Tag Archives: conference

ELIA conference in Barcelona – in it together!


A picture of Barcelona, where the Elia Together Conference 2015 was held


This February, two of our staff attended the Elia together conference in the beautiful city of Barcelona. Our STB jet-setters were Hannah Stacey, Head of Translation Operations, and Nicola Porter, Senior Translation Project Manager. Surrey Translation Bureau is a member of Elia, the European Language Industry Association. Elia is an organisation which encourages relationships between businesses and promotes ethics and quality standards in the translation industry. Hannah and Nicola had been looking forward to the Elia together event for some time because the conference focused on positive freelancer-agency relationships. At STB, we place great importance on building good working relationships with our freelancer translators as well as our clients. These relationships help us to continue delivering consistently good translations.

The conference programme lived up to our high expectations. It was divided into three sections: relationships, growth and technology, within the conference’s theme ‘Developing our Connections’. We predominantly attended the ‘relationships’ talks and were eager to see what our peers had to tell us. The over-arching theme was that translation agencies and freelancers are stronger when working together – we couldn’t agree more! We learned a few freelancer bugbears, which confirmed that we’re doing a lot right. Namely, we listen to our translators’ and clients’ needs.

Over the course of the talks, we heard the role of the project manager at a translation agency being described as a sponge – ready to soak up any potential stress from both the client and the translator to ensure the translation project goes smoothly. That’s certainly true and our project managers will definitely appreciate the acknowledgement! Since all our project managers at Surrey Translation Bureau have a highly-qualified linguistic background, we are able to see both sides of the freelancer-translation agency coin. We’re always looking for how we can improve upon what we offer our freelancers and our clients with our strong production team.

Robert Sette’s talk entitled ‘Keys to effective relationships between agencies and freelance translators’ was of real interest to us. Robert reminded us about the importance of taking cultural differences into account which can affect a working relationship. These include the pace of work expected in different countries or simply working hours and differing time zones.

We also thoroughly enjoyed Andrew Morris and Lloyd Bingham discuss not airing your dirty laundry on social media with their talk ‘Mind the gap: overcoming strife in the translation industry’, which covered upholding professionalism in the industry and promoting a positive industry image. As a Corporate Member of the ITI (Institute of Translation & Interpreting), we, like our freelancers, adhere to their code of professional conduct, which not only covers honesty and integrity, but also client confidentiality and trust – vital elements of our agreements with our clients.

Lastly, Karen Tkacyk told us what high-end successful freelancers want to see from their agency clients. We were pleased to hear that we are already practising a lot of Karen’s advice. However, we made a few notes on things we can improve or consider further.

One important point Karen made is to make sure that everyone in the translation chain – the client, the translation agency and the translator – knows what the purpose of the translation is. Without this clarification the translator cannot possibly deliver the right product for the client; Is the translation for publication in a magazine and hundreds of people will see the brand’s advertising campaign? Perhaps the document only needs translating to meet legal requirements and will only sit in a filing cabinet? Will the translation be used for a court case and the words chosen could affect the outcome? This information is essential to do a good job and deliver a translation that’s appropriate for the client. We will endeavour to convey the importance of this to our clients and pass this information onto our translators.

The conference also allowed us to do some networking with like-minded freelance translators and agencies and it was great to have the chance to talk to so many people who are on the same page! We hope that some of the new contacts we made will become long-lasting partners, whether in the role of a client or a freelance translator. We’re certainly looking forward to it!


Would you like to know more about our affiliation with Elia or the ITI? Please feel free to drop us a line at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you!

Translating Europe Forum – journey from Language Enthusiasts to Young Professionals

The end of October marked the second annual Translating Europe forum at the European Commission in Brussels. The event was organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation, Rytis Martikonis. Their objective was to bring young people in translation together and empower them to discuss ideas, projects, experiences and new approaches to translation.


Resource Manager, Allison, outside the European Commission
Resource Manager, Allison, outside the European Commission

The Translating Europe conference began on Thursday morning when motivational speaker and coach, Joy Ogeh-Huttfield (Joy Transformation), woke everyone up with her dynamic and fun presentation about having a vision and accomplishing personal goals. She told us to think outside the box, to raise our standards and to have a purpose. What better way to inspire young translators than to help them visualise their success?


Other topics discussed at the various panel-style presentations ranged from the translation of video games and multilingual app development, to localisation at Google, but the topic that seemed to resonate most with those in attendance was the ‘translation skills gap’. Seminars such as ‘Training translators in a changing world’ and ‘A Translator’s Palette of skills for the 21st Century’ discussed this topic. The seminars considered reasons why new translators might feel undertrained after completing their Master’s degree and proposed solutions to the problem.


You might be asking yourself, ‘What is this gap, and where did it come from?’. This ‘translation skills gap’ that many new translators experience occurs when they make the transition from full-time student to starting their career as a linguist. Emerging translators often admit to feeling underprepared for life as a professional freelancer and are left to figure things out on their own after graduation, not knowing how to specialise or where to begin. Just a few years ago, the best way to gain experience in the translation industry was to seek a position at an in-house translation department. There, new translators would hone their linguistic skills and build up experience in a specialist area. However, these coveted in-house positions are now few and far between.


So how can new translators gain the necessary skills to be successful in this industry? A common theme in the discussions following the panel presentations centred on the fact that young professionals entering the market tend not to lack the skills, but instead proper guidance within the industry. That is why traineeships and internships are playing an ever-increasing role in the career development of new translators.


Here at STB, we could not agree more with this sentiment. That’s why we piloted our university programme last year. It consists of a series of presentations to MA Translation Studies students around the UK. We talk to the students about how to find work with agencies and build a mutually beneficial professional relationship. We also started a six-week internship programme, giving interns experience in resource management, project management and translation and editing. We believe that a hands-on training approach paired with receiving constructive feedback is the best way for emerging translators to take the next step in their career and gain confidence in their skills.


The language industry is evolving at a rapid pace due to technology, so we must react and draw on our resources to prepare the next generation of translators and bridge the so called ‘translation skills gap’. It’s time for the translation industry and academia to collaborate so that we can provide emerging translators with the necessary skills to be successful in this industry.

Panelist, Miguel Severner, put it best during his presentation. “Let’s train the future generation of translators for the industry we want, not the industry we have.”


The Translating Europe Forum was an inspiring event for young translators. It was not only for young people, but created by young people, allowing them to talk openly about the issues they face when starting out in the industry, and also focus on the areas that are important to them like the benefits of branding and using social media, to name a few. There was even time for attendees to reflect on why they had become translators in the first place during an ‘I’m a translator because…’ tweet session, something that everyone enjoyed and felt very positive about!

This two-day conference concluded with a speech from the Director-General himself. He inspired all translators and interpreters to go forward in their career with confidence. I, for one, returned to Farnham (after a quick tour of Brussels!) feeling motivated to make positive contributions to the translation industry and to help the future generation of translators succeed!


Allison exploring Grand-Place, Brussels
Allison exploring Grand-Place, Brussels

If you would like to read more about the event, take a look at the #TranslatingEurope hashtag.


Inspired by Allison’s experience at the #TranslatingEurope Forum? Why not see what translation could do for you by requesting a quote from hello@surreytranslation.co.uk?