“We’ve worked with people including Victoria Beckham, Ken Livingstone and Stevie Wonder”

By Shane Shallow

THE BOSS of a Hertfordshire translation and interpreting company is aiming to dispel the commonly-held belief that working in the language industry is all about sitting in booths listening to dull political or legal debates and dealing with boring documents.

Clare Suttie, 44, who runs Atlas Translations in St Albans, which deals with no less than 339 languages – including the most unheard of dialects such as ‘Fante,’ ‘Baoule,’ Igbo’ and ‘Zande’ among many others – said the work her translators and interpreters do can be in a wide world of areas.

“When people think of working in the translation and interpreting industry, they tend to think of the kind of thing they see on the news, people sitting in a box in a court room or some long-winded conference looking half asleep. But the fact is, some really interesting people and businesses who have to travel a lot need our help – they can’t just go around smiling at people but saying nothing, or shouting in English or speaking very slowly, hoping to communicate,” she said.

“People like the Dalai Lama and the Pope for example all need interpreters and our translators and interpreters can choose to specialise in different areas which they feel are the most interesting to them,” Clare added.

Work Clare’s interpreters have been involved in include interpreting at the International Woolmark Prize – a fashion competition for Woolmark at London Fashion Week, where judges included the likes of Donatella Versace, Diane Von Fürstenberg, Victoria Beckham and Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue; as well as writing a letter in Braille to music legend, Stevie Wonder and interpreting for German heavy metal band, Rammstein.

Clare set up Atlas Translations after studying for a degree in Spanish and Linguistics, prompted by her passion for language and her belief in the power of good communications.

She said: “It’s vital that even the most uncommon languages are represented today as we live in such a multicultural, cosmopolitan world and we have to be able to communicate.

“People underestimate how important communication is, it’s vital to the working of the business world, for people to be able to contribute, live well and to have their voices heard.”

Atlas Translations helped out with projects at last year’s London 2012 Olympics, as well as avoiding problems at the Doha Asian Games by providing 24-hour interpreting services.

“There’s a vast array of areas where translations and interpreters are needed. We work with people appearing in court, those needing medical or financial advice; the translation of children’s books, visitor guides and even poems on the underground,” added Clare.

And as signing and Braille are also officially recognised UK languages, Atlas Translations can help with services for the deaf, the hard of hearing, and the blind and partially-sighted.

The business provides a 24- hour telephone interpreting service for anyone needing to communicate abroad, including students, gap year travellers, holiday makers and businesses.

Clare also sits on the Board of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting and with the fourth International Translation Day approaching, on September 30th, her office manager, Anna Davies, will be representing the company.

Ros Schwartz, Chair of English PEN’s Writers in Translation Committee, is also on the organising committee of ITD and has been involved in the planning.

She said: “ITD is important because it brings together everyone involved in literary translation, from emerging translators to the old hands, publishers, editors, translator associations, journalists, bloggers, funders, booksellers, librarians – everyone interested in promoting literature in translation. It is an opportunity to address the challenges and develop ideas. And the benefit for those outside the industry – i.e. readers – is more and better translated literature out there. “

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About the author

To find out more about Atlas Translations and its services, go to: www.atlas-translations.co.uk or telephone: 01727 812725

www.freewordonline.com/events/detail/itd-2013

www.iti.org.uk

*The Institute of Translation & Interpreting (ITI) is the UK’s only dedicated association for practising translation and interpreting professionals.

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