Barry McNamara  |   Published July 23, 2018

Found in translation

Yergaliyeva to pursue translator studies at leading university
  • Bota Yergaliyeva poses with Monmouth College President Clarence R. Wyatt at Commencement on May 13.
MONMOUTH, Ill. – No matter which language you use to say it, Monmouth College graduate Bota Yergaliyeva has an exciting future.

A member of Monmouth’s Class of 2018, Yergaliyeva is headed to one of the top graduate schools in the nation to prepare to be a translator.

She will pursue a master’s degree in translation at Kent State University in Ohio, which is among the leading translation programs in the United States. During her two years there, Yergaliyeva will concentrate in Russian, which is one of four languages she speaks, in addition to Kazakh, English and French.

“All my life, I’ve spoken Russian and Kazakh,” said Yergaliyeva, who came to Monmouth from Astana, Kazakhstan. “Kazakh is the official state language in Kazakhstan. Russian is the language of interethnic communication and is spoken unofficially as a language of choice. … The best part of Kent State’s program is that it offers courses that explore different fields of translation practices, including medical, legal, business and literary translation.”

At Monmouth, Yergaliyeva was one of two students in her class to major in three subjects – French, political science and international studies.

“My passion for language studies is very strong,” said the magna cum laude graduate. “Translation studies is something that I see as a long-term commitment.”

While studying English, Yergaliyeva learned a word that many native speakers may not know – “hyperglot,” which means a person who is fluent in at least six languages.

“I plan to expand the number of languages that I can translate to and from,” she said. “Russian, Kazakh, English and French are a good start, but it would be amazing to be a hyperglot. But I also realize that each language always has something new to offer by the very nature of languages constantly evolving. I hope to be able to balance my appetite for learning new languages and expanding my skills with the ones I already know.”

Yergaliyeva came to the United States as a high school exchange student during the 2012-13 academic year. She said she loves the U.S. and is interested in staying, but “there are so many engaging and creative outlets one can find as a translator, and I am excited to explore my possibilities.”

Keeper of bees

No matter where her profession takes her, Yergaliyeva said her time at Monmouth will stay with her.

“After graduation, I’ve come to realize how deeply I have set my roots in Monmouth and especially the (College’s) Educational Garden,” she said. “I miss the quiet mornings before a hot summer’s day of work, fresh tomatoes and, most importantly, the people.”

Yergaliyeva worked in the garden during most of her time at Monmouth, and she stayed on after graduation to help tend to the garden’s bees.

“I can definitely see myself getting a beehive or two in the future,” she said. “At the very least, I will make an effort to get connected to a local community garden, wherever I end up. Wouldn’t it be cool if at some point I will work on a translation project that will involve gardening and/or beekeeping? Monmouth College has taught me that our world is intricately interconnected in more ways than we can fathom, so I am curious to see how my passions for languages and beekeeping will find a way to work together.”

Yergaliyeva said that working with the bees helped her adjust to new surroundings. She said anti-allergy properties the honey helped her acclimate physically, and working in the garden brought her mentally and socially into the fold.

“The garden really brings the community at Monmouth together,” she said. “Many friendships that I hold near and dear to my heart have blossomed because of the garden. So many people have been so encouraging and supportive of the garden’s growth and that’s what made it so special to grow food for the community in my years at the College.”

Although Yergaliyeva set her roots in the garden, she also appreciates the College as a whole.

“Monmouth is a very special place, and I will take a part of it with me wherever I go from now on,” she said. “My fellow graduates and I are off to new and exciting adventures, but we all are carrying a little bit of the wholesome and genuine Fighting Scot spirit with us. Monmouth College gives everyone a chance to blossom and that’s how this world grows to be a better place.”
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