Behind The Smart Octopus is me, Luciana Borrelli PhD, the principal and sole member of the business. In an era where most translation agencies and professional editing services offer a wide range of freelance professionals to choose from, based on qualifications, experience and skills, at competitive rates and short turnaround times, The Smart Octopus may appear like a drop in the ocean. However, my identity is also one of my strengths. If you choose The Smart Octopus for the translation or editing of your document you can rest assured that I am the translator or editor that is doing the job as I do not subcontract my projects to others. I offer a 1:1 relationship to all my clients and am your direct contact during all the phases of the project, from quotation to delivery of the work. My greatest pride are satisfied, and returning, clients and I will do all my best to make you happy with my work.


Bilingual from birth

Being bilingual (English mother, Italian father), I was exposed to both languages (English and Italian) from birth and always felt comfortable speaking English to my mother and Italian to my father. My mixed schooling (English primary, elementary and middle school vs. Italian high school) determined my ability to speak, read and write fluently in both languages. I am thus perfectly equipped to capture the specific expressions and nuances of both English and Italian, making the editing or translation of your document equivalent to that of a mother tongue. Finally, by having completed a PhD in English and a Master’s Degree in Italian (mixed higher education), I write to the highest academic standards in both languages.


Qualifications and experience

I have more than 10 years of experience in scientific editing and translation of documents, which was obtained during my training as a research scientist (MSc in Natural Sciences, PhD in Behavioural Biology) and following my professional collaborations with Italian universities, public and private institutions and translation agencies (see Curriculum for details). During my years in the lab, being bilingual, I became the person to go to for grammatical or linguistical issues as well as the reference to colleagues for the editing of manuscripts before submission or slide shows for presentations. While writing my PhD thesis, however, I understood that my direction was not to become a researcher myself, but to help others communicate their scientific findings more effectively. My professional experiences, following my PhD, were focused in this direction since I was involved in the proofreading and editing of scientific articles, preparation of brochures and handbooks, collation of grant proposals and grant reports, translation of scientific documents, management of web content and maintenance and updating of websites, among other things. The power of words, and fitting the right word in the right context, is what I truly find fascinating and challenging and what I find I am best at.


As for character

My scientific training (MSc and PhD) has encouraged my meticulousness and discipline, but has also equipped me with flexibility and problem-solving abilities as well as independent thinking, autonomy in the management of my work and ability to meet deadlines: qualities that have turned useful in my professional collaborations as well as in my work as a freelancer. When I accept a project I take it very seriously; I try to understand and meet your needs as much as I can and will do all my best to make you happy with my work. Please feel free to send me any document you need to be translated or edited even if you feel that it is far from my field of work (see Areas of Expertise for more details). I love new challenges but will always be honest with you and advise you to choose another professional service if I feel that I am not able to satisfy your needs to the best of my possibilities.