Most of you will know or will have heard of Christiane Hargrave. She used to work here and left in December 2012. To learn a bitPhoto - Christiane more about her, please read below – she happily answered our Proust Questionnaire.

Her story at the Translation Service began when she did work experience at TTS when she was 16 years old. After completing her Bachelor of Arts degree at Victoria University of Wellington in 2003 she worked intermittently with us as an in-house French and Italian to English translator. She is also a Reiki master and holds a Diploma of Ayuverdic Lifestyle Management. Unfortunately for us Christiane decided to pursue a career as a freelance translator under the fairer skies of the Far North. She is now based in Whangarei and carries out freelance work for TTS.

Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A. Living in perfect peace surrounded by the tranquillity of nature, and relaxing at home. I believe that total wellbeing on all levels – physical, mental and spiritual – is the key to happiness.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

A. Daddy long-legs spiders, heights, fast speeds (roller coasters).

Q. Which person do you most admire?

A. My grandparents and great aunts and uncles (all who have now passed away). They knew true happiness in living a simple, yet very fulfilling, life.

Q. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

A. My ‘addiction’ to online shopping, my impulsiveness, and that I’m always running late (only in my personal life!).

Q. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

A. Not accepting others’ beliefs, and pessimism.

Q. What is your greatest extravagance?

A. I’m known as ‘Gadget Queen’, so most of my extravagances are electrical items and the latest technology. Probably my i-Phone and the Fitbit Wireless Activity Tracker and Fitbit Aria Wireless Scales. Or my Panasonic Wi-Fi Skype Phone with travel router.

Q. On what occasions do you lie?

A. On the odd occasion I may have been known to tell a white lie if I’m running late. Strangely enough I’m usually on time for work…

Q. What makes you happiest?

A. I’ve always been happiest surrounded by my family (my parents, two older sisters, nephew and nieces).

Q. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

A. I’d like to be more organised. I like anything to do with organising (products, books and concepts!). I dream of having a tidy, organised home!

Q. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

A. Opening my own business (My Language World Ltd) at the age of 24. It was a translation agency with a philanthropic component through the My Language World Fund, where a portion of sales would go to a good cause in a developing country. Unfortunately my website (which included the ability for clients to upload their documents) had problems being discovered by Google, and after two years I had to close it down.

Q. If you died and came back as a person or thing, what would it be?

A. A tropical bird or someone with special powers to make the world a better place.

Q. What is your most treasured possession?

A. My pets. When I was little I had a beautiful green budgie called Whittie. Then I owned a black cat called Puddy, a stray, and a very special pet. When I lived in Rwanda in 2006 I had some cheeky pet chickens which I named Helen Clark and Margaret Thatcher, and a rooster named Bill Clinton. I used to find them walking through my house, with Bill Clinton poking his beak against the oven door to check the cooking! Now I have Jade, also a green budgie, who I rehomed. He loves to play basketball with his little plastic basketball hoop, and loves classical music.

Q. Who are your heroes in real life?

A. Madeleine Albright (former US Secretary of State), Laila Harré (former MP for the Alliance Party), and Mother Theresa; all powerful female figures.

Q. What is it that you most dislike?

A. I dislike it when the medical profession says that something is ineffective just because there is not enough research to support its effectiveness. I prefer life experience over academia. If something works for one person, who’s to say that it won’t work for the next person? In my opinion, trial and error is better than tunnel vision and not exploring other avenues.

Q. What is your motto?

A. The key to having energy is doing what you love.

Every month, we will feature a staff member or one of our freelance translators. The featured profile will include pictures, a small biography and the person’s answers to a light version of the Proust Questionnaire.

Do you wish to be featured? If so, let us know.