TBP2018 Student’s work

Here are the fantastic projects that were created by students taking part in the Translation Businesses Project 2018. Congratulations!


ITALIAN TEAM (Winning team)

Rhiannon Thomas Val, Naomi Hodges and Amy Williams



Ben West, Mia Brown, Abbi Scarr, Genevieve France 
Phoebe Levien and Edward de Serpa Pimentel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sonidos-Traducidos-154502205241348/
Translation Business Project Final Gala Presentation



Felix Ogdon, Matt Watts, Lucy Peirson and Megan Edlin






Jenny Roberts, Charlotte Rowley, Ben Hewin and 
Leah Robert-Packer




Sophie Lawrence, Yasmine Chocr, Sally Tomson,
Beatrice Wyles, Lauren Srotyr and Nicola Brown





Christine Thompson, Krister Noren, Anam Zafar,
Sayyid Harith Shahabudin and Kasia Durkan




TBP2018 Feedback from our judges

(Written by translator Cathy Dobson. Also in the judging panel: translator Lisa Simpson and Dr Alex Thompson, marketing expert from the Business School. A massive THANK YOU to all of them!)


2018 marks five years of the Student Translation Business Project and so my fifth-year as a judge. It is always a real pleasure to take part in the final gala and to see your presentations and once again I was very impressed with your work. It sounds as if this term has presented more than its fair share of challenges, for various reasons, so the fact that you were willing to commit to the project is particularly commendable.

Although there can only be one winning team on the day – and congratulations to the Italian group for this achievement – this project is primarily about trying out and developing skills relevant to the wider world of work. So whatever your career aspirations, I hope that all of you have found the experience useful.

From a judge’s perspective, there is a lot to take in on the day, but here is a quick summary of my impressions of each team, presented in running order:

French: as a French translator myself, I smiled at the rationale behind your company name. The business philosophy of providing a personalised, human-scale service to small, family-run hotels and restaurants was a great USP. It was also refreshing to see a pricing strategy based on overall packages rather than individual words. Finally, I was very impressed with your methodical approach to the translation task and willingness to reflect on the challenges you had faced and what you could do differently in the future.

Italian: this year’s very worthy winners displayed excellent teamwork and had wisely played to their individual strengths. The overall presentation came across as both personable and highly professional; it was clear you had researched your business and marketing strategies thoroughly (loved the logo) and it was good that you gave consideration to how you could grow the business. The subtitling task was very well done and you showed great awareness of the requirements of audiovisual translation and of how to overcome challenges such as transferring wordplay from a source to a target language.

Arabic: a strong presentation delivered by a quietly confident and cohesive team. Your passion for working with ethically-minded organisations shone through but you were also pragmatic enough to recognise where the likely translation budgets would be and to base your business strategy on that. I was impressed with your resourcefulness in consulting native speakers to clarify your understanding of the more challenging aspects of your source texts, and with your cultural awareness, particularly in terms of how to promote services in Arabic-speaking countries.

German: your company name and clever logo, reflecting the two distinct markets you wanted to target, was ingenious. It was clear you had put thought into identifying a potential growth area for your business, and in a world where so much communication is now faceless, adopting a more direct and human approach to selling your services would definitely help you stand out. You also displayed good understanding of the need to make sure different texts conveyed different registers.

Spanish: this was a very good, professional presentation and you had clearly worked well as a team on both the business and translation side of this project. This was a very original, niche market and it was evident that you had thought in-depth about how your business vision could work in practice and how to promote your services. You had set yourselves a very challenging translation task but the quality of your work was excellent. Your collaborative approach to the translations also deserves praise.

Portuguese:  a very well-executed presentation. As a team you stood out for the work you had put into researching potential markets and the business strategies you chose based on your findings. You had some great ideas about where to target your services, with realistic plans for growth, and were spot-on to consider overheads in your pricing. You showed a good understanding of the professional translation process and I was impressed with how you justified some of your translation decisions to us.

So, as you can see, every group showed some real strengths. To finish, I’d just like to wish all of you the best with your upcoming exams and future careers.

Subtitling Workshop 2018

14th February 2018

Richard ran a workshop called “Learn to subtitle – in an hour!” which, as the name suggests, taught students the basic principles of subtitling in just an hour (or as it ended up being, 45 minutes)! Subtitling is the addition of written text to a video, representing the auditory verbal channel with a visual verbal channel, meaning audiences are expected to do more work. Therefore, some cultures traditionally prefer to use dubbing or voiceovers to translate films into their language.

