Written on 19 April, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many sectors over the past 12 months, and the translation industry is no exception to this.

Like many companies, Surrey Translation Bureau’s usually office-based staff have had to make the switch to remote working. In addition to changing the way we go about our day-to-day work, STB has had to take a new approach to maintaining its commitment to CPD (Continuing Professional Development), despite the physical distance between employees.

This is something that has been echoed throughout the wider translation industry, with translation agencies and professional bodies standing together to continue to offer translators the opportunity to learn from each other and develop professionally. Let’s take a look at some of the virtual CPD opportunities that STB has contributed to, and taken advantage of, over the last year.

CPD offered by STB to the wider translation community



At STB, we are committed to giving back to the wider industry and sharing our knowledge with industry newcomers and established translators alike.

At the beginning of the year, we gave a virtual professionalisation talk for translation students at the University of Leeds, giving them an insight into working as an in-house translator, with a particular focus on practical skills.

STB also began a collaboration with the ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting) this year to provide a series of training videos for their new online shop. The Art of Formatting series is aimed at translators at all stages of their careers, who often work with uneditable files when translating. The four-part series is available both to ITI members and non-members, and gives an in-depth look at using Microsoft Word during file preparation. You can find the videos here.

In addition to providing resources for translators, we also shared our expertise with other businesses in the industry, with Hannah Stacey, Head of Operations, making project-specific contributions to ITI initiatives. This involved sessions via Zoom in which Hannah explained roles in the industry for the language service member ITI category.

Virtual CPD opportunities

As well as sharing our knowledge with others in the industry, STB continued to place a strong emphasis on CPD for our own employees. In October 2020, the project management team took part in a workshop on interpersonal communication skills via Zoom. “As well as needing to communicate effectively with our clients and freelance suppliers, it’s important to think about communication between colleagues too, especially as we can’t see each other face to face at the moment. This workshop reinforced how important it is to consider the way our written communication styles may impact others, and adapt them accordingly,” says Amey Higgon, Senior Project Manager.

Jasmine Stolk, Reviser at STB, attended the ‘Revision and self-revision’ workshop held by Brian Mossop through the ITI in February this year. The workshop allowed Jasmine to discuss different ideas and methods relating to revision with her peers in the industry.

To ensure STB is best equipped to deal with the ever-evolving business landscape, Hannah Stacey and Sales Manager, Craig Howell, took part in the Small Business Leadership Programme. “The Small Business Leadership Programme offered useful guidance on best practices for running a small business. It provided me with formal training in areas that I haven’t frequently been exposed to as Head of Operations, such as ‘Purpose and Brand’. I hugely valued the training on Finance as it gave me an improved overall awareness of the importance of financial visibility and forecasting. I would recommend the Small Business Leadership Programme to any small business manager or owner,” comments Hannah.

Internal training

In addition to finding CPD opportunities from external sources, we started new training initiatives internally, to share expertise throughout our team. Chloe Jones, Translation Team Leader, runs a Translation Surgery – a virtual training session held every other month that focuses on improving the quality of our written English and developing tips and strategies that we can apply in our work. These sessions give colleagues the chance to talk over their linguistic suggestions.

Our team leaders, translation and PM teams have also undertaken internal training on post-editing service-specific guidelines, in line with the new ISO 18587:2017 standard that STB attained. The teams also received further training on Plunet, our translation management system, as part of our constant efforts to improve our operational efficiency.

By coming together as an industry to provide these opportunities over the last year, those working in translation have been able to continue developing professional skills despite the obstacles presented by the pandemic. This not only helps individuals become better at their jobs, but ensures high standards are upheld across the translation industry as a whole.

Written by Amey Higgon