Case study

Project coordinator and freelance translator — Lauren Hill

After graduating with a Masters degree in translation, Lauren got a job with a professional translation service company and also set up her own translation business. Find out more about her work and what she enjoys most about being a translator

What degree did you study?

After studying for a BA in Modern Languages, Translation and Interpreting, I decided to continue my studies of translation and complete an MA in Professional Translation. I studied both of my degrees at Swansea University, graduating with my Masters in 2020.

How did you get your job?

I found my job as a translation project coordinator via LinkedIn. I had two interviews: the first was focused on me personally and the second was focused on the skills required to be a project coordinator.

What's a typical working day like?

I work with a range of business clients translating French to English and German to English, as well as adding English subtitles to French or German content. My work helps these businesses to reach a much wider audience and I give the content an English 'voice', known as localisation.

Whether working as a translation project coordinator or as a freelancer, a typical day starts with checking through my emails, setting out a rough plan for the day and prioritising tasks accordingly. The tasks can include contacting linguists and clients, working on a CAT (computer-assisted translation) tool, creating invoices or writing content for social media.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

In both of my roles, I really enjoy seeing a project through from start to finish. It's really rewarding, particularly when you're able to deliver earlier than expected or receive excellent feedback from the client.

What are the challenges?

Project coordinating can be stressful at times. However, the feeling of accomplishment when you deliver a project definitely outweighs this. As a freelancer, the irregularity of work is also difficult, as you're unable to predict when jobs will come your way.

In what way is your degree relevant?

My degrees are applicable in both roles on a daily basis, as I'm working within the translation industry. My CAT tool experience from university has definitely been useful, as I'm required to create projects, manage translation memories and use the analysis reports to create quotes.

As a freelance translator, my language skills, along with translation theory, also allow me to produce high-quality work for my clients. Finally, the audio-visual translation module that I completed during my MA taught me about the various constraints, and methods to work around these

What are your career ambitions?

I would like to continue to develop my project managing skills, while also building my own business client database.

What are your top tips for choosing a Masters?

It's important to thoroughly research any courses you're interested in and consider the various modules available. Make sure they offer the combination you're after. The location is another important consideration, in terms of distance from your home town, as well as whether you'd like a university in the city or a campus.

What advice can you give to others wanting to become a freelance translator?

  • Do your research about setting up a business.
  • Believe in yourself, even when others may not, as it will take time to build your business.
  • Make sure that you are organised, as you can have a lot of tasks ongoing at any one time.

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