Richard explained that the international standards which govern subtitling change the way we have to translate. He gave some examples of bad subtitling, which can involve lagging behind the spoken words, or not staying on the screen for long enough. To avoid this, the standards state that there must be no more than two lines on the screen at once. It is necessary to time the subtitle with the audio, and use different colours, or italics and normal type, for different actors or voices. The maximum line length is 35 characters, and there must be a minimum of 1 second for every 12 characters. Typically, spoken text will be reduced by a third, with adjectives and adverbs omitted to focus on nouns and verbs. This ensures that the main message gets across, and only extra detail that is not essential to the meaning of the phrase is cut out.

Richard demonstrates how to use Aegisub

The workshop then introduced Aegisub, the subtitling software that Richard was teaching us how to use. Subtitling software allows the user to easily divide a video up into timed sections, and add subtitles for them. It also checks the subtitles for conventions of length and speed. However, it doesn’t check the quality of the translation produced; this is left up to the translator. After a brief introduction we put what we had learned into practice, and subtitled a short section of an English film (as the focus here was learning the principles of subtitling rather than translating).

Students put their newly-learned subtitling skills into practice

After we had had a few minutes to do this, Richard showed us an example of the film clip with subtitles that he had prepared earlier. This demonstrated ways to overcome common problems in subtitling, for example you can blend subtitle one with another to gain more time on the screen, or lose some stylistic detail by replacing the phrase “is not a bad guy” with “is a good guy”. He then explained that there are two ways to save a subtitled clip. The first is called soft-subbing, where the video file is left intact and you have to load the subtitle file in separately. If you want to upload your file somewhere (i.e. YouTube) or embed it in a webpage, you need to use the second method, which is called hard-subbing. This is technically complex, but means that the can embed in a webpage. Finally, Richard explained that it is necessary to have a video file in order to subtitle, and warned students that they need to be careful regarding copyright laws if hosting a subtitled video on a website.

– Miranda

Round Table with the Professionals

Hello everyone and welcome back!!

Last week we had the amazing opportunity to meet some of the most experienced professional translators, who not only offered tips and tricks on how to emerge yourself into the translation world, but they also addressed some of your questions/concerns and I am sure that this event was much appreciated by everyone.


Among the professionals, we had the MA Translation graduate from Exeter University, Matthew Bird, who currently works at Sure Languages and therefore was able to offer an overview on the translation agencies. In terms of free-lancing, Natalie Soper accompanied us, along with Lisa Simpson and Alison Exley, the last two having gathered more or less 20 years of experience in the translation area.


Having said that, here are some of the tips and advice they offered, everything drawn from their very own experience:

  • Get a job in the area that you are interested in, in order to gain some insight information and only then go ahead and become a translator
  • Travel a lot, if possible move abroad to get accustomed to the culture and traditions-this will lead to a more accurate translation in/from that certain language
  • Do NOT be afraid to contact direct clients through phone rather than e-mails
  • ALWAYS be positive
  • Look professional in the e-mails that you send
  • Create your own website- it makes you look reliable and committed to your work

In conclusion, it turned out to be a very fruitful afternoon, which I am sure aided you in making some more steps towards a bright future translation career. Also, here is one of the websites recommended on that day: https://www.sft.fr/statistiques-traduction.html#.WLQQMU0afcs.

Looking forward to seeing you again at the Final Gala! All the best! 🙂 17035247_1327942620605050_1022205024_n


The Translation Business Project is back!!!

Exeter AwardYes, The Translation Business Project is back and we have very exciting plans for the 2017 edition!

The project will start in the first week of term 2 with an introductory event and will run until week 10, when our final gala will take place.

This is what previous participants say about this project:

‘It’s been great fun and an incredibly worthwhile and enriching experience!’

‘I actually spoke in detail about this project in a graduate scheme interview I had the other day, so it has been very useful in that respect!’

‘Really enjoyed it from start to finish. Great to see how a translation business would work, to get the chance to hear from professional translators. Would do again!’

‘It was a highly enjoyable and rewarding experience to see the project grow week by week, culminating in the final presentation during the gala.’

‘I was constantly thrilled about developing my team’s translation project, every step taken was a reward in itself!’

‘This project has been great to develop my leadership skills. It’s rare to actually be put in real life situations where you have to jump in and find the balance between trustworthiness, friendliness, and problem solving outside of a working environment. I have discovered aspects of business life which have not been part of my taught programmes, and I find it very empowering and stimulating to have had so much responsibility as well as the opportunity to learn so much!’

Don’t miss this excellent opportunity!
To get involved please follow this linkhttps://goo.gl/forms/eP6F8aAVGiiSOOa13



Feedback from our judges

Thanks to everyone who has taken part in the Translation Business Project 2016 and to those of you who came to our final gala event. We all had a fantastic time hearing about all the superb projects that our students had been working on for the last two months. As in the two previous years, we had the pleasure to have our professional translators Cathy, Alison and Lisa with us acting as judges and here are their valuable comments – Thanks!

Once again, it was a real pleasure to judge the presentations in the Student Translation Business Project. From past experience, we knew it would not be easy to choose an overall winner and it has to be said that this year, standards were the highest we have seen yet. In the end however, one group did stand out for its across-the-board performance. Congratulations to the French team and Blogmondial!

You will find some more specific feedback here but first some general observations.

All teams were very professional and had clearly understood that there is more to translation than simply replacing words between languages. It was good to see you considering how your translations would be used and interesting to hear how you had overcome a range of translation-specific issues. It was also evident that teams really had worked as teams with everybody contributing and supporting each other. As ever, we were bowled over by the work and creative thinking you had put into your projects.

If we were to pick one area that could have been improved upon it would be the whole issue of calculating rates and profit margins and, hence, overall pricing. It is so important to remember that translation is a service not a commodity, and pitching low is not sustainable in the long term. Admittedly, this is a tricky area that many established translators struggle with, but if you have a great service, there really is no need to sell yourselves short.  You should also be aware that although there may appear to be “norms” with regard to pricing in some market segments, there are no “industry standards” and many clients are prepared to pay very well for a top quality job.

We hope that everyone who took part in this project has found it a worthwhile exercise. It was heartening to see your enthusiasm for foreign languages, but the skills you used here are also relevant to many other professional areas.  All the very best for the future!

Alison, Cathy and Lisa

Judging Criteria

With just over a week to go until the final gala , one of the judges themselves gives us an insight into what exactly they’ll be looking out for…

We are looking forward to coming back, for a third year, to judge your presentations at the student translation business project gala. From previous experience, we know that the teams will be putting a tremendous amount of thought, work and creativity into their projects. It is always a pleasure to see the final translations, but don’t forget that we are also judging the business aspect of your work.

Here is some more information about what we will be looking for on the day:

Understanding of the translation process in a working situation:  what was the purpose and meaning of source text and what is the purpose of your target text? What specific translation issues did you come across and how did you go about resolving these?

Translation industry awareness:  what research did you carry out into the translation industry? How have you gone about costing and pricing your translations?  What information have you included in your invoices?

Entrepreneurial skills: by this, we mean general commercial awareness, marketing strategy, professional use of social media, etc

Transferable skills: here, we will be looking for evidence of teamwork, time management, decision-making and problem-solving skills.

Overall presentation skills: are your presentations well structured? What visual aids have you used?  Have you demonstrated clarity of ideas and effective communication skills?

And finally…

The viability of your business models

Best of luck to all the teams.  See you on March 16th

Cathy Dobson

Roundtable Event

Our most recent event this Wednesday was an absolute success, so thank you to all who came. The opportunity to put practical questions about the industry and the nature of the job to professional working translators with decades of experience was, I’m sure, appreciated by all.


We were lucky to be joined by four translators with a wealth of experience among them. Matthew Bird, an Exeter graduate who finished his MA Translation at Exeter in 2014 gave us insight into the world of translation agencies, as he is Project Manager at Sure Languages right here in Exeter. Hannah Keet, another Exeter graduate, also joined us and spoke about the advantages of freelance vs in-house translation, having worked for Amazon at their headquarters in Luxembourg before moving back to the UK to work freelance. Two of the judges from our upcoming final gala, Alison Exley and Lisa Simpson were present too, and with 39 years of translation experience between them answered a whole variety of questions on every aspect of the industry, as well as what they’ll be looking out for when they judge the projects in just a few weeks time.


The four of them provided a wealth of knowledge and useful tips for budding translators, among them:

– Try calling