Distill technical concepts into plain language.

  • Lovely library

    These books are on my desk at home. Unpaid ad: The updated copy of Effective Python by Brett Slatkin arrived and I am absolutely thrilled. View this post on Instagram Meine Sprachen A post shared by Ursula Kallio (@ursulakallio) on Mar 10, 2020 at 11:33am PDT This subset of books is ever changing based on current interests. That said, I do reserve a sizeable space for paper dictionaries, which seem to act as staples.

  • Are you in a position to sponsor someone to learn Russian?

    Recently, I received feedback from a friend who attended the Language Institute Regina Coeli for a week. This person’s experience was full of positives, and I expressed thorough intrigue, and that I would be committed to learning Russian there, given a way to cover the high cost. This friend recommended that I get a sponsor to attend. It is something I have thought about before, but have not yet pieced together a way to make that happen on my own, so I guess there’s no harm in asking: Is there someone out there who needs a test subject to learn Russian intensely for the sake of research and can sponsor me to attend intensive language training? If you are in such a position, feel free to contact me.

  • “What have you done lately?”

    How often do you find yourself interested in what someone has done recently rather than a long time ago? In the spirit of that, I have done these things in the past couple months: Trained engineers on how to write technical documentation using DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture), which is an open standard that promotes topic-based authoring. Paired on an integration between DITA source code and a Zendesk knowledge base. Ported technical documentation from Sphinx and reStructuredText to DITA. Communicated in English and German with engineers. Created a kanban board for myself to make the most use of my time. I am currently learning Python.

  • Accent reduction

    For a given language, I return to pronunciation practice time and time again as I progress with a language. This is especially important when starting to learn a new language with new sounds that can temporarily interfer with other languages, even one’s native language. In part, the sounds that you find problematic in a non-native language depends on your native language, your level of knowledge in the foreign language, how much you have worked on your accent until now, and other factors. Using my training as a violinist and my advanced TEFL certificate, I analyze sound patterns and create practice exercises that target individual sounds and (more importantly) their connections to each to other.

  • Translation

    For a new Berlin resident, I translated at the immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) from German to English and English to German. I have also vetted translations from German to English, and Finnish to English. When I learn languages, I translate from a given target language into English, and vice versa. Another technique that I use is to read bilingual material so that I can see how ideas have been translated. It can be quite enjoyable to see what flexibility of expression a translator has used to keep within the sentiment of a particular story line.