A native of Bulgaria, Milena brings a wealth of language experience to the Circle. Interested in languages from childhood, she learned French at home, studied English, Russian and German in high school and went on to study English philology at Sofia University. After graduation, Milena became a graduate assistant in the English Department at the University. She then progressed to a full time faculty position in translation studies and earned a PhD with her dissertation on Translation Theory.
She got her start in professional translation and interpretation when she applied for a job at the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Linguists were needed to assist in diplomatic contacts with other nations. During one assignment with a Danish cultural delegation, she began asking questions about the Danish language, which so impressed the Danish representatives that they invited her to attend a one month course in Danish language and culture in Copenhagen. She participated in this course every year for four years and then was awarded a one-year scholarship to study in Copenhagen, an experience that she remembers fondly.
In 1987 she was awarded a Fulbright to study linguistics at Berkeley. Various U.S. academic posts soon came to her. After working as adjunct faculty in the English Department at City University in New York, specializing in ESL, she answered an ad for a position as head of the Foreign Languages and Translation Department of N.Y.U.’s School of Professional Studies. The position was particularly attractive to her since it encompassed her three main areas of interest: translation, foreign languages and administration. She spent 19 years at N.Y.U. in that capacity.
In 2015, always interested in the culture of the Far East, Milena attended a translation conference in Qatar. This led to a two year position in the Translation and Interpretation Institute in Qatar which began in 2016. As Director of the Language Center there, she modernized the curriculum and developed a professional development workshop for language instructors.
Milena is currently an adjunct faculty member in Hunter College’s new translation and interpretation Master’s program where she is teaching a course in Theory of Translation, a subject that is near and dear to her. She also maintains a busy Bulgarian translation practice.
Milena’s two year term as President will end in January 2021. During her tenure as President, she has greatly enjoyed working with the other Board Members and is proud of the work they are doing. Milena was instrumental in organizing the highly successful fortieth anniversary celebration of the Circle’s founding and is currently hard at work together with the other Board Members on the redesign of the Circle’s website.
Thank you, Milena, for your service to the Circle. Your translation journey is truly inspiring to all of us in the profession.
By: Patricia Stumpp