Luke, founder of Yestrans, lifts the lid on what it’s like to run a translation agency and talks about a typical day at Yestrans.
I walk to our office which is in the Albany in Deptford, an amazing community and arts space. I love being based here and the fact that our office rent supports the work that happens at the centre. The Albany recently got some new resident chickens which have been rescued from a battery farm and they’re a cheery addition to the building.
Having said hello to the chickens, my first task of the day is usually to allocate new translation jobs to our German to English translators. We work with a team who are experts in their individual fields including specialists in legal, medical, marketing and financial translation. I still do a lot of hands-on translation myself but it’s a great feeling to have such a solid team to work with as well.
Every translation we deliver to our clients is really thoroughly proofed. We use the ‘four eyes’ principle as it’s called in Germany, which basically means that all copy is proofed by at least one other colleague. We also do monolingual review, which is when we review the English version of the text on its own to make sure it reads well and makes complete sense to a native English speaker. Taz, my business partner, often does this as she’s based in the office with me and it’s good to be able to discuss any amends to the copy.
Once I’ve caught up on job allocation and proofing, I usually have time to do some translation work myself. This week we’ve been working with about six key clients and jobs have really varied. I’ve translated an environmental impact report and am now working on website copy for a large German visitor attraction which wants to appeal to the UK and USA visitor markets.
I take a break at lunch time and sometimes eat in the Albany café or maybe go to a local café like London Velo which does amazing coffee – this keeps me going through the afternoon.
I’ll usually receive a few emails from our translators throughout the day. Most of the team works remotely but I’m always around to help with any questions – in fact I love it when translators ask me questions. It’s much, much better when translators collaborate and talk when they get stuck on something. Sometimes you might not be sure which term to use, or you want a second opinion on an ambiguous translation, and it’s always best to get a second opinion.
We’ll be having a keen intern working with us soon so I’m getting ready for his arrival and preparing his projects. He’ll be sharing the office with me and Taz and will get to do everything from liaising with our clients in Germany through to learning about invoicing and business admin.
Throughout the course of the day, I send completed translations to clients and catch up with emails about new projects, and my day generally finishes with an afternoon deadline or sending translations to our colleagues in different time zones if deadlines are tight. Sometimes I’ll stay late in the office and sometimes I’ll take some work home with me. I don’t work late every night though; often Taz and I will drop in to somewhere local like The Job Centre – a bar on Deptford High Street – on the way out.
I’d love to hear about where you work from and what your day involves – let me know in the comments if you’re based somewhere unusual or if you’re translating anything particularly interesting. I’m always looking for new coffee and lunch recommendations in Deptford too!