Students career advice, professional translators case studies
David Case Study
David Crawford is a Freelance Translator, Conference Interpreter, Registered Public Service Interpreter, and University Teacher of French and Translation.
After obtaining a BA (Hons) in International Business Studies and French, David worked as a personal assistant for the managing director of a film market research company in Soho, London. “I knew that I didn’t want to teach at the time but felt that teaching was my only option if I wanted to keep using my French. I had toyed with the idea of translation but had been told it was a lonely profession. Nevertheless, whilst I applied to different postgraduate programs in the UK, I learned a lot about market research which would become useful later on”.
After working in London for a year, David decided to return to higher education to further his studies, enrolling in a Masters in Translation and Interpreting. As part of the course, David undertook an interpreting internship at the United Nations in Vienna.
“Although it was challenging, I loved the course because I was learning constantly. I wasn’t sure what opportunities the Masters would lead to but over the course of the year I learned that freelancing wasn’t my only option”.
After graduating David worked as an in-house translator for a company in the fashion industry, but felt that he needed to work more closely with other translation professionals in order to learn more about the industry. He went on to work as a Project Manager for a translation company based in the North-West.
“I thought this would be the perfect experience to find out exactly how things worked, what was good practice and what agencies looked for in collaborators. The skills I learned whilst working as a PM were and still are indispensable to what I do now i.e. translation memory tools, accounting etc”
David is currently freelancing as a translator and interpreter, having also obtained a Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (Legal option). His areas of expertise are Market Research, Marketing, Business and Legal.
“I interpret for the courts, the police and other public sector organizations. The assignments are always very interesting. I also work as a volunteer interpreter for various causes, such as climate change, human rights, food sovereignty, and interpret at festivals and various other meetings”.
David also teaches French and Translation at the University of Liverpool.
“I didn’t think I would enjoy teaching but I love it! I’ve taken part in excellent initiatives such as Routes into Languages and delivered guest seminars at other universities in the UK. It’s great to be among other people who share a passion for languages”.
David continues to manage translation projects for direct clients and translates for a number of translation companies. He is currently learning Spanish.
“I can say that every workday is different. I’ve managed to combine three things that I love to do: use my languages, meet new and interesting people, and travel. I’m my own boss which means I can set my own pace and determine my workload”.
Saira Case Study
Saira is a professional translator and interpreter with a background in studying Languages and IT
Saira achieved Masters degree in Specialized Translation and Interpreting at the Estudio Sampere, School of Translators and Interpreters, in Madrid.
Her study background consists of a Bachelors Degree in Modern Languages and Linguistics at Nottingham Trent University. Here she read subjects such as Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, English and French, Sociolinguistics, Psycholinguists, Phonetics and TESOL, European Studies.
She also took part in the Erasmus Exchange Programme, and had the opportunity to study for six months in Versailles University of Paris (France), followed by six months in Carlos III University in Madrid.
Saira also developed her skills in Italian with an intensive Italian Language course at Instituto Dante Alighieri (Rome).
To improve her IT portfolio she obtained the SDL TRADOS 2007 Freelance certification.
“Having been brought up in a bilingual environment, attending a British School in Spain and an English University, I have always been exposed to both languages. My passion for interpreting and translating started during my time in the UN (Geneva) where I worked closely with interpreters of various languages. I was fascinated by their ability to work in the fast paced, stressful environment and the speed at which they interpret with such accuracy”.
“I was then immediately employed by Deloitte in the Transaction Advisory Services Department in Madrid as Head of Translation, where I oversee the translation of all business documents (Spanish, English and French) for both the Madrid and Barcelona offices”.
Specifically at Deloitte, Saira is assisting members of the T.A.S. department in Madrid and Barcelona with the translation of financial, economical and legal reports, engagement letters, contracts, real estate, valuations, business models, restructuring and forensic reports, as well as translating CVs and presentations.
She also works at the Deloitte web portal, translating official documents from Spanish into English, and occasionally French. She is responsible of training, coordinating, supervising and interviewing new interns. Her diverse role includes interpreting meetings, conferences, and calls into English.
Klemen Case Study
Klemen Perko is a freelance translator from Slovenia with a university
degree in Translation Studies
My first contact with a foreign language was during a summer on holiday
on the Adriatic coast with my parents. I was 5 back then and insisted my mother
teach me how to read Cyrillic and some basic Serbo-Croatian so that I could read
my favourite comic book, which was only available in the Serbian edition at the
local news stand
I knew I wanted to become a translator at a very young age. I was quite
a bookworm at the time, and I was always engrossed in a youth fiction novel.
It fascinated me just how skillful a person must be to get meaning and images
across using just language.
Therefore, I started learning English at the age of 8 and German at
13, and was able to improve in both languages throughout my formal
education and during my several stays abroad, be it in the UK, Germany, Austria
and other European countries.
During my studies, I achieved a Bachelor Degree at the
Department of Translation at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia,
majoring in English and German. The programme included a large
number of practical translation courses and gave a general insight into a number
of fields, e.g. government and EU affairs, literature, law, and a wide range of
I spent a semester as an exchange student in Tampere,
Finland, where I took the opportunity to learn Finnish. Later I enrolled on a
Masters programme of Conference Interpreting at the University of Ljubljana b>, which I shall finish shortly.
My first steps towards a professional translation career have been as
in-house translator for a Slovene energy consultancy company. After that
experience, I decided to develop a portfolio of works and contacts as freelance
My childhood dream had always been to translate novels. I have now
translated four such works, and have also built a decent portfolio of regular
corporate clients, while established cooperation with a select few translation
agencies, including TranslateMedia.
Being a freelance translator can be quite hard. For instance, you never
know whether you will be able get enough work, it can get quite lonely at times,
and working weekends is nothing unusual.
Yet I have never been sorry for having made this decision. As a result,
I have been able to learn a lot, not just about translation, but also about
conducting business in general, about the importance of networking, as well as
gaining skills in project management.
What is best of all is that I deal with a number of different topics and fields,
which means that I never get tired of one subject. I learn something new every
day, and am always up to date with the most current developments in the fields
that I work in.
Laura Case Study
Laura is a Freelance Translator, specializing Tourism, Literature, Marketing, Business, Law, Architecture, and Construction.
Laura studied for a Bachelor degree for Foreign Languages and Literature at University of Bologna (Italy), where she specialized in English and French. Achieving a First, Laura soon realized that she wanted to work in the language service industry.
“I have always had a great passion for foreign languages that stemmed from my time at secondary school. I loved the idea of being able to communicate with different people from all around the world.”
While studying in Bologna, Laura began working as in-house translator for a large company in the building industry. There, she refined her expertise in translating manuals, technical sheets, legal documents and foreign correspondence. Her work also included the editing and proofreading of documents and manuals that had been already translated in English, French, and Italian, to guarantee professional results and language competency.
“This rewarding experience made me understand that translating was what I wanted to do in my life. Therefore after having had such an opportunity to familiarize myself with the translation industry, I decided to start working as a freelancer. I have now been a freelance translator for the past six years”.
“I translate from English and French into Italian, both for agencies and direct clients”.
Since taking up freelance translation, I have started to specialize in marketing, legal, and tourism related content. I believe that in our industry it is important to keep learning. Therefore, I try to keep myself constantly updated by attending professional courses.”
When asked why she still wants to be a freelance translator, Laura replied, “My job gives me great satisfaction, and I would recommend it to anyone with a passion for languages and looking for a job characterized by autonomy, responsibility and flexibility.”