Careers Day at Williamwood High School – Tuesday 13th December

On Tuesday 13th December I had the opportunity to visit Williamwood High School’s careers day – focusing on using languages in your career. Needless to say, I was incredibly proud to be invited along and speak with the new generation of potential translators, interpreters and project managers. So on Tuesday, an extremely frozen and frosty day, I set out to meet the 4th years and modern languages department at Williamwood.

There were various different speakers invited along – namely, current language students who have recently spent their year abroad, representatives from Erasmus, British Council and also Cinemaattic who specialise in showcasing cult, rare and classic Spanish and Latin-American film sessions in Glasgow.

My remit was to present on ‘Working in the translation industry’ to their 4th years, who are about to make the next important decision in their educational journey – choosing their 5th year subjects. The sessions comprised a mixture of pupils…some of whom planned to continue studying languages at school level and beyond, and of course some who didn’t have a lot of interest in languages.

My presentation started with explaining how important it is to learn languages and I then went onto talk about the various careers that languages could be used in. Before going on to discuss what we do at Global Connects in more detail, I quizzed the pupils on what their understanding of translation and interpreting was – I got some mixed answers. Some students thought they were the same thing; others had a really clear idea of what a translator does and what an interpreter does which was great to hear. The students were further interested to hear about the various public sector work we do and what that involves…I think they were disappointed that the NDA I have signed meant I couldn’t go into huge detail on some parts.

After the presentation, it was time for questions, and we also had a visit from 5th year pupils who had selected to study languages at an advanced level. This was a fascinating insight into the younger generation’s thoughts around languages, one of the most interesting questions of the day was from a 5th year student who asked if I thought computers would one day replace the need for human translators. I informed her with total confidence, that while computers will certainly help and improve the art of translation, machine translation will never fully replace a human translator – we will always work with humans and respect the wonderful work they do every day, which is a result of their years of training and practical experience.

All in all, I came away positive that we have some future translators, interpreters or project managers in our midst, and I look forward to working with them in the future!

Fiona Woodford, Global Connects