A huge congratulations to Kate Stansfield Translations who is celebrating 10 years in business this year. What an achievement! We sat down with Kate to find out a little more about Kate Stansfield Translations and to reflect on the last 10 years.
Why did you start your business?
By 2010, I had spent three years in translation project management and I missed the process of translating – playing with words, unpicking a text in one of my source languages and getting to the heart of its meaning and building it back up in my own native language.
I also wanted to experience the flexibility of working for myself. I’d acquired a range of skills and experience by working in a corporate environment so I was curious. I wanted to ensure I would be able to make it to school events and not have to spend 2 hours every day commuting to and from an office.
I want to help changemakers get their important messages to a global audience. Protecting the only planet we’ve got is something I’m incredibly passionate about. Supporting businesses and organisations creating a fairer, greener world for us all to live in is an incredibly important part of what I do. That’s why I’ve made a conscious decision to focus on working with sustainable, ethical businesses as well as charities, NGOs and researchers in sustainability, international development and healthcare.
2. What have been the biggest lessons you’ve learnt since running your own business?
Connect more with my fellow freelancers but also with other members of the local and online business community.
I have learnt such a lot from just reaching out and therefore gaining access to a whole new world of advice, information and support from likeminded business owners.
It’s OK to talk more about who I am as a human being, what makes me tick and why I do what I do.
Contrary to what a lot of my fellow linguists think and are told, potential customers won’t be put off but will find it easier to trust me! I used to think I had to show up in person or online in a certain way, but nowadays I don’t shy away from talking about how my business and family life interconnect, and how my personal interests and passions affect what I choose to work on.
Try not to do everything myself.
It took me a long time – nearly 9 years – to finally hire an accountant. That improved my life immeasurably!
3. Do you have any advice for people interested in doing what you do?
For those considering a career in translation (dealing with the written word) or interpreting (translating verbal language), my first port of call would be the Institute of Translation and Interpreting or the Chartered Institute of Linguists. Both have websites packed with information and even offer some free webinars for linguists at all stages in their career.
There are many different paths into this industry: some people take the traditional route of a language degree followed by translation qualification (a postgraduate degree or a diploma such as offered by the CIOL, for example). Others have the necessary language skills but enter the profession after gaining a degree or even pursuing a career in an entirely different field. Their specialist knowledge allows them to easily pinpoint a niche market and offer their clients real added value. I would say that, if you’re changing career and don’t have a translation qualification, it’s still worth considering some sort of distance learning course and qualification.
I say this because, now more than ever, newcomers to the industry need to step outside their comfort zone. Engage with others in their industry as well as with your ideal clients in your chosen specialist field(s). We need to talk more about what we do and why we do it. We need to be curious and knowledgeable about current and future trends in how humans communicate with each other. The digital world and the development of artificial intelligence are highly relevant to what we do, yet many of us are still fearful that machines will put us out of a job and therefore shy away from exploring new trends in technology. On the contrary, I think there is a lot of opportunity out there if we stay abreast of developments. It will make us so much more aware of the world our clients are doing business in and help us to serve them better.
Finally, consider finding yourself a mentor within the industry or even within your specialisation. I’ve worked with the Yorkshire Translators and Interpreters as a mentor and seen first-hand how helpful it can be for those finding their feet.