STAR UK’s move to the new office in Guildford last year has brought us very close to the University of Surrey. We are ten minutes away – and that’s on foot. Considering that, the decision to present at the mini careers fair offered by the Centre for Translation Studies and further our relationship with the university was an easy one.
This careers fair was the first one I have attended since graduating – and it was definitely the first one where I was answering questions rather than asking them. Thanks to the combined quirks of the German and Scottish education systems, I am the youngest in-house translator at STAR UK. In fact, it hasn’t even been a full year since I graduated with an MA in Translation and Interpreting myself. To suddenly find myself on the other side of the process was certainly an interesting experience.
After a warm welcome by lecturer Joanna Gough, the event started off in a slightly unusual way. Four students introduced us to the different MA programmes offered at the university. It was an interesting insight, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one comparing the courses to the ones I studied myself. More importantly though, this introduction gave us a better idea of what to expect from a University of Surrey graduate.
The fair then progressed in a more traditional way – with a total of eight different companies presenting the services and opportunities they offer. I had volunteered to give our presentation – not that I had a lot of competition, there is a reason we are translators and not interpreters after all! I soon found myself face to face with about 50 students, many of them actually older than myself. The five minutes we had been allocated didn’t give much time to talk about STAR, but was still enough to inspire a fair number of the soon-to-be graduates to seek us out at our stand later on.
I remember all too well the curious mix of dread and excitement that comes with trying to network with potential employers and finding out more about employment options. I have to admit, I still felt a little apprehensive about answering questions about STAR. As a staff translator with a mere 9 months under my belt, I felt most at home answering questions about my role and how it fits into the company. Luckily, I had Sabine Schulz with me, one of our longest-serving project managers, who was more than happy to jump in and provide more details about our other language combinations and about her role as a Project Manager.
I’m also happy to report that our afternoon at the university was indeed well spent: Just a few days later, we have already received applications from students we met there. As for myself, this experience has just been one of many ways in which working at STAR has helped to broaden my horizons.
Julia Scherer – In-house German to English Translator at STAR UK