Tag Archives: translation agency

Celebrating 10 years at Surrey Translation Bureau


Hannah Stacey


Our Head of Translation Operations, Hannah Stacey, has just reached a fantastic milestone at Surrey Translation Bureau, having been at the company for 10 years! With August being Women in Translation month, we take this opportunity to ask her about her career growth, her thoughts on industry changes and if she had any secrets for success…


I: Thanks for your time, Hannah. Let’s start from the beginning. What prompted you to join the translation industry?


Entering into the language industry was an easy choice for me – from the word go I was fascinated by other languages and puzzle-solving: I think the geek in me always saw translation as code-cracking! Pure enjoyment of modern languages at school led to a BA in French and Italian with German on the side. My BA had some elements of translation, but I didn’t really have a clue on what the translation industry had to offer. I spent a year working in Sydney and fell into a role translating documents on Venetian Renaissance architecture for a Faculty Dean. I loved the combination of research and study, and using my language skills in that way was both motivating and challenging. That led to my signing up for more study and an MA in Translation and Linguistics at Westminster. From there I would have taken any job with languages offered to me. Lucky for me that job was here, as a Project Manager at Surrey Translation Bureau back in 2009.


I: But that’s not your role now…


No, I worked from the ground up, although when I joined the Company there were just three PMs (now 9) so the Company and I have grown and evolved together. From project management I forged the resource management role (now team), before becoming what would equate to our Head of Project Management now. Since 2013 I’ve been in my current role as Head of Translation Operations, managing day-to-day operations of the Company related to our translation output.


I: So, what has been your biggest professional challenge?


Remaining ambitious and maintaining drive – you have to be patient in a small business environment! Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say and spreading out expenditure plays a huge part in strategic decisions. Likewise, decisions carry a lot of risk; for the Company and for the team members themselves; making them isn’t always easy when you work metres from each other.


I: And your experience as a woman in the translation industry?


My experience has always been that women are in the majority in the language industry and as such I’ve never felt like my personal development, growth, position or place has been limited or threatened. That said, I haven’t ever felt that I needed to stand out to be heard, as I’ve never been afraid to say what’s on my mind or call others out if needed. What’s more, I think the industry as a whole is perfectly set up to complement the life of a working mum, what with freelancers choosing hours to suit, the ability to work around different time zones to match your working preferences, and remote work being so dominant. In returning to work from maternity leave I put together a proposal that worked for the Company and for me and my new priorities. I have heard awful stories about how women are mistreated in returning to work, but I’m pleased to say it has not been my personal experience. That said I’d advise any women to be prepared to fight for what they want from life and if they are in the right company, things will work for you.


Hannah and Chloe


I: What would you consider your biggest achievement professionally?


I’m not sure I could put my finger on one thing specifically, but when I attend freelancer-focussed events and our extended team tell us we’re doing something right, I’m pretty proud. There aren’t many translation agencies out there that see all translators as such a highly valued part of the production chain. Perhaps it’s because our Company make-up stems from qualified language degrees, or perhaps it’s our family-focussed management, either way, I think it makes us stand out from the crowd and I wouldn’t want it any other way.


I: Sounds like you have a great system! So, what’s on the cards for you next?


Surrey Translation Bureau is going from strength to strength and I intend to help embrace and consolidate that. This year we presented at the ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting) Conference on post-editing, won a Corporate Member award and implemented translation management software, Plunet BusinessManager, to streamline efficiency, so we have a lot to build on. We have our first ever international presentation coming up at Meet Central Europe in Prague in October and a rebrand in the making, so we have some aces up our sleeves. You could say we’ve stacked the deck for success!


I: Thank you so much Hannah, I wish you and the team success for all your future endeavours.


If you would like partner with a translation company that has an award-winning team of experienced, qualified and professional linguists, get in touch with us at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk or call +44 (0)1252 730014.

Surrey Translation Bureau attends translation industry conference, Elia Together 2018


Elia Together 2018



This year’s Together conference was most certainly one to remember. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Acropolis, language industry professionals gathered in Athens once again to start conversations and share knowledge under this year’s theme “Specialise to excel”.


Elia, the European Language Industry Association, prides itself on providing the industry’s largest event for both language service providers, like us, and independent language professionals. The conference provides a positive and open environment, promoting collaboration and putting faces to those all-important names.


STB’s Head of Translation Operations, Hannah Stacey, and Project Manager, Jessica Truelsen, were lucky enough to attend this year’s event in February and were not disappointed. The event offered the opportunity to consider the value of specialising within the industry, and also the challenge of considering that specialisation in the language industry does not have to be limited to a particular subject matter, but can also be a method of working or even an amount of work at which you excel.


Hannah and Jess at the Elia Together Conference 2018


We’re very proud that one of the talks that really stood out in this vein was given by ex-STB employee, Fiona Gray (pictured above between Hannah and Jessica, with another familiar face of the ex-STB family, Jonathan Wicks). She took a popular and commonplace industry topic and gave it a unique spin – “Sprint Training for Translators”. Her main theme was the discovery of her own bespoke specialism in short translations. Coupled with her fitness training outside of work, she managed to combine the two disciplines to discover that her ‘specialism’ – that is to say what she enjoys and excels at – was not based on subject matter as is often expected, but on the length of the task.


Networking opportunities are also a focus of the Elia Together conference. Regularly scheduled breaks enable clients and suppliers to meet business partners and discuss working relationships. STB most definitely took advantage of this focus and had many positive meetings with our wonderful clients, linguists and industry-specific software developers. We were able to consolidate existing relationships and bring new ideas to the table for our future endeavours.


Thank you to everyone who made our trip to Elia Together 2018 so rewarding. We hope to see all of you again very soon! #eliatogether


Interested in talking to our team about what we can help you make your specialism international? Then get in touch at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk.

How can professional translation agencies help manufacturers?

Two men working in a manufacturing factory

Language translation can help manufacturing companies take advantage of business opportunities in a global market. Here are some of the key ways that language translation can help businesses be successful in the field of manufacturing.

Written documents, digital and print, play an important role

The information contained in manufacturing documents is essential in ensuring business operations run smoothly and safely. When manufacturing companies do business in a global market, those involved may speak different languages, which can make it difficult for them to understand key documents.  Professional translation services ensure that all vital written information is translated in a manner that is both accurate and easy for all parties involved to understand. Examples of manufacturing documents that are often translated include equipment user manuals, training materials, HR documents, operating instructions for products and machinery, employee contracts and customer agreements.

Employee training materials

If manufacturers have non-English-speaking employees, translating employee training information is essential for ensuring that everyone at the company is productive and safe. It can also help to ensure that workers will use equipment with the highest possible degree of precision, and thereby improve production efficiency.

Foreign supplier management

Individual manufacturers may not have employees who work overseas, but it is likely that most will obtain equipment or materials from foreign suppliers. If so, language translation services can help manufacturers to communicate successfully with businesses that provide them with the supplies they need to operate. Translation allows manufacturers to build strong relationships with foreign suppliers and helps them work out the best financial deals.

Establishing an international presence

If manufacturers want to build a brand for their product or service across multiple international markets, they will need to translate their branding and marketing materials into many languages.  A professional translation agency can help ensure that all the information about their business is not only translated accurately, but also that it communicates the essence and aesthetic of their brand effectively in the context of a foreign culture.

At Surrey Translation Bureau, we have a vast amount of experience in the manufacturing sector, ranging from medical devices to automotive. Whatever your translation needs, we will hand pick the most suitable linguist for your requirements and work closely with them to ensure the best possible outcome for you.

If you would like more information about our professional business translation services click here. Email us on hello@surreytranslation.co.uk or call 01252730014 to discuss your translation requirements with us.

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.

Busted: 6 common misconceptions about finding a translation agency





Finding a translation agency that can help you to take your business global can seem overwhelming: where in the world are people going to be reading my documents? What languages do they speak? How can I know that my message is being conveyed accurately? Will the translator be able to post me my documents in time? What time is it there? What time is it here?!




Whoah there! Step away from the search engine. It doesn’t have to be difficult to find a translation partner – it’s actually quite simple! The perceived difficulties come as a result of a few common misconceptions. Today, we’d like to debunk a few that we sometimes hear from first-time translation buyers here at STB:




1. I should work with a translation agency based in the same geographical location as my company




Once upon a time, this would have been the case, but thanks to email and the internet, this is simply no longer a prerequisite. Nowadays, you can focus on finding a partner who fits your requirements best, no matter where in the world they live.




At Surrey Translation Bureau, our team of project managers are just an email or phone call away, ready and raring to take care of your translation project. They are well-equipped to do this, with a Masters degree in translation and many years’ experience in managing a whole range of translation projects.




Email and phone calls are a fantastic way to communicate, but we love meeting our clients in person too, and are always keen to do so and to learn more about what they do! We’re only an hour away from London by train, and we regularly attend trade fairs, conferences and business events across the UK, Europe and sometimes even further afield. We would be delighted to arrange a meeting and put a face to a name!




2. I need to translate documents into Chinese. I have to use a translation agency in China, right?




Not necessarily! You don’t need to work with a translation agency in the country where they speak the language you are looking to translate. In fact, it’s best to just find a partner who you can communicate well with, and let them do the heavy lifting when it comes to communicating your project to the translators. That partner might be in the country of your target audience, but they could just as easily be in your country – or neither!




Here at STB, we have an extensive, carefully developed database of translators across the globe. We cater for almost every language combination and specialisation, from aerodynamics through to zoology, and pretty much everything in between.




Many of our freelance translators live in the country where the language they translate is spoken. This means you benefit from excellent communication and customer service, while our expert, native translators handle your translations. The perfect combination!




3. I’m not sure I could work with a translation agency based in a different time zone




You can! Time zones can be confusing, but you don’t need a wall covered in clocks like a newsroom from the 80’s. As a UK-based translation agency, we run on GMT, and as such overlap with most time zones. Essentially, this means that in a working day, we can communicate with clients and translators based in other parts of the world with different time zones.




This time zone map shows just how well placed the UK is for communication across the globe. Our working day shares hours with both China and the West coast of the USA. As you move further away from the Meridian Line, this overlap moves too, making quick communication trickier.




4. I will have to send hard copies of the document I want to translate and receive hard copies of the translation back. That’s going to take days!




Only rarely; the vast majority of the projects we handle are digital documents, such as Microsoft Word or InDesign files. In an instant, we can download the files via email to give a quote. Once completed, it only takes another instant to deliver them back to you. A far cry from the days of pen, paper and post!




Of course, when clients need hard copies of documents, we can arrange for couriers to take your files wherever they need to go.




5. My project is important. I should send it to a big translation company.




Not necessarily. A smaller translation company might be a better fit for you than a huge corporation. Large translation companies have a lot of resources such as sites and employees. However, they can’t always guarantee that you’ll get the personal attention and detail that smaller, boutique agencies can offer. You might find that the guidance and expertise offered to you by a smaller agency is exactly what you need.




6. Can’t I just use an online translation app?




At your own risk! While handy for getting the gist of a sentence, machine translation still falls a long way short of professional translation. Your customers will instantly be able to tell the difference between a text handled by a professional, highly-trained native speaker and the garbled, automated output of a computer. Just search for “Google Translate fails” to find the millions of funny –  and sometimes very expensive –mistakes made by other companies. That’s not a list you want to be on!




So, finding a translation partner isn’t as difficult as all that after all! Have a read of our guide for first-time translation buyers if you’d like to learn more about ordering your first translation project, or get in touch with STB to talk through it with one of our team.




No matter where you are based, contact hello@surreytranslation.co.uk or call 01252730014 to see if we could be your go-to translation partner.