Director Clare Suttie recently spoke at the Language Show in London, in October 2012. Language Show Live is the UK’s largest event for people passionate about languages. It’s free to attend and a great chance to join over 10,000 language learners, teachers, translators, linguists, jobseekers and language professionals.
Clare made some notes about questions she fielded, so that she could blog about them for those who didn’t attend… Here’s Part One:
What are the current language combinations in demand (for translation/interpreting/voiceover)?
Our “bread and butter” ones have always been French, Italian, German and Spanish – into and from.
After that demand does change – community languages, Chinese, Russian. We have a bit of a reputation for more unusual languages so we have Wolof, Malagasy, Icelandic, Swahili, Zulu, Shona, Tigrinya…. We are always surprised to discover a new language we haven’t done before…
What subject fields is there a demand for and is this changing?
We used to get lots of court work but stopped some years ago as the pay was so low, and now this is all via the MoJ contract. We do still work a lot directly for solicitors, but for interpreting we pay daily rates (not hourly and no half days). We used to do a lot of banking work too! We have always worked with a lot of creative companies – marketing, advertising, TV/music companies. Technical stuff is always in demand – engineering, medical in particular.
How do you recruit your freelancers?
Any email enquiries (average 90 per week) are referred to our web application form. We receive around 25 completed applications per week. Our database currently holds 9153 records!!
However we can break this down:
1084 pending (incomplete application)
1030 with referees (referees have been contacted by Atlas but have not replied)
3201 rejected (not suitable or never completed their application despite 3 contacts from Atlas)
31 waiting to be processed (applied within last 10 days)
150 added to a blacklist (poor work or attitude, consistently late work)
115 not currently working (maternity leave, extended break).
So many people start an application and don’t complete it – and are presumably wondering why they don’t receive any offers of work.
We recruit for particular languages/projects through contacting our existing suppliers, our newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, ITI, CIoL, Proz, TranslatorsCafe and if necessary further research.
We also try to get out into the community at events such as the Language Show – also university talks, schools…
Look out for Part Two in the next few days!