ‘slow’ which will light up the same button on the speaker’s console to let them know to slow down or pause.

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The participants of the seminar IMG_6016

In my booth IMG_6008 IMG_5989 IMG_5977

The second event was even more exciting. I`ve always wanted to work with the Israel Culture Centre, so when the opportunity presented itself, I didn`t hesitate to  take it. Once again, we had William to thank for introducing me to the director of the culture center. The reason they needed an interpreter is that the Israeli Film Festival was taking place in one of the cinemas here, and the attache for culture of the Israeli Embassy in Moscow was going to attend. Her native language being Hebrew and English, she needed somebody to translate for her at the festival press conference and the opening ceremony. We were also invited to stay and watch the film that was featured that evening (the same one that I had already seen in the afternoon during the press screening – Dr Pomerantz, a black comedy) and for the reception afterwards.

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But that’s not the most exciting thing yet. The majority of films for the festival were in Hebrew and English and had Russian subtitles. Except for one film, the Fifth Heaven – there were Russian subtitles in existence, but they couldn`t be applied to the film. So I was asked t do a Russian language voice-over for the film during the screening, using the English subtitles as a guide for timing.  We had a trial screening on Friday, and I was the only one at the cinema watching the movie! Granted, I had a laptop and spent a lot of time scrolling through the subtitles and muttering the Russian translation to myself, but it was still a special experience.


This also motivated me to invest in some new technology as by this time I was thoroughly fed up with lugging my laptop around, so I bought a Samsung Galaxy Note tablet. This proved to be one of the best investments ever – not only was I free from printing out a 100-plus page document of subtitles, I didn`t depend on a power outlet or a source of light as the screen is back lit, just like a computer screen. It also came in handy this week, when I was doing a draft voice over for an American movie company for a cartoon in the very same cinema.

Here is me getting ready to do the voice over for the Fifth Heaven:


And finally, thanks to a fellow interpreter and translator who now owns her own agency, I got to interpret at an international scientific congress and exhibition on geodesy and cartographyInterexpo Geo-Siberia. This subject was fairly new to me and required extensive preparation. Even so, I found the presentations fascinating and learned heaps of new things. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy interpreting: you always get to learn something new. This time I particularly enjoyed interpreting at a workshop on Global Geospatial Information of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (

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I also got to interpret the welcoming speech of the governor of the Novosibirsk Region Vasiliy Yurchenko.


All in all, the last two weeks have been crazy and I had no weekend for two weeks in a row – what with preparation and the interpreting itself.  But luckily, Russians love public holidays and we haveldays off from May 1st to May 5th and then May 9th to May 12th. Even so, I had a Skype lesson this morning and planning to have another one tomorrow… My name is Yulia and I`m a workaholic, but only because I love my both jobs to bits!

Image | This entry was posted in Events, Interpreting, Russia, Teaching, TESOL, Work and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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