What’s in a Brand? Valentina Ambrogio from Rockstar Translations

Today I’m happy to publish an interview that I have been excited about for the past few weeks. This week’s special guest is none other than my lovely friend Valentina Ambrogio. Valentina is an English to Italian translator, subtitler and localizer based in Rome. She specializes in audiovisual translation and is both a freelancer, trading under the name of Rockstar Translations, and an in-house translator. When she’s not working, you can find her on Twitter or on Facebook.

Hi, Valentina! It’s a real pleasure to have you on my blog since I have been waiting for weeks for your website to be up and running. Now that it has been fully launched for a little while, let’s talk about your brand, shall we? Can you first tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi, Emeline, thank you for including Rockstar Translations in one of the most interesting series of the blogosphere! Let me introduce myself: I am a professional English to Italian translator, subtitler and localiser. I hold a BA in Translation and Interpreting Studies and a 1st Level Master Degree in Audiovisual Translation. After completing my studies, I started working as a freelancer. Living in Rome is not cheap though, so in December 2011 I accepted a job as in-house translator and proofreader. My main goal is still full-time freelancing. For this reason, almost one year ago, I decided to found Rockstar Translations and market my services under this name.


So Rockstar Translations… That’s not a common name, and if you ask me I find it very bold (not saying it’s negative, on the contrary)!  For those of us who know you, we know that Rockstar Translations totally fits you and your style. But was there a time in your brainstorming process when you thought about choosing a more serious and formal name for your business? If so, what changed? Was it easy to embrace that identity?

Well, yes. At the beginning, several names popped in my mind: some were pretty obvious choices like Valentina Ambrogio Translations, Ambrogio Valentina Translations – the latter being also very convenient since AVT stands for Audiovisual Translation. Perfect, right? I found it a bit boring though and someone else was already using it anyway.

My brainstorming process lasted almost three days. Realising that I needed to come up with a marketing plan was the positive development of a particularly rough time. I spent months questioning my life choices, including my job. I also considered giving everything up. But I am not a quitter! I have always aimed high and I could not let myself throw many years of hard work away. In that spirit I thought: “I want to succeed, I want to live the life I want, the way I want, I want to rock in what I do, I’m going to make it… like a rock star!” – and something just clicked! Besides, the word Rockstar is the combination of rock (representing strength and determination) and star (something bright, and shining).

Rockstar Translations is a statement, a reminder to myself. I am also a music lover and amateur guitarist, and I really like rock, punk and indie-rock music. Answering your last question: yes, it was quite easy. It represents who I am and who I want to be. I realise it is a very bold choice, especially here in Italy, where conventional and very formal approaches to work are not likely to disappear any time soon. So, go big or go home!


And why did you choose to go with this name in regards to your specializations?

I have always considered subtitling and localisation (especially video game localisation) to be very dynamic fields. Challenges are around every corner. No room for boredom.


Let’s talk about the logo. I might see too much into it (but I don’t think I am), but since I know you are a true Harry Potter fan, I see the thunderbolt as a reference to the series. Am I right? If so, what do you think it brings to the overall brand?

Rockstar Translations

You know me well, Emeline! Yes, it is also a reference to Harry Potter, which means a lot to me. (By the way, have you seen the name of my blog? The Translation Cauldron, obviously!) I chose the thunderbolt because I like what it represents: something strong and bright that you can barely ignore and leaves you in awe. I think it fits perfectly with what I want to convey with my overall brand. As you can see, the ideas of strength, brightness and determination come up pretty often.


What about the colors you chose? Any particular reasons?

 Black is my favourite colour and I liked this particular colour combination – it is eye-catching, but not too girlish.


And now for the traditional questions! We all know that branding is more than a name and a logo. If you had to choose three words to represent your brand, which ones would they be?

Ambitious – Demanding – Valentina.

My brand and logo tell my story. The name Valentina comes from the Latin word valens meaning “healthy, strong”, and this is what I want Rockstar Translations to be.


Finally, how do you manage to convey these aspects to your customers?

By just being myself. I am young, determined, but also very respectful, and this is how I deal with my customers. I do not believe in overly formal or overly informal contacts. I try to find a balance between those two also trying not to strike as shallow or unprofessional.

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