Hello. My name is Meti Adianti Subarja, and I am a Korean interpreter at the Krakatau POSCO coke plant in Indonesia. I joined the company in 2018, and now, six years into my career, I reflect on the initial days. The unfamiliar environment was intimidating, but I adapted well, thanks to my leaders’ and colleagues’ support. Last year, I was honored as an excellent member in our foreign subsidiary and visited Korea for the first time through the Global P.A.L.* program, a dream come true. Let me share my life at Krakatau POSCO (hereafter PT.KP), where I strive to create positive changes with a ‘can-do’ attitude.
*Global PAL: A unique educational program to enhance Pride, Appreciation, and Loyalty among talented individuals in POSCO Group’s overseas subsidiaries.
Friday, September 16, 2019, is a day I’ll never forget – the day I became a regular employee at PT.KP. HR asked me to bring my favorite pen. Puzzled, I went with my usual pen and was handed the official employment contract. Holding back tears of joy, I signed my first full-time employment contract.
For someone like me, who had never been abroad, to learn the language of a country I had never visited and to secure a position in a global corporation – it truly felt like a miracle had occurred. Most importantly, having grown up in a challenging family situation, the fact that I secured a stable job and escaped an uncertain life filled me with immense gratitude. Signing that contract and stepping out of the office, I immediately called my mother. Hearing her joyous voice, I couldn’t hold back my tears anymore. Recalling that moment brings emotions to the surface, serving as a beacon during tough times.
The highlight of my journey was my first visit to Korea last November after I had been honored as an excellent member in the Global P.A.L. program. I never imagined being selected for such an honor. I enjoyed my work, feeling grateful for the environment that allowed me to challenge and grow. The reality of visiting Korea, a long-held dream, felt surreal until I boarded the plane.
During my five-day stay in Korea, I visited the Pohang Steelworks and immersed myself in various Korean cultural experiences, creating precious memories with my colleagues. The visit to POSCO left a deep impression on me with its massive infrastructure and rich history of steelmaking. The story of restoring the damages from Typhoon Hinnamnor in just 135 days, which I had read about in POSCO Today(POSCO Group’s in-house communication chaneel), resonated more deeply when I saw the recovery photos on-site.
During my stay, I also had the opportunity to wear traditional Korean Hanbok and visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace. It felt like stepping into the shoes of a protagonist from Korean history. It reminded me of ‘Jewel in the Palace,’ my first historical drama.
Though it was a brief visit, the memories of Korea remain vivid. I want to take this moment to express my gratitude to the POSCO Group for granting me this cherished opportunity to visit Korea. Visiting POSCO and the Future M plant in Korea and witnessing the dedication and effort that transformed a barren land into a major corporation was profoundly inspiring. These emotions will be treasured as I excel in my interpreting role at PT.KP, contributing to its notable achievements.
As an interpreter, my role bridges the linguistic gap between Korean staff and local employees, often mitigating misunderstandings. Given the nature of our local subsidiary, expatriates face challenges in communicating in Indonesian, and local staff aren’t typically fluent in Korean or English. Hence, there is a need for interpreters like me. It’s not just about translating words; it involves understanding the context and ensuring accurate communication. This requires a grasp of the language and a deep understanding of cultural nuances and technical terminology.
Especially with technical terms, understanding the operational processes is crucial. There were times when I realized my limitations while communicating complex processes and thus dedicated myself to studying them. I recall an early incident in my career when the plant manager said, ‘Let’s go to the Yeonju (연주).’ I followed, wondering why there were no musicians or dancers, as I thought ‘Yeonju’ meant a performance. It turned out to be the Continuous Casting section of the steelmaking department. It’s a funny story now, but it was quite a confusing experience back then.
It’s been 15 years since I started learning Korean in 2009. I’m continually studying to enhance my proficiency for smoother communication. Keeping up with trends is essential, too! I actively follow social media and watch dramas and variety shows on Netflix to quickly pick up on new Korean slang and idioms.
At PT.KP, we often mix Korean and Indonesian slang. For instance, I might tell an Indonesian global staff member, ‘Matjeomhae!’ (Enjoy your lunch!) during lunchtime, or ask the plant manager on a Friday morning, ‘Do you have any fun plans for bulgeum (exciting Friday)?’ Conversely, the plant manager might say to us, ‘Semuanya markipul, samjube,’ a mix of Indonesian phrases meaning ‘Let’s all go home now, see you tomorrow.’ Our plant manager has quite a sense of humor! Such expressions contribute to a harmonious office atmosphere.
In my five years as an interpreter, I owe my growth to the unwavering support of my colleagues and leaders in the Coke Plant Equipment team. In my early days, like wandering in a maze, I grappled daily with unfamiliar field jargon and administrative duties. Their patience and encouragement, never rushing or pressuring me, enabled my development. My gratitude towards all the leaders in the Coke Equipment team is profound and beyond words.
Observing the leaders tackle challenges head-on has been instrumental in shaping my values around leadership and mentorship in the workplace. I intend to generously share the invaluable wisdom and skills I’ve learned from them. To all my mentors, thank you!
As an ENFP in the Myers-Briggs typology, I draw energy from social interactions. Yet, intriguingly, my hobbies are the polar opposite. I relish solitary pursuits like cooking, video editing, and drawing.
Preparing meals for loved ones, setting the table, and seeing everyone enjoy the food fills me with immense joy. Video editing, another passion, is a creative endeavor that melds moments into a visual narrative. It’s a process that allows me to reflect on my experiences and reminds me of the happiness in my life, fostering gratitude for the everyday.