A Close Look at Excellence in Translation and Interpretation Project Management – Interview with CCA’s Andrea Barnett
Andrea Barnett is a connoisseur of languages. As one of the Translation and Interpretation Project Managers at Chang-Castillo and Associates, Andrea brings years of project management experience and a deep linguistic knowledge to her work. Her love of language, its innate ability to teach us about a region’s history and culture, her attention to the details of grammar coupled with a delight for the complexity of language drive her to excellence. All of these ingredients are part of Andrea’s ability to shepherd a project from inception to completion, finding the right people and the right tools to get the job done.
More than Project Management
I had a chance to speak with Andrea Barnett about what drives and inspires her project management expertise. Her own project management philosophy is fundamental to CCA’s company values; Andrea believes that in providing client satisfaction, keeping lines of communication open is essential, and maintaining a professional, friendly and positive attitude toward project challenges is very important. Andrea enjoys serving as an intermediary between interpreters and translators and clients. Her knowledge of language and her project management skills help her to choose the best person for projects and to navigate projects expeditiously, finding resources and managing expectations and workflow. One of her most interesting challenges was hunting down an indigenous dialect in Mexico for a potential interpretation assignment. She had to research various Mexican Indian dialects and figure out which villages were speaking the one needed. Certainly, Project Management of this sort is more adventurous than the rest.
Learning the Past from Latin and Ancient Greek
Andrea has studied Spanish, Italian, German, Hungarian, Latin and Ancient Greek and holds degrees in both linguistics and speech pathology. Her favorite language is Latin which she studied in university. “Latin is like a puzzle”, Andrea says. Looking at English words one can relate them to their origins in Latin and understand more about the historical travel of ideas and people. Knowing Latin also makes the study of Indo-European languages easier.
Ancient Greek is another way to peer into history and discern patterns. Knowing both ancient languages has provided a unique portal. Andrea notes that many ancient and medieval grammars are more complex than modern grammatical structures. Old English, for example, has a more complex grammar than modern English. The centuries have simplified English although certain complexities have endured including irregular plurals. A confessed “grammar nerd” Andrea has found that peering into the syntax of ancient and medieval languages provides an excellent way for us to understand history and place.
Italy and Italian
Andrea lived in Italy for a year as an exchange student. The beauty and aesthetic joy of Italy and of Italian, has made it her favorite modern language.
Hungarian: a Stand-Alone Language
Andrea’s study of Hungarian was notable as few people are aware of its unique attributes and relative historical isolation. Hungarian is considered a “stand-alone language”. Andrea has found this fact fascinating. The connections between Hungarian and other languages are fairly tenuous and even basic words are very different. While today modern Hungarians have adopted many English words for modern inventions or events, the stand-alone qualities that make Hungarian so unique have endured. Andrea was lucky enough to study it for a semester while actually living in Hungary before the fall of the Iron Curtain at the end of the Cold War. That alone provided a unique vista!
Excellence is the Standard at CCA
Working at Chang-Castillo and Associates has been a very positive experience for Andrea; she has not only gotten to work with stellar and well-known translators and interpreters including CEO and President Pablo Chang-Castillo and COO Julien Brasseur, she has also been able to apply her own expertise to the management of many intriguing translation and interpretation projects. Beyond the application of Project Management methodologies that are universal, Andrea has found her work at CCA to be stimulating, challenging, and a place where a self-described “grammar nerd” can play in productive ways in the expansive and always intriguing world of language. Andrea Barnett lives in the Bay Area with her family and still enjoys travel.