"I spent four months in Spain and six months in Germany and the opportunity to use my language in both those countries was something I thought would be really valuable to improve my language skills."
Why Surrey and your course?
For me, it was the modules on the German and Spanish degree; I got to cover a wide range from translation all the way to cultural modules. So it was that diverse range that particularly attracted me. And also the placement year at Surrey was something that other universities weren’t offering. I spent four months in Spain and six months in Germany and the opportunity to use my language in both those countries was something I thought would be really valuable to improve my language skills.
My strongest memory was being part of the Equestrian Polo Club. I played a big role in that as I was president for a year and got a few programmes off the ground. It was being able to get involved in something outside of my course which gave me balance. I think that’s what Surrey has got so much to offer, there are so many different opportunities. That’s what I really valued at Surrey.
Best thing about your course?
My placement year: I think the fact that Surrey was really supportive in helping me find it. I think other universities say, “you want to do a placement, fine, but go find it yourself”. Whereas here, there was a lot more support at Surrey and our tutors had contacts with the right people. We were able to get our own placement independently, but we knew where to start. It was very much a supportive environment.
What do you do now and what’s most enjoyable about your job?
I am a translations manager, client relations manager and a qualified translator. The most enjoyable part for me as a translator is the diversity of texts that I work on. I work mainly from German into English and I work on a real range, from medical content, marketing content to technical engine content. It’s about seeing a wide range of things, and only when you’re doing it, you see, of course this needs to be translated so it’s valuable.
How did your course help you in your role?
We did a lot of translation modules, and it was something that I really enjoyed. Obviously, it is a very specific skill, it’s very a fine line and it takes a lot of practice and I think Surrey gave me that basis, that foundation to work from to gain that skill. Everyone works in different ways, every translator has their own way of translating and the group discussion format that Surrey uses allows you to gain that confidence in your translation. It gives you the opportunity to discuss and bounce off your ideas, as well, which is so valuable because half the way you learn translation is from other people, everyone has their own ideas so you just take bits from what you learn and keep it in your glossary and you use it later.
What is your advice to students who want to work in your profession?
Being a translator, it can be lonely because a lot of the work you do, you only really talk to clients. I work at an agency, so I have my colleagues but it’s all about how you come across to the clients, because the clients are paying your salary. So, I think, be personable, engage and be willing to work, but I also think get as much experience as you can. You can do a lot of translation bits online, there are courses you can do online post-bachelors degree, that can make you stand out from the rest. It’s hard when you come out of university as a translator because you really need to get that experience to prove your skill, so don’t be afraid to put your name out there, get on LinkedIn and the more experience you can get the better.