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DCE Magazine

Alumni Spotlight: From Argentina to Irvine

Fall 2018

Milly Golia brought her translation company to the U.S. – with a little help from her DCE friends.

Growing up in Buenos Aires, Milly Golia dreamed of coming to America. The DCE alumna developed a deep passion for the English language at a young age, and hoped to someday visit the U.S. and help bridge cultures through love of language. So Golia studied to become a Certified Public Translator and got a job with the United Nations Development Program in Argentina.

Finally, she had enough money to travel abroad. In 1998 Golia came to visit a friend and colleague living in Irvine, and she fell in love with the area — especially Laguna Beach. And that's when she found out about UCI's certificate programs, a discovery that has paid big dividends.

“When I first got to California I fell in love with Laguna Beach, its people, the weather, the proximity to Los Angeles and San Diego, the ocean, and UCI!” said Golia, founder and CEO of Bureaucom, an Argentina-based global corporate translation company. “My friend and colleague Alba Jones spoke very highly of the university and told me about the great continuing education certificate programs at UCI.”

After Alba showed her around the campus, Golia decided to take a couple of business English classes, followed by courses in American history and public speaking. Then in 2002 she earned a certificate in Global Operations Management.

It was the start of a decades-long relationship between Golia and UCI, one that has been richly rewarding both professionally and personally.

“I've been friends with one of my instructors, Richard Steele, since 2002,” she said. “Rich helped me launch my business, get leads and clients and acclimate to American life and business culture. Without his help. I would have never opened up our office in California in 2011.”

Golia now splits time between Argentina and Laguna Beach, where she lives with her 13-year-old son while her husband stays at their suburban home in Buenos Aires. Currently she's stateside, taking the DCE's Applied Project Management certificate program. It's an important step now that her growing company has expanded to the U.S.

Her days are packed, but she managed to find time to catch up with us back in June.

Let's start at the beginning. How did you develop your love of English and translation?

I was born in Buenos Aires but the English language has been my passion since I can remember. My mother and grandmother loved English too, and they pushed me to study it. So I started studying in a private institute when I was eight, then in college I was immersed in British and American literature as well as Argentine literature. It was a great way to get in touch with Anglo-Saxon culture and values. I have to say it changed me for the better. It made me a better human being.

One of my favorite authors is Ralph Waldo Emerson, and one of his quotes changed my life forever: ‘To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived — that is to have succeeded.’

So you were inspired to help open the door to different languages and cultures.

Yes, I'm extremely passionate about translation and interpreting. That's why I started Bureaucom, and now we offer translation services in more than 25 languages for companies like JP Morgan Chase, Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba and many others. Bureaucom is expanding here in Orange County, and we've expanded our services too, with desktop publishing and audiovisual productions.

Was there any type of culture shock when you first came to the U.S.?

One of the most difficult things was getting used to meeting people for the first time without kissing them. In Argentina, there are more than 24 million Argentinian citizens who have Italian roots, making it around 60% of the country's population. Buenos Aires is indeed very European and, as you may know, Argentine people, like Italians, love kissing people when they first meet them.

Tell me about your relationship with UCI and the Division of Continuing Education. How has it helped you grow Bureaucom and enter the U.S. market?

Rich Steele played a big part, and he's stayed constantly in touch since 2002, calling to say hi or wish me Merry Christmas even when I was in Argentina. He has been extremely helpful and supportive with my business. Here's an example: In 2011 we were awarded a three-year global translation contract by Hewlett-Packard, but one of the requirements was that we needed to have offices in Argentina as well as the U.S. So while I was in Argentina I called Rich and asked for help.

We needed to open a corporation in California, so we followed all the steps but we could not get a tax ID number. Months passed. Rich was constantly following up with the IRS. So one day he called to tell me they needed my passport, but I was in Argentina — so was my passport. So I mailed the passport to Rich and after four or five months of follow-up, we got the tax ID number. It wouldn't have happened without him.

You have an impressive academic background — a master's in Interpretation and Translation from the National University of La Plata to go with your DCE certificate. Why come back for the Applied Project Management program?

I have always wanted to study project management because it's what I have been doing since I opened up my company in Argentina in 1998. I wanted to know more about project management, learn what's new in the field and how it applies to running a business in the U.S. now that Bureaucom has expanded. I opted for the evening program because it's more convenient with my ongoing work schedule.

It sounds pretty hectic, splitting time between two countries while running Bureaucom and taking university courses.

I've been moving back and forth for 18 years. Every time it's summer in Argentina, I spend my vacation in California, working and having fun with all my friends. I am still in contact with some friends I met while I was taking the Global Operations Management certificate.

What sort of things do you like to do when you carve out some leisure time?

I like hiking, skiing, reading, and love meeting people from all walks of life, cultures and traditions. I especially admire people who struggle against the odds. Even when I'm not working, my thoughts are about language and how it can make people's lives better. My dream is to teach others to not only become translators and interpreters, but to harness their talents to reach people all over the world.