Johanna Günther

 

What can you tell us about your career?

I started out as an intern in a few Austrian publishing houses until working for Austria’s leading publisher of English school books, Helbling Languages. I worked there for five years, as editor and art director of their range of secondary school and high school materials. Two years ago, I went freelance; now I’m a freelance editor and translator with various clients, from the field of publishing to tourism and business. I also teach English and German for speakers of other languages in adult education.

Why did you study Anglistik und Amerikanistik? What, in your opinion, makes this choice of study unique?

As a native speaker, my motivation was a degree to back my skills up. However, in the course of my studies, I received so much more than just a degree: studying English enabled me to understand every other language better, something I profit from every day when editing German or teaching speakers of other languages. Also, one of the biggest benefits of a study in the humanities is that it allows you to reflect on art, culture, literature, and how the world works—in this case, even while polishing off your skills in a foreign language.

Are there any classes/courses/activities that have particularly influenced you both personally and professionally? Do you have any fond memories?

Film Studies influenced me the most out of all the classes I took, hands down. Talking about film and taking it seriously as a medium next to literature redefined the concept of art I had at the time. Discussing film as a mirror of society made talking about art as a reflection of or reaction to political and social occurrences more tangible for me. It also led me to take up my second field of study, Comparative Literature, which has also been helpful in my career.

Which skills that you acquired during your language and literature studies have been useful in your current employment and throughout your career?

As an English and German teacher, I often refer to tongue placement for articulation and pronunciation, which I learned in my first semester and never thought I’d actually use actively. Also, the elements of scanning and skimming—which we touched upon in the language courses—are the basis of the editing work I do daily. Much of what we talked about in literature and culture studies has had positive benefits, although these might not be as obvious: postcolonial literature, suburban America in literature and film, and film studies on the whole are only a few examples of topics discussed that all aided my critical text reception. Implicitly, this is one of the humanities’ countless benefits for an integral way of viewing the world, and is explicitly helpful when editing or translating.

Why would you recommend Anglistik und Amerikanistik?

As we all know, English is a world language and speaking it fluently is therefore of course an important skill to have. However, studying the English language provides expertise not only in the language itself, but in any and all fields of study: English or American literature, English or American culture, Film Studies, Theatre, etc. Studying the anglophone world and looking at ‘your’ world through anglophone eyes will broaden your horizon in ways you might never have imagined.

jg@thewordsmith.eu