I’m a technical translator with significant technical experience in information systems development, 10 years as a freelancer running a video transfer business and as an Excel teacher. I worked in France and the UK for 10 years.
It was a great sense of achievement to develop the purchasing database for a large computer manufacturer, as it had a very complex data process. I regularly integrated data weekly from 3 departments from marketing, production, Purchasing. Forecast data from marketing, price data from purchasing, actual consumption data from production (not shown).
12 buyers entered purchasing price data manually, but I imported marketing forecast and production consumption data from at least twenty different files.
Procurement used the database to pass supplier orders and marketing to cost future products. Purchasing used it to measure activity and identify areas for improvement.
My role was to collect and import the data, develop and maintain the import process and produce the necessary data for KPIs. I collated product road maps for significant components and identified purchasing requirements for the project to implement PeopleSoft.
I was responsible for analysing PC applications for the Year 2000 compatibility in a large insurance company, to determine the importance of each, and whether to scrap, retain or redevelop the application.
Development Project coordinator
I spent three months organising project development in Access in another insurance company.
My time working with PC database applications taught me about the need to be organised and for structured tools such as Trello and Odoo, for ‘proper’ communication between management and staff, the need to communicate publication schedules, plan development.
I learned about the need for rigour and organisation in development work. It also developed my creativity, because I was dealing with continually moving goalposts: import files continually changing. I developed an import process which could adapt to different file formats but protected the integrity of the central database.
As an Independent
Later, I started to focus on organising as the central theme. It is easier to generate ideas than to implement them. But it is essential to move new ideas into action. As a freelancer, I need to stay focused on the essential everyday work and yet manage strategic development.
There exist continuous multiple threads. It is pointless trying to progress more than a handful of projects at any one time, although it is easy to think up hundreds of ideas to develop.
As a Video Technician
The challenge was to find the investment and to decide what equipment to invest in, based on customer feedback and my vision of the developing market. I began to offer translation services to increase turnover but found subtitling and transcription at the overlap between video and translation.
The challenge as an independent is to identify and develop opportunities that have potential. This management process requires several hats. The hat of the worker who does the everyday work, the technician who maintains the website and develops marketing content, and finally the management hat to make the “strategic” choices.
So there is the “do” side and the development side. The do side fulfils customer orders, and the development side prepares the services offered in the future. It looks at the market and determines where best to invest. The same person embodies multiple roles: “management”, “staff” and “sales”.
How does this relate to translation?
As a translator, I specialise in subjects that I know, in which I have some technical experience.
Exacting: the experience of programming is useful because it is precise, down to the last character, full stop or letter. Precision is a valuable quality in translation because grammar, spell-checking and phraseology need attention to detail. But most of all it requires the desire to spend that little extra time.
The professional expertise helps. Managing priorities from work in companies and as an independent help me in everyday translation work. It has also given me valuable insights when taking on management subjects.
My contact with purchasing, engineering, procurement and marketing helps to understand the challenges of supply chain management. I went on an eighteen-month supply chain training course and worked in a factory which was rebuilt from the ground up.
My experience in Access development helped in developing an Access database to manage Technical Translation Terms.
The Relevance of My Technical Experience
One major customer sends me projects on document management, which falls into my information systems specialisation. I understand the need for proper documentation, and what it is to acquire and manage a document management system.
Producing detailed reporting for management has given me a vital insight into the process.
Managing and producing end of year accounts have helped me deal with accounting subjects.
As an ex-business analyst, with experience in systems, I know how to document methods. I understand the use of such documentation both for business people and development teams. This technical experience is valuable in translation in Information Systems.
My technical and video “skills” are valuable when doing subtitling, video editing and transcription work.
My eighteen years living in France helps when trying to understand a text, even when it is technical or written by a technician.
Developing translation and transcreation
And finally, I enjoy words and composing text. Words have become my work. I have spoken French since the age of thirteen, and I have come back to language. This is now my business full-time, having stopped doing video transfer.
My objective is to offer a range of translation-related services (technical translation, transcription, subtitling). I am interested in artistic and transcription projects which intersect with my multimedia experience and interests.
Recently, I was involved in an exciting project for a service provider offering interactive, immersive multimedia services to a museum. I am equally at home in a quality document management system or an industrial safety manual.
I worked on a labour of love project to subtitle the masterclass for a well-known writer in France. Multimedia, cultural, artistic work is my new “direction”. I hope to build on the full range of my 24 years’ experience.