Hi! My name is Lucy Day, and I built We Love Translations.
You may be surprised to learn that I am not a translator. Here are ten other surprising truths about me.
- I think I own three or four thousand books. I’ve never counted. I bought a barcode scanner a few years back and got up to 1,100 or so, but I was only counting books new enough to have barcodes, and I’ve bought many hundreds of books since then.
- I read an average of five books a month. Over the last twenty years, the average number of books per year is more like ninety than sixty. I’ve read over 2,000 books since finishing high school. I’ve shifted to reading more non-fiction; my reading is now about half fiction and half non-fiction.
- I have studied seven foreign languages. Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, German, Latin, and Mandarin Chinese. I was probably best at Spanish because I studied it the longest or Italian because I studied it in Italy. French is not as hard to spell as it’s made out to be. Yes, German has a lot of grammar to learn… but not as much as Latin. Japanese is hard for cultural reasons, but I didn’t get far enough to run into any of those problems. Don’t get me started on Mandarin, which is by far the hardest of the bunch on account of the four tones.
- I taught myself to read. Well, not exactly. I figured out how to read when my mom read to me. I kept my skill a secret because I thought she would stop reading to me if she knew I could read to myself. She didn’t. All that happened when my kindergarten teacher spilled the beans was that I got sent to do language arts with the first graders while my classmates were learning phonics. And speaking of phonics:
- I wrote a phonics program. The eight-book package of literacy materials I created has been used by over 10,000 children in Singapore. I’ve also written over 100 pages of comprehension and vocab activities for beginning readers and 500 pages of grammar instruction for local primary school students.
- I have lived in Asia for over a decade. I wanted to know what it felt like to live outside the US, and studying abroad in Italy for three months during college was not enough. I wanted to live and work and walk and talk in a foreign country as a full-grown adult, paying rent and contributing to the economy, and I got my wish. Singapore is an amazing, multilingual, multicultural tropical island city-state in Southeast Asia, and that’s where I’ve been since October 2008. As of December 2022: I am in Hangzhou, China! Big change!
- I didn’t think Amazon would ever succeed at selling books online. And now look at me, twentyish years later, helping them do it. Tables, tides, and corners—not to mention new leaves—have been turned.
- I worked for a book publisher for over four years. I learned a lot about the inner workings of the industry, saw a book make the NYT bestseller list entirely by accident, and taught myself how to typeset equations in LaTeX. The two times I attended Book Expo America in New York City were like Christmas and Halloween rolled into one.
- I don’t have a pet and I don’t want one. I’m a cat person and not a dog person, but I’m allergic to cats. I love snakes. Did you know that some snakes can jump into the air from trees and glide to the ground?! The day I learned that was a good day: snakes are already pretty awesome, and flying is obviously the awesomest superpower—apart from reading, or language itself, which is a miracle we tend to take for granted.
- I have visited 29 states and 24 countries. Travel is a privilege even when it’s more of a pain than a pleasure, but more importantly, it’s perspective. Books can take us to even more places than cars and trains and boats and planes, and not only that: they can help us walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.