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10/1/2020 » 10/4/2020
German Studies Association Conference

Member Accolades

Profiles: Katherine Schober
Name Katherine Schober
College Truman State University, Bowling Green State University
Degree B.A. and M.A. German Language and Literature
Current job title German-English Genealogy Translator
Employer Self-Employed
Location St. Louis, MO

Why did you first start learning German?
I first started studying German in high school. In February of our eighth-grade year, my cousin and I found out we had been accepted to the same private all-girls high school, which offered four languages to choose from for the language requirement. As a language lover, I was very excited to have more than the twice-a-month Spanish classes my grade school had offered. I remember the two of us sitting on my couch, weighing our options on what language we should take. Since we had German ancestors in our family, we decided that was the way to go!

What did you get out of your German studies?
In addition to teaching me the language, my German studies have provided me with so many opportunities. Through my German Master’s program, I got to spend a wonderful year in Salzburg, Austria, falling in love with the country and its culture. The next year was spent finishing the Master’s degree in Bowling Green Ohio, where I happened to meet an Austrian guy who would eventually become my husband. After graduating, I then a had chance to teach English in Austria through the Fulbright Program, getting to know so many interesting students, teachers and other Austrian friends over the following three years. Now back in America, I have made a career out of my German studies, running my own German-English translation business with a focus on historical and genealogical texts.

What influence did German have on your career choices?
German has greatly affected my career. I always knew that I wanted a career where I could work in the language field, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. When we moved to Boston from Austria, I first got a job as a project manager at a translation company. However, I constantly found myself feeling jealous of the translators I was assigning jobs to – they were getting to use their language, and I wasn’t. I eventually quit my job there and decided to start my own company.

How do you use German today at home or in your work?
Yes, both! My Austrian husband and I speak German at home together. As the first few years of our relationship were in Austria, we got used to speaking the language with one another, and I greatly appreciate this as it helps me keep up with my German skills.
As a German-English translator, I also use German in my work. I translate letters, diaries, birth/marriage/death certificates and church records from the 1600s to the present, helping people to understand the information available on their German ancestors. I love my work as it allows me to combine my love for history and language. The excitement of my clients when they can read their great-grandmother’s diary or letters from their grandfather to their father also means so much to me. And best of all, I get to be my own boss!

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