SIGONELLA, ITALY –
Angela Del Popolo loves languages, which helps in her job as a language specialist for the Region Legal Service Office Europe Africa Central
(RLSO EURAFCENT) Detachment Sigonella.
A native of Catania, Sicily, Del Popolo’s linguistic affinity began at a very young age.
“I was very little, only 3 years old, when I started showing interest in English,” she said. “My elder cousins were starting 6th grade, and I could read at the time because I was very interested in learning, so I started repeating the English words I heard from them to my parents. They provided support for me, and I learned Italian and English almost at the same time.”
She didn’t stop with just English, though.
“I can speak Italian, English, Spanish, French,” said Del Popolo. “I used to speak Chinese too, but after ten years without using it… It’s one of those languages you need to cultivate!”
Del Popolo is now a professional conference interpreter and translator who has worked with RLSO EURAFCENT Detachment Sigonella since Sept. 1, 2020.
“That’s the job of my dreams,” said Del Popolo. “This is what I wanted to do since I was very little.”
Del Popolo’s workdays involve a variety of tasks. She is the liaison between RLSO EURAFCENT Detachment Sigonella and the Italian immigration office, and she helps community members obtain their soggiorno permit, which is a necessary document for foreigners living in Italy. She also supports the base command and Naval Air Station Sigonella Commanding Officer Capt. Pickard in any translation needs.
Sometimes, that means staying in the office until the job is done.
“If at 4:30 I’m not finished with my article, I will work on it until it is finished because it must be completed,” said Del Popolo. “If it must be done, it means there is a real need.”
“It’s very busy,” she added. “You don’t get bored!”
In her short time in Sigonella, Del Popolo has made a strong impression on her supervisors.
“Angela stands out due to her unrelenting work ethic, dedication to her craft as a translator, and team first attitude,” said Lt. Joseph Vellon, judge advocate at RLSO EURAFCENT Detachment Sigonella. “She’s done an outstanding job for us during the last year, and we wish there was a way to keep her onboard. She definitely deserves the spotlight and to be recognized for her work!”
Cmdr. Gregory Manz agrees.
“Angela was instrumental earlier this year in helping NASSIG successfully prevent a local judicial officer from conducting an improper seizure of goods from the Navy Exchange and Commissary,” he said. “In doing so, she helped the United States protect its sovereign interests and directly contributed to the uninterrupted operations of these key facilities.”
Even with the rigorous demands of her job, Del Popolo has continued with her language studies.
“My motto is you never end learning, up to the last minute of your life, and you must be grateful for that when you have a chance,” she said.