Incubator Stories: Meet bjarkehs and runem

This week, we'd like to introduce you to two moderators from the Danish for English speakers incubator team, bjarkehs and runem.

Thanks to these two community members and the entire Incubator community for helping bring free language education to the world!

<h1>Meet bjarkehs</h1>

Moderator for the Danish for English speakers course

What country and city are you living in? Aalborg, Denmark

What are your interests? Where do you work? I recently got my software engineering degree, but in my spare time I love to run and play video games.

What's your native language? Danish, the best language on earth, obviously.

What languages do you know? Well, for starters I know Danish, but other than that I speak English at the level of a native speaker. I can understand and read most German, but I’m struggling with speaking it myself since it has been so long. I can understand written and spoken Swedish and Norwegian, though the spoken is only if they don’t speak too fast. Other than that I am learning Spanish, and know a little French.

What is in your toolbag for translating on the Incubator? Whenever I sit and start to translate I turn on Spotify. It is one of the most important things to me. I work best when I can scream out lyrics at the same time. We have made a channel on Soundrop so the team can listen to music together. This provides a more social aspect to the translating, which I find great. Other than that I use the official resources about the Danish language such as “Det Danske Sprognævn”, but I also use this wonderful site called, which has basically all words in the Danish language along with their conjugations. Danish is constantly evolving, so things I learned how to spell 10 years ago can now be spelled differently. So all in all I have my dictionary and my music, and some refreshments, and then my wonderful team, because they make it enjoyable to work several hours at a time.

When do you translate on the Incubator? When we first started I was preparing my master thesis defense, but I still managed to translate from around 18:00 to around 02:00 every night. Now that I have defended my master thesis and have plenty of time I am really just translating whenever I am awake and don't have social obligations, though my prime time is during the evening. I usually spend at least 3-4 hours a day on translating. My team says I have an unhealthy relationship with the Incubator, but I disagree.

What's your greatest language related accomplishment? My greatest achievement? I have too many to even start sorting them. I am kidding, but I think my greatest achievement was that I managed to study abroad in the US last fall. On this study abroad I did well in classes, but I also spoke English in a way that fooled some of them for at least for a few minutes. Before that I think my greatest achievement was that I had read of all of the Harry Potter books in English before even reading the Danish versions.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about yourself with the rest of the community? Well, I figured I should probably tell you guys why I have been working so hard on the Incubator ever since it came up. On my study abroad I met this amazing girl, but the problem is that she is not good at Danish and I don't blame her. There are so few good resources out there for people who are starting to learn Danish. Therefore I have been beyond motivated to make this course. It is no secret that even though I really want to provide the course for all you guys, then she is the reason I am putting in so many hours every day, because I want to give her the best opportunity to learn Danish, which I think is through Duolingo. Also, I am a very friendly person in general, so if you are ever interested in a talk about anything, then you can probably find a way to reach me. Peace out! Oh and... Hi mom and dad!

<h1>Meet runem</h1>

Moderator for the Danish for English speakers course

What country and city are you living in? Just moved a few weeks ago from Venice, Italy to Imola, Italy. Originally I'm from Copenhagen, Denmark, but after graduating I moved here to live with my girlfriend-now-fiancée :)

What are your interests? Where do you work? I'm a software engineer working from home in Italy for a company in Denmark. In my free time I love to read, eat, or do more software projects! On my vacations I sometimes get a chance to hike, which I also like very much.

What's your native language? Danish

What languages do you know? English, and a fair bit of Italian by now. I studied French and Spanish too, but they never really took hold.

What is in your toolbag for translating on the Incubator? Various online resources, such as Danish-English dictionaries that give out a few free look-ups per day as I find these to be the most reliable, containing usage notes etc. One free website,, however, is extremely useful for looking up details about Danish words and their use and I would recommend that to any budding student of Danish. I haven't touched a physical dictionary since I studied Spanish in high-school, which is probably a work related injury from doing what I do, and also they would have been a pain to drag in my suitcase from Denmark to Italy :)

The most useful resource is probably the team I'm in, though, as we often discuss sentences and help each other out if one of us gets tunnel vision on a word and can't see what's wrong or right. Mostly we just have an absolutely ridiculous amount of fun with each other, which is a really strong motivation for logging on in the first place.

When do you translate on the Incubator? Whenever I have a moment of free time, which is not as often as I would like, since I work all day and also need to do other things such as eat and sleep ;) I'm also worried about getting the square eyes my mom always said I would get if I stared at a computer screen all day, so I try to do other things as well. Luckily, these days, there are many other types of screens to stare at! Sometimes I log on even when I'm doing other things, just to hang out in the chat, and try to help out whomever is currently online. My own time for actively translating is mostly in the evening.

What's your greatest language related accomplishment? Probably this would have to be learning enough Italian, without any formal training, to be able to follow theater plays and movies in the native language down here in Italy. Although my fiancée is frustrated I don't speak enough, in Italian, I think I've come pretty far -- thank you Duolingo! (And various other materials... I just read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in Italian :D)

Is there anything else you'd like to share about yourself with the rest of the community? My team rocks! I definitely would not spend as much time here, if it weren't for the amazing fun we're having. Even though I think it's a bit unfair that Duolingo has paired me with what must be a robot, judging from all the sentences he spits out everyday! It seems to have been developing a slight sense of superiority, also, which may or may not be evident from the interview accompanying mine here. I'm unsure of whether to report this as a bug to Duolingo. I'm kidding of course-- And I hope everyone else on the Incubator has as much fun as we do. It certainly seems so! :D

In closing, I've been extremely surprised by the apparent interest to learn Danish coming from people on the forums here. Very cool, and very motivating! Thank you all for your kind words, I hope we won't disappoint :)

To get involved in the Incubator apply here:

Did you miss previous Incubator Stories? Get caught up here: Meet johanneswilm & yonoleo, Meet KaiEngle & Wilvandal, Meet jitengore and Damascene, Meet Selcen_Ozturk and Lavinae, Meet Frankyska and Meet Sofiadcs and Rhynn.

June 27, 2014


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