BA Modern Languages and Translation, 2010
What made you choose Middlesex University?
When I was deciding which university to go to I considered several factors, including location (I live in North London), reputation, international ERASMUS options and the courses available. Middlesex ticked all of these boxes.
What attracted you to your course and made you apply?
I wanted a course that offered me the opportunity to combine the knowledge I already had with an interesting course and curriculum. Middlesex University was the best option for me as it offered a course that provided me with a strong foundation for my future aspiration of becoming an interpreter/translator and offered a very attractive combination of languages.
What aspects of your course did you enjoy most?
I enjoyed all my classes and found the combination of linguistic and political studies very stimulating. Politics and languages have always been very attractive topics for me, so I feel these classes in particular helped me to discover my true passion. As a result, I settled upon conference interpreting for my masters which gave me the necessary knowledge and expertise required for interpreting for the EU or UN.
The fact we were introduced to so many industries and areas where translation is used was very interesting for me as well. Among my most favourite classes were the audio-visual translation, German language and German politics classes.
What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?
The last couple of years were truly the most memorable. These are when I learned and understood the most. In my third year I managed to get an Erasmus exchange to Innsbruck, Austria which was without a doubt the best year of my life. This stay immensely improved my knowledge and command of German and I created some long lasting friendships.
In my fourth year I also managed to secure a prestigious placement at the European Parliament Slovak Translation Unit. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am very thankful to Middlesex University for their lasting support, encouragement and flexibility. Moreover, I was nominated as a speaker for my graduation which made me feel very honoured."
What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?
Enjoy your time at the university as much as you can and focus on what you want to do when you leave – do not leave if for "tomorrow".
Set your objectives and follow these through to completion. Everything is achievable if you have the necessary motivation. Good time management skills and the ability to adhere to your plans play an essential role in helping you reach your goals. Throughout my studies I managed to work full-time and study full-time while living on my own."
How did your course and time at Middlesex help you to get where you are professionally today?
After my studies I went on to study International Liaison and Communication which included interpreting. I have managed to secure a job as a full-time interpreter for thebigword thanks to my background in translation and interpreting.
A year ago I moved to a different position within interpreting and translation sales. In my new role my knowledge of the industry and translation processes plays an essential role in my ability to do my job. The thorough knowledge I gained during my studies of translation memories (Trados), technology, segment translation, etc. has proven to be priceless.
My internship at the European Parliament also gave me useful contacts and a thorough understanding of the industry and various workflows. I can proudly say I understand the process from the beginning of the initial request to the point of delivery much better because of my academic background.
Why did you choose the career you studied for?
I always wanted to work within an international field. The fact I have managed to move into a client-facing role within the area of translation and interpreting, something which I have a strong passion for, has been a huge bonus.
What are the pros and cons of working within your professional field?
There are a few of both. The main disadvantage is there are times when you have to inform clients that you are unable to deliver a translation service to the standard they have requested which is a disappointment to them and in turn a frustration to you.
The main advantage and a huge pro of the job is that my role can have a huge influence on the lives of others because the ability to communicate and be understood is vital for everyone. I can make a change or influence change and that makes me feel good.
How did you get your foot on the career ladder post university?
I had a good degree and work experience within the interpreting/translating industry. It takes a fair bit of luck but we create our own luck by making the right decisions and keeping focused.
I knew that I would have to work my way up from the bottom and therefore took the first job I was offered in the industry I was interested in working in. I knew that gaining experience was never going to be a career mistake, even if a role was only temporary. I felt that any role would enable me to gain invaluable skills and knowledge and in time would provide me with the opportunity to move closer to where I wanted to be.
What has been your defining career break or highlight to date?
A year ago I was given the opportunity to move into an account management role which has been my career highlight to date. My long term goal is to be able to secure a job within a large international organisation like the EU or UN.
The position and career I am building now is definitely helping me to build myself up and to understand my particular strengths and areas of specialism. I already know that I feel comfortable in a client-facing role and feel that my management and coordination skills have strengthened since I came into this role. All these qualities and experience are transferrable and essential for many jobs.
What does the future hold for you?
There are several options out there. I can either move onto something different and chase the dream job with the UN or remain with my current company and move into a role as a Business Development Director specialising within a particular field, e.g. Defence or International Relations or International Sales. There will always be a market for interpreting whether it remains as it is or evolves into more of an internet-based service.
What are the top three career tips you would give to current students and recent graduates?
Set your targets and follow them through. A job may not be your dream job at the beginning but it might evolve into something better later on. Experience is invaluable and any experience is good experience.
Don't give up, just try harder. You might get refused for a job 99 times and it's the 100th application that works out.
Never underestimate your knowledge and your strengths – use them to your advantage. What you consider your weaknesses might also eventually become your strengths. I am currently the only "foreigner" working within interpreting sales in a global company. I genuinely believe that this gives me better insight than my colleagues into the "bilingual" world and its challenges.