Meet Marisa Petricca, the Italian Contributor who Left her Heart in China

Marisa with Piazza Navona as background, Rome. Image used with permission.

Global Voices interviews Italian Lingua Editor, Marisa Petricca, about her experience with GV and a lot more!

Global Voices: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you joined and something about the stages of your involvement within Global Voices?

Marisa Petricca: Ciao a tutti! (Hi everyone!) I am Global Voices Italian Lingua Editor from Italy. I joined GV in 2012, when I was bored studying for university exams and I found out this unique news site. Then, I started immediately as volunteer translator. In 2013, when our then editor decided to leave GV due to his main work, I accepted the call to become the new editor, together with two other girls of GV Italian group.

GV: Did your experience of translating, authoring and editing change your vision of the world during this time?

MP: Now, when I read a news article I start to image how was complex in terms of backhand work (research, writing, editing and publishing). Before GV, I was completely unaware of this process. You can make a difference if you find the perfect balance between these elements, your story will get smoother and will go straight to the point you want to highlight. Translating for GV is also a good way to learn something from far away countries that you did not know before.

GV: Does your work with GV impact your practice in your job?

MP: I am currently working for an Italian geopolitical magazine (Eastwest) and GV is one of my international sources to find out the global news trends of the day. It is also a network of activists, journalists and professionals. It can be useful to talk to them if I need to write/research on a topic that is new for me but very well known by them.

GV: Did the social media scene change a lot in your region since, say, 2009?

MP: My country is now inside a bubble of diffuse ignorance and prejudices against refugees and in general, against who is “different”. The social media are full of hate speech and fake news about this “invasion”. We forgot about how our own migration experience (in the US or Latin America) was important to build a better future. We need to spread more empathy to fight this trend. Sometimes there is lack of understanding between Italian local communities, but we need to be unite. Resistance!

Could you also elaborate somewhat on how you manage your own time for all these tasks, including your day job? Any tips?

MP: First, there are my activities in the newsroom. During lunch break, I check the emails and the load of GV things to do in the late afternoon or evening. However, I share my daily tasks with my great co-editor Annalisa Merelli. Tips? We have a “good cop/bad cop” routine to manage our GV community problems faster. Can you guess which one I am?

GV: What were your previous experiences translating? Was it very different from what you had done before?

MP: My translation experience was at university level. I studied English and Chinese during my BA and postgraduate years between Italy and China. GV was indeed a great help to improve my translation skills.

GV: And your experience in GV, do you think it is useful in other aspects?

MP: It is definitely a one of a kind experience because you feel (and you actually are) connected with people from all over the world. We like to call us “GV family” because our community bond is strong.

GV: Why do you think a man in the street should read GV in your language?

MP: A man from the street that read GV in Italian can discover many hidden global stories and different languages. All our readers are always enthusiastic to follow our posts because they can find something that is not on the mainstream media.

GV: How did you decide to start translating Global Voices posts?

MP: I wanted to improve my translation skills at first, but then I become passionate about the stories and I am still here because of this.

GV: What do you do when you're not translating? What do you do in your spare time?

MP: I would like to travel always, especially in Asian countries. I left my heart in China, my love at first sight was Hong Kong, and my in-laws family is from the Philippines. If I am not on a plane, you can find me in some other parallel universe while reading books or news analysis with my favorite music on.

GV: What are your dreams?

MP: I want to be a journalist for a global audience not only for the Italian readers. I am available from now. If you are “newsaholic” like me (especially on Italy/China/Asia relations) and you are developing an interesting project, I can give you a hand. Please, write to @soothe888.

GV: In all the time you have been collaborating with GV, what is your most memorable experience?

MP: Two moments: the GV Summit 2015 in Cebu was incredible. I realized how big the power of this community is and I made new awesome friends. The most touching moment happened last year: when I lost my mom, many GV members (friends or people that I never met before) sent me tons of warm messages, local poems, virtual hugs and personal experience advices to go through this transition. They were amazing; I want to thank everyone another time now. My dad and I will never forget this global embrace!

GV: How is your site of GV doing? Describe your work at your Lingua group and tell us about your plans and future hopes for the site?

MP: Lingua Italian site is very active with 2-3 new stories every day. The regular and trusted translators are our strength but for the future, we would like to attract more authors to write local stories from Italy. If you are interested to write for GV Italian apply now!

GV: Multilingualism is also at the heart of your concerns. Why is multilingualism important?

MP: My Hindi professor some years ago quoted a common proverb that can answer this question: “If you know many languages, you have many souls”.

GV: How do you pick posts to translate into your language, and, in fact, why did you choose to volunteer this way?

MP: I mostly pick posts about China and Asian countries, because of my background in East Asian Studies. However, I am also happy to share the stories of activists/bloggers/journalists in danger or their amazing work in war zones. I translate to spread these stories to Italian people who do not speak English.

GV: You've been translating for GV for several years, what would you say to those just starting out?

MP: Follow the topics you love, translate them to expand your passion and have fun with the other GV members!

GV: Tell us about the city you live in, and how would you describe your country to a foreigner.

MP: I am in Rome now. This city is a huge book of history open to everyone, but foreigners often see it only within a fascination from movies like “The great beauty”, forgetting to discover our modern culture. Come to Italy to explore our local way of life that from north to south is very different. Leave your heart-shaped sunglasses at home and start to discover my country on the street!

GV: Finally, describe yourself and how you see the world.

MP: I am a positive and open-minded girl, interested in sinology, new media, human rights and contemporary art. The world is my town, so full of unexpected surprises, like GV, and I look forward for the next ones!

Thank you Marisa for this beautiful interview!

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