Tag Archives: career

Languages: Your window to the world


Over the past couple of months, Surrey Translation Bureau (STB) has had the opportunity to attend career days at two local schools: Alton School and Weydon School in Farnham. Pupils of all ages took part, with children as young as 10 right through to 18-year-olds coming up to our stall to ask about what we do here at STB.


Amey at STB career fair


With the number of school-age children studying languages falling (the BBC reports drops of between 30% and 50% in the number of students taking German and French since 2013) and universities around the country axing languages courses, STB is passionate about promoting the value of languages and emphasising the demand for employees with linguistic abilities.


At the two events, many of the students told us they weren’t sure what kind of career path studying languages might lead to, so we highlighted the variety of roles on offer in a translation agency and beyond. Aside from the option of becoming translators or interpreters, graduates with languages skills might also go into careers in project management, sales, marketing or account management.


This isn’t where languages roles stop either; while English may be one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world, increased globalisation means we now interact with people whose first language isn’t English on a much more regular basis. This, in turn, means that whatever careers this generation of young people choose to go into, having a language skill up their sleeve is only going to put them at an advantage. Let’s say a multinational accountancy firm was hiring a graduate accountant, the candidate who also speaks a second language will immediately stand out from the other candidates with qualifications purely in accountancy.


Speaking a second or third language is a huge plus not only for career development, but personal development as well. It provides more opportunities for travel, gives us the chance to interact with a much wider range of people and, perhaps most importantly, improves our intercultural communication skills. While school pupils are able to learn these skills by studying languages in the classroom, businesses can take advantage of them by hiring a translation agency like Surrey Translation Bureau. Our trained linguists will then not only accurately convey the meaning of a text in another language, but also make sure it is appropriate for the target audience.


If you work with other businesses around the world or are thinking of taking a leap into the global marketplace and want to be able to communicate effectively with your contacts, our team of qualified professional linguists is here to help with all your translation needs. Email us at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk or call 01252 730 014  


Written by Amey Higgon

Turning pro bono translation on its head


More often than not, inexperienced translators find themselves in a Catch-22 situation: they need to gain experience in order to get started in the industry but clients and/or agencies may be unwilling to allocate work to them as a result of their overall lack of translation expertise. So how can this cycle be broken? For newly qualified translators, carrying out pro bono translation work could be a good place to start. Organisations such as NGOs, international aid organisations or even local authorities often have this kind of work available for those finding themselves in such a predicament.


Voluntary translation can prove to be extremely rewarding for translators as they are given the opportunity to fly the flag for their chosen charitable organisation or cause whilst honing their translation skills. Similarly, pro bono translation allows aid organisations, both large and small, to tap into other countries’ markets and access a wider audience of potential donors – all at a reduced rate or, in some cases, free of charge.


The Rosetta Foundation is an organisation that will be familiar to all those seeking to kick-start their pro bono translation career. The organisation’s crowdsourcing platform ‘Translation Commons’ (trommons.org) essentially functions as an interface between non-profit organisations and volunteer translators from around the world.


Translators without borders


Another globally renowned non-profit organisation, Translators Without Borders, recently approached us at STB to take part in the ‘Simple Words for Health’ terminology project. This task involved several members of staff organising previously existing medical terminology in an English-language database in a way that was clear, functional and user-friendly for anyone wanting to access it a later date. A challenging, but rewarding assignment for those of us here in the office who took part.


Pro bono translation, however, is not without its drawbacks. Despite the good intentions of inexperienced translators wanting to do their bit for their chosen cause, it may prove more trouble than it is worth – both for them and for the organisations employing their services. There are occasions where the text in question requires a vast amount of subject-specific knowledge; for example, specialist medical/pharmaceutical knowledge may be required for translations carried out on behalf of the organisation Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders). This may lead generalists to struggle or feel out of their depth. If this is the case, the overall quality and reliability of the translation provided will, of course, be called into question. This is an issue that aid organisations should be made aware of and take into account for future translations as experienced specialist translators may not be prepared to take on large volumes of work for no fee.


If you want to find out more about our work with Translators Without Borders or need more information on pro bono translation, why not give us a call on 01252 733999 or email at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk

Super Project Managers Assemble!

When our Senior Project Manager and Translator Alison announced that she was expecting a baby last year, I didn’t know at the time that this would also mark the birth of an exciting new opportunity for me. As a member of the in-house translation team since April 2014, with an MA in Literary Translation and ample previous experience of proofreading translations, I had always defined myself exclusively as a translator. I just couldn’t see myself working in any other role. However, after some deliberation and consultation with my colleagues, I soon came to realise that this didn’t mean I couldn’t add project management to my repertoire. In the end, I made the decision to join the project managers to cover Alison’s maternity leave, convinced that it could be nothing but a positive move, with plenty of benefits all around.

With 18 months of in-house translation experience under my belt, I was able to embark upon the challenge of becoming a project manager with a comprehensive understanding of the entire translation process. I know first-hand what it means to be a translator and bring with me key transferable skills that include scheduling work, juggling multiple projects and working to strict deadlines. My previous industry experience also puts me in a particularly strong position when it comes to communicating with clients, as well as our extensive team of freelance translators and the members of the in-house translation team. With my direct insight into the different roles within the industry, I am able to confidently and knowledgeably answer any questions clients or suppliers alike may have about each and every stage of the translation process and ensure that everything runs smoothly from start to finish.

The really wonderful thing about my new role is that I still manage to fit plenty of German to English translations around my busy project management schedule. I also devote a large chunk of my working day to quality assurance. This includes revising and editing translations to ensure they are of the highest standards. Many of my clients are based in Germany and Austria, so I make use of my linguistic skills further in client communications. I am always happy to answer clients’ questions in German, whether they come by phone or email. I can quickly respond to specific queries relating to translation content, whether these come from clients or fellow translators. Broadening my experience of the stages of the translation process has certainly helped me to become a better translator myself.

Six months later and the boundary between translator and project manager has become increasingly blurred for me. Ultimately, it has merged into one challenging and fulfilling job role. I wonder if I could change my job title to something along the lines of Super Project Manager Translator…

My personal journey to discovering this rewarding combination role was one completed in clearly defined stages. However, all of our project managers are actually trained linguists with Masters degrees in translation. We are always keen to personally translate many languages including Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Finnish (and of course German!). Or at least, that is when we find time in our busy working days. With an incredible 35 years of project management experience between us and an in-depth understanding of every aspect of the translation process, you can rest assured that your translation projects will be in safe hands with Surrey Translation Bureau’s project management team.

If you have any questions about the translation process, our team of Super Project Managers will be delighted to help and advise you. Why not email us today at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk or give us a call on +44 (0) 1252 733 999. We look forward to hearing from you!