Q: How would you describe Marina Khonina in a nutshell?
Marina Khonina: That's a tough one. I think there are several facets to that. So, the obvious one is the translation, and languages. I started out as a translator and, for most of my career, I've worked with translators and have been pretty big on using and learning languages. Then there's the research/academic side. I recently finished my Master's in sociology, focusing on gender and sport. So sport would be the third aspect. I'm an athlete. That's a pretty big part of my life and my identity, and it's really fun to see how all of these interconnect.
Q: In what countries have you lived?
MK: I was born in Kazakhstan, when it was still part of the Soviet Union, and I spent quite a bit of my life in Central Asia, both in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. When I was very young, I lived in the US briefly, and I also worked in Japan, and spent over 10 years living and working in Turkey. And right now I'm based in the Greater Vancouver area in British Columbia, in Canada. So, kind of all over the world.
Q: What languages do you speak?
MK: I'm bilingual in Russian and English. So those I consider the languages that I actually speak. And those are the languages that I work in as a translator. I also occasionally work with French, but only from French, not into French, my spoken French isn't that amazing. The countries where I lived also encouraged me to learn the languages of those countries. So I dabbled in Japanese, I don't really speak it. And because I lived in Turkey for so long, I do understand quite a bit of Turkish. And also, because I love languages I learned a bunch of random languages, including ancient and Byzantine Greek, and I'm now learning Ukrainian.
Q: When you're not being a translator or translation community manager, how do you spend your time?
MK: Well, I'm also an athlete, so that's a pretty big chunk of my life and my time. I do track and field and I compete in the 200 and the 400 meters. So a lot of my time I spend either training or resting and recovering from training. I also love hiking. I live in British Columbia and it's an amazing place to hike. And I also grew up in Kazakhstan in a very mountainous area.
Q: Cats or dogs?
MK: Definitely cats, though I love all kinds of animals. In fact, I'm now obsessed with the black bears, which are native to British Columbia, where I live. They're an absolutely amazing creature. And I love dogs. I've had dogs in the past. But cats are definitely a big part of my life. I have two. They are from Turkey originally and they traveled with me to Japan and now to Canada. So they're very international cats.