I was looking for a job where I would use my language skills every day, as well as my analytical skills. Now I work on a variety of different types of language material, and on a range of different subjects.
You have to change the way you deal with different materials. I’m much better at skim-reading and listening than I used to be… plus there’s always someone around who’s willing to help out, and their expertise improves your own understanding.
One of the most interesting aspects of my role is definitely the variety of language work from day-to-day. You might be skimming open source information… doing a transcript from a piece of audio… doing written translations… or a combination of all these.
The control you have over your work is very satisfying as well… Rather than simply being handed things to translate, you have a fair amount of autonomy to decide how to approach your own projects. And that means there’s a lot of flexibility. The work’s extremely varied and you use a lot of different skills and tools alongside your language skills. Certainly none of the linguists just sit and do translations all day.
I receive regular maintenance language classes, meaning that I can talk through language questions with an experienced teacher… And I also have mentoring sessions with a more senior member of the department, which provides more work-related development. This helps to reinforce and improve my language skills and means I have someone helping to shape my development.
Aside from language training, I’ve had to go on a lot of other training courses… such as learning how to use the analytical tools and how to write reports. These have really helped me in the non-language aspects of my work, because there are a lot of different tools, and a lot of rules surrounding their use.
It’s enjoyable and satisfying to be putting my language skills into regular use, and to be constantly trying to improve them. I also enjoy working with a group of people who are really interested in their subject and are very friendly and welcoming. And the well-stocked cake table helps, too!