It was a great sense of achievement to develop the purchasing database for a large computer manufacturer, with a complex data process. I integrated forecast and production data from multiple sources in Marketing, Production and Purchasing.
12 buyers entered purchasing price data manually for use by Procurement to pass supplier orders and by Marketing to cost future products. Purchasing used it to measure supplier quality 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 corporate PeopleSoft implementation.
Year 2000 Business Analyst
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.
Development Project coordinator
I spent three months organising project development in Access in another insurance company.
IT technical experience
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 organization in development work. It also developed my creativity, dealing with continually moving goalposts.
Our experience of providing data processing services from multiple streams into a single corporate database for use by purchasing, procurement and marketing.
Functional Requirements Analyst
We use UML techniques for functional requirements’ analysis of operational contexts through use cases, class diagrams and relational data structures.
Our involvement can take different forms. We can be involved in modelling requirements with business actors, in data modelling or data processing.
Technical Experience as an Independent
Later, I started to focus on organising as the central theme. It is easier to generate ideas than to implement them, 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 are 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.
Technical experience as a Video Technician
I started a small media company called mjlvideo, which became Media Memory, to transfer a wide range of analogue film formats (videotapes, audio tapes, Super 8) to DVD, CD or USB key. We duplicated all types of digital media: CDs, DVDs, SD cards floppy disks and Iomega ZIP discs.
I edited digital projects for events based on digitized film, which sometimes requiring colour and exposure correction, reduction of long films or compiling photo slideshows. I now transcribe video into text for English translation and video subtitling.
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 technical experience relate to translation?
As a translator, I specialize in subjects in which I have some experience, but other general skills learned are also useful. For instance, the technical experience of programming teaches precision, down to the last character. Grammar, spell-checking and phraseology need detailed attention. But most of all, it requires spending just a little extra time.
The professional expertise helps in managing priorities in everyday translation work. It has also given me valuable insights when taking on management subjects.
My contact with purchasing, engineering, procurement and marketing has helped me to understand the challenges of supply chain management. I went on an eighteen-month supply chain training course and worked in a factory that was rebuilt from the ground up.
My technical experience in Access development helped me to develop a Technical Translation Terms database to manage technical terms in current projects and to make them available in future projects.
Relevance of Technical Experience
One major customer sends me projects on document management, which falls into my information systems specialisation. I understand the need for documentation, and what it is to acquire and manage a document management system.
Producing detailed reporting for management has given me vital insights into the process. Managing and producing end of year accounts have helped me deal with accounting subjects.
Having managed several websites, I have experience in producing marketing text for a site and the rules of SEO (with the help of tools such as Yoast).
As an ex-business analyst, with technical experience in systems, I know how to document methods. I understand the use of such documentation both for business people and development teams.
My video and technical experience 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 came back to work in languages even after my studies in the sciences and in IT. This is now my business full-time, having stopped doing video transfer.
I offer a range of translation-related services (technical translation, transcription, subtitling). I am interested in artistic and subtitling 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 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 technical experience.