Tag Archives: Elia

Keeping on top of translation industry trends: our team at elia events in Europe


Our team have been busy jetsetting over the last few weeks in association with one of our professional memberships, elia (the European Language Industry Association). First our Project Manager, Amey Higgon, hotfooted it to Porto in Portugal for some professional networking with other project managers and then our Senior Compliance Officer and Project Manager, Ruth Parkin, waltzed over to Vienna to exchange perspectives on the latest translation industry trends.


Amey Higgon


Amey Higgon (pictured above), NDfocus Porto 2018: focus on project management

The elia NDfocus event in sunny Porto was specifically tailored to project managers, and it was a great opportunity to meet other PMs in the industry.

The conference was split into two parts, with presentations given on the first day, and the second day reserved for group workshops in which we discussed the speakers’ points in more detail in small groups. The presentations gave insight into a variety of topics, including addressing client concerns and workflow bottlenecks, how to be more assertive in everyday interactions and how to make sure every client receives a tailored service, just for them.


I gained invaluable advice from my peers as we all chipped in to try and solve a range of scenarios. Through workshop discussions and chats during coffee breaks, I found that even though the translation agencies that the other attendees work for vary greatly in both size and location, we all encounter similar issues every day at work – this event was an excellent way for us all to share our knowledge and tried-and-tested solutions with each other.


I particularly enjoyed the keynote speech on the future of the industry by Tucker Johnson. As we quickly found out, Tucker is no futurist and could not predict exactly what will happen in the world of translation. What he could do however was provide us with tips on how best to adapt to whatever comes next. After all, we don’t have control over what will happen with the industry, what matters is how we react to it.


Ruth Parkin, NDVienna 2018

Earlier this month, elia celebrated its 22nd ‘Networking Days’ event in Vienna, where language industry experts and language service providers alike came together to share their knowledge through presentations and discussions with the goal of expanding and building on their networks.


The event takes place every October over two days and this year the event was divided across six tracks: IT, business success stories, GDPR, soft skills, interpreting and business strategies. This year’s programme was specifically designed to address a range of business challenges, allowing delegates the opportunity to gain a fresh perspective on the ever-changing translation industry. With so much on offer, reaching a decision on which talks to attend could prove quite the challenge for some; however, as Compliance Officer here at STB, it made sense for me to follow the GDPR track.


SDL’s Sabina Jasinska (pictured below) presented on ‘Digital marketing in the time of GDPR and ePrivacy regulations’. Sabina was an engaging speaker and it was great to see that STB is on the same page as an industry giant when it comes to compliance with data protection regulations.


Sabina Jasinska


As well as the welcome reassurance that we are doing things right, I also enjoyed putting my networking skills to the test, rubbing shoulders with several of the industry’s key players, but also learning how strategic planning may be key in growing STB and its future. Watch out world, here we come!

If you’d like to hear more about our membership of elia, these specific events, or our range of professional translation services, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via hello@surreytranslation.co.uk.


Two heads are better than one


Hannah Stacey, our Head of Translation Operations, gives her account of working side-by-side to create a successful translation agency partnership.


Translation collaboration


How long have you been managing accounts for other translation agencies?

Since joining the company in 2009, I’ve been working hands-on with other translation agencies, all of whom have different ways of working. Adapting our workflow to suit the individual needs of different agencies has become a specialism of mine, and it keeps the project management team on their toes!

My very first client was a friendly yet fast-paced Austrian-based agency. Their end clients needed translations completed to a very high standard by native English translators and revisers based in the target language country, turned around in a tight time-frame, following strict quality control measures. I embraced this challenge and developed an extremely productive relationship with them, swiftly becoming their biggest supplier for translations into English. I now take an account management role with them, with two full-time project managers working at Surrey Translation Bureau managing their daily – even hourly! – requests.


What makes a successful agency partnership?

Right from the get-go I think it’s important to recognise that you and your agency partner are working towards the same goal – to meet the end client’s needs. Make the end client happy and everybody’s happy: it means more work, more money and ultimately a more lucrative working relationship for everybody. To achieve this, everyone involved in the collaboration needs to be working from the same page, but managing that is a challenge!


In my case, I started out by really getting to know who I was working with – asking how their day was going and about their weekend plans; general chitchat. Sometimes there wasn’t much time for a catch up and it was always job first, chat second, but myself and my client’s project managers tried to make time for it. Using this method, you slowly but surely learn more and more about one another, which makes working together more enjoyable and you really feel like you’re tackling projects together. Before you knew it, you’ve gained a whole new set of colleagues!


What do you, as a translation agency, have to offer that freelancers can’t?

There are huge advantages to developing a strong agency-agency partnership: agency clients immediately broaden their pool of linguists, range of language combinations on offer, expertise, tech know-how and access to different CAT tools and potential workflows. A problem shared is a problem halved – so why not share with an entire team?! When you collaborate with an agency partner, you instantly gain a lot more heads to put together for finding the best solutions to meet your client’s needs. Two heads are better than one, after all.


What’s the risk in treating an agency client like a partner?

A client, whether agency or end client, always wants and needs to feel like they’re in charge – and they are, of course. That said, they also need to know you have things under control. Make sure clients, agency or otherwise, are kept in the loop; lapses in communication just aren’t acceptable when working with a busy translation agency. Keep in touch and make sure you are always respectful of the fact that, although you are partners in your common goal, your agency client is still king.


How do you maintain such a relationship?

In my experience you have to be honest – and continue to deliver, of course! All agencies know that things can go wrong: the file type might not run through your software or a translator might have a personal emergency. How you deal with these situations as a project manager is what secures your relationship with your agency client. Be honest about potential shortfalls, but offer solutions. I’ve always maintained the approach that, as long as I keep my clients up-to-date and provide them with ways we can proceed rather than problems for them to solve, ultimately we will reach our goal, together.


At Surrey Translation Bureau we’re lucky to not have much red tape and to be flexible to our client’s needs, often a huge advantage to larger agencies! If you are a translation agency that is looking for a reliable, hard-working translation agency partner, please get in touch via hello@surreytranslation.co.uk. Hannah will also be at elia Together in Athens later this month.

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!