NAATI News -Practitioner Spotlight

Practitioner Spotlight: Oksana Katorjevskaya

“Why are translators always in good shape? Because they care about every word and its weight!”

I am Oksana Katorjevskaya, and my journey as an interpreter and translator has been a dynamic and rewarding exploration of languages, cultures, and industries — all while being in a constant quest for growth.

Graduating from Moscow Linguistic University marked the beginning of my formal education in linguistics. It was built on the foundation of five years of dedicated study, culminating in a Linguist qualification specialising in Russian, English, and Spanish — Linguistics and Intercultural Communication.

My studies delved into the intricacies of translation and interpreting, with courses ranging from English translation theory, two-way interpreting, and the economic geography, history, and culture of both English and Spanish-speaking countries.

After that, I took a two-year postgraduate Diploma, where I immersed myself in advanced areas of Simultaneous interpretation. This specialised training helped me to navigate intricate linguistic nuances and allowed me to offer my expertise in the field of Translation and Interpreting between Russian and English.

My career kicked off with business interpreting assignments, where I played a crucial role in facilitating meetings, negotiations, and conferences across Russia and Europe. This early phase provided me with a solid foundation in professional interpreting and tremendously honed my ability to adapt swiftly and convey complex concepts accurately in real-time.

It was a pivotal moment when I relocated to Australia in 2002 where I was introduced to the world of community interpreting. This left me with emotionally charged scenarios that were extremely different from my previous experiences.

This shift demanded not only linguistic precision but also emotional resilience. I found myself interpreting for patients facing dire health prognoses, translating in high-stakes courtrooms alongside a double murder suspect, and providing solace to families in palliative care situations. This intersection of language and emotion underscored the profound impact interpreters have on people’s lives.

While continuing my linguistic endeavours, I wanted to explore a new career which led me to the residential construction industry. Working in this new field allowed me to curate assignments that appealed to me as a linguist. This adaptability proved crucial as the world underwent massive shifts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading me to refocus on translation, particularly personal and legal documents.

In response to these changes, I created BYSTRO (‘fast’ in Russian) — an innovative solution that streamlined document translation. Leveraging technology, I developed a system that automated the translation process for templated personal documents. This innovation not only increased efficiency but also showcased my ability to blend my linguistic skills with modern tools to meet evolving needs.

The integration of technology extended to the optimization of my business operations, minimizing my direct involvement while maintaining high standards. Embracing this approach highlighted the importance of systems in ensuring the seamless functioning of a diverse career.

My journey has been marked by a commitment to continuous growth. Engaging in professional development, attending industry events, and actively participating in training sessions have been instrumental in honing my skills. The excitement of learning from both my industries—the linguistic and the construction sectors—has enriched my perspective and contributed to a well-rounded professional identity.

In conclusion, my journey from the Moscow Linguistic University to becoming an interpreter, translator, and innovator exemplifies the transformative power of language. It underscores the dynamic nature of our roles and the ability to weave together diverse experiences into a cohesive narrative. As I continue to navigate through the ever-changing landscape of languages, cultures, and industries, I remain steadfast in my commitment to growth, excellence, and the pursuit of meaningful contributions to society.

Oksana Katorjevskaya is a Certified Translator Russian <>English and Certified Conference Interpreter Russian into English. Learn more about Oksana at

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