Meet Ivan Belovolov - Language Team Lead at TELUS International AI Data Solutions
Looking for a job in a foreign country can seem daunting for some of us, especially when we don’t speak the local language. Marta Dansó Llaquet, Talent Acquisition Specialist, interviewed Ivan Belovolov for Barcelona Expat Life about his experience.
How did you know you wanted to work in Barcelona?
I had always been interested in working abroad. I wanted to explore other markets and get different experiences that I could potentially apply afterward in the company where I worked. Getting an MBA was the first step on that journey. I was never in doubt about where I wanted to move.
Spain had always been my first and favorite option, and I had already studied Spanish for three years. I was about to get my residence cards. So, one evening after a tough work day, I said: it’s time. If you don’t move now, you will never do it.
What was it like once you arrived in Barcelona?
The hardest part was finding an apartment. I guess that is the case for many expats. It did not take me long, though, to find one, just five sleepless nights on the couch of my friend’s apartment. The deposit for the apartment was high. I did not want to share a space with someone else, so I was looking for a whole apartment to rent. For first-year students, the conditions of renting an apartment are harsh. I rented out one of the rooms to someone else to cover some of the expenses that I had. Barcelona is a city where the suburbs are well connected to the city center. The place I found was only 500 meters from the beach and five minutes away from the mountains. I would take my dogs to the mountains every day for a walk. There I was able to unwind and get away from the city center’s busyness and work life.
How soon after you moved to Barcelona were you able to start working? How was the job-seeking experience in general?
The week after I had moved into my apartment, I had already started my studies at ESADE Business School. Looking for a job wasn’t a priority of mine yet. I thought that I could put this off for a while and that I would enjoy having a lot of free time and use that time to adapt to my new surroundings. I still consider this to be a big mistake.
I went through my savings quickly, and it turned out that my work experience from my time in Russia was not of value to companies here; however, the fact that my mother tongue is Russian was. There are a lot of entry positions available for Russian-speaking expats in BCN. These jobs get you enough money to cover the bills while enjoying life in the sun and living in a vibrant city. So, I had decided not to waste my time by waiting around for my dream job to find me. So, I put myself out there and found it myself.
When did you join TELUS International and what position did you start in?
In December of 2019. My friend sent my CV to the project manager. Referral programs work very well here. It’s the easiest way to find a job. When you refer someone who is a suitable match for the company, the company will compensate you. So that is also a nice plus!
What is your current role and how did you find out about it?
I have recently been promoted to team leader of the language team. I applied for this position twice but was not selected at first. I thought to myself; that there is a right time for everything. I had never worked remotely before. I felt that face-to-face communication was vital in building a team and creating a good work dynamic. However, once I became team leader last February, most of the team was still working from home. So I had no other option but to accept the challenge of managing this team and support them in their hybrid work method. It taught me a lot about how to become a great remote manager.
Why is there a need for a multicultural background in TELUS International?
I have always been very interested in how businesses are run in different countries. My passion for international business is also one of the reasons why I moved abroad. I worked at big multinational companies for about thirteen years. I was able to meet colleagues from all over the world and attend global events. Working in a multicultural environment was not new to me, but managing a multicultural team is different. I am currently in charge of the Russian, Arabic, and Turkish teams of Language Data Analysts. All teams are unique; therefore, a different management style and approach is required for each separate team. As a manager, I consider every team member a good friend. It does not matter what language you speak or where you are from; we’re all one big family at Telus.
What is a Language Data Analyst?
Data has become a significant part of each industry. It’s a new world that is developing very fast. If you have a linguistic, translation, or journalistic background, this position could be an excellent place to start, as it’s an entry-level role. The main task is linguistic annotation, and the goal is to improve Natural Language Processing, which is why everyone focuses on their native language.
After several years of working in digital marketing and sales, I thought about what could be the next step in my career. I did not expect to enter the Data Science world; it was a big surprise. Being a Language Data Analyst is to be a part of an Artificial Intelligence project. Once you step into this world of data, you will never stop learning new things. I have taken several coding courses and am currently doing a Data Science master’s. Working in this world of data creates a constant sense of growth and eagerness to keep up with all that is happening. Getting my master’s degree while also working is a great challenge that does not interfere with my work but more so supports it and helps me to be even better at my job!
About TELUS International AI Data Solutions
Creating and enhancing the world’s data to enable better AI via human intelligence.
We help companies test and improve machine learning models via our global AI Community of 1 million+ annotators and linguists. Our proprietary Ground Truth AI training platform handles all data types across 500+ languages and dialects. Our AI Data Solutions vastly enhance AI systems across a range of applications from advanced smart products, to better search results, to expanded speech recognition, to more human-like bot interactions and so much more.