On Wednesday 19th January I’ve been asked to speak to an audience of 40 year 9 pupils (ages 13 and 14) with the general aim to inspire pupils to choose languages at GCSE. This is part of Leeds University’s Languages @ Work programme and I’m really pleased and honoured to have been asked to speak. I’ve also been asked to give out prizes for the activities the pupils have been doing throughout the rest of the programme (I feel like the Lord Mayor!).

The business of language

When I was first asked I wondered what I’d talk about. After all I’m not a translator, interpreter or transcriber myself, Global Lingo’s staff and freelancers are the experts there. My role is Marketing and Sales so what can I teach kids interested in working in languages?

Then I realised, unlike other speakers who the kids would see, I could guide them in the business side of the language industry. The other speakers, lecturers and teachers will be highly trained in languages and I’m sure have vast experience in their field.

What they probably don’t have is the understanding of how the business works as a whole, for example handling the trade-off between the sales team and the project managers. They probably have never been told about the tie-up between languages and technology, design, innovation etc. Hopefully, these are things I can help enlighten them about.

Or maybe I’ll just look like an old man in front of a load of slides?