Alumni Spotlight: From Argentina to Irvine
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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.