Name: Bistra Andreeva
AUBG Class of: 2001
Major: Journalism and Mass Communication.
Graduate/Advanced degree: MA in Cultural Policy and Cultural Management from the University of Arts in Belgrade and Lumiere University Lyon; MA in Conference Interpreting from Sofia University
Home Country: Bulgaria
Current occupation: Conference Interpreter and Translator of Literature
• Where do we find you at this moment?
At home in Sofia for two weeks, on a short break from my usual summer residence – a caravan on the beach at the Bulgarian seaside (where I work too, don’t get me wrong)
• What was your fist destination after AUBG? Describe your career path.
My first job was as a Production Assistant at SIA Advertising – the biggest TV production house at the time. Prof. Nedyalko Delchev helped me get it as he put me in touch with an alum who was already working there as a director. I went on to be the Executive Producer of TV shows such as Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, I would also travel to acquire entertainment formats. Fun times, but not something I wanted to do forever – after five years I quit and joined an arts and culture magazine (Edno) where I wrote and edited for another five years, worked on cultural events too. Amazing period but I needed a change again and I wanted to go after an actual craft which required expert skills – so I started translating books and learned to interpret professionally. Now I am a freelancer and my time is split between these two things. As an interpreter I am accredited to work for the EU institutions so I get to travel often to Brussels and Strasbourg.
• How have the years at AUBG prepared you for your career?
By teaching me to think, to research, to read. By giving me a non-Bulgarian perspective which helps think outside of the local box. By allowing me to try different things outside of the library – studying was one of the last things I did, it was all about the AURA radio, the MoreHonors, the student newspaper, the photography workshops, the theater plays; my JMC internship was at an advertising agency. More specifically – by keeping my English lean and current, it later proved to be my major asset.
• What class has the most significant impact on you?
Probably History of Mass Communication and Rhetorical Criticism – both taught by the extraordinary Prof. Tony Osborne. I still remember the stories he was telling us (PT Barnum’s publicity stunt to put cigarettes in women’s hands) and the papers I genuinely enjoyed writing (one was an analysis of a Kurt Vonnegut speech). I also absolutely loved the Non-fiction and Poetry Writing classes of Prof. Annie Paradise – she was almost as young as us and so cool, she really opened my eyes to reading and writing.
• Knowing what you know now, what would you want to tell your student self? If you could change something back what would it be?
I was very happy at AUBG – I don’t know if I would change anything. I would simply tell her (my student self): Don’t be scared if you don’t know what you want to do with your life – you’ll be working it out step by step and this will never end (at least until 40). Also: after you graduate cherish your friendship with your AUBG peeps, the world is big but they will prove to be more precious than you know.
• What are the things that make you tick? What is your greatest passion or motivation at present?
Great writing, a little bit of art, a good laugh, good conversation, travelling, keeping fit and the sea make me feel alive. It absolutely thrills me when I translate a book I love that people discover and love as a result. I am also very prone to helping people – I love feeling useful.
• Future projects and plans that you look forward to with anticipation?
I am very much looking forward to adding Spanish as a working language, this is my project for the next 3-4 years. Hopefully Italian will be next. I am excited about the new class of Conference Interpreting students at Sofia University where I teach. Of course, I probably won’t resist taking on some more great literary fiction to translate.
• May fellow alumni keep in touch with you for mentorship and career advice?
By all means!