Annalisa Occhipinti, an entrepreneur with a passion for languages
“I recently came across an essay I wrote in secondary school, where I said that I wanted to be an interpreter in parliament when I grew up. I had read a book called “Hallo, Ici l’interprete” and it made a big impression; suddenly, I realised what I really wanted was to study languages, so I could understand and talk to everyone.
Life often ends up taking you in other directions, such as opening a translation agency. But languages have always been the greatest influence in the decisions I’ve taken.
So the next step involved studying languages intensively after school in Biella, where I lived (because my classical high school was the only one that didn’t offer languages), followed by a degree in languages in Milan, where I now live and work. But after graduating, Milan offered a whole range of opportunities, so I started out with computer translation thanks to my thesis in Mathematical and Computational Linguistics (it was 1986), before moving on to an American consultancy firm. I also accrued some experience in Marketing & Communications for another company, which was also American, followed by 10 years as head of language training at Elea, part of the Olivetti group, in Milan. 1995 saw a turning point when I branched out into Multimedia Planning, followed by a post as Community Manager for Webscuola, working for Tin.it (now TIM).
After 2000 I returned to languages, because you never forget your first love. So I found myself running a translation agency in a language school after which, in January 2011, I opened my own agency, Opitrad.
It might seem like the end of the story, but actually it’s only the start: the translation and interpreting scenario posed major challenges for us professionals. One might be forgiven for thinking artificial intelligence is threatening this line of work, but experience shows that it’s actually a major shift, a bit like the upheaval we saw when we changed from typewriters to computers, or from printed dictionaries to the online kind, complete with concordances. The world evolves, and lifelong learning is a must for us all. But I feel confident that we will reap plenty of rewards in the future.
If you’d like to talk to me, feel free to get in touch here. Alternatively, look me up on LinkedIn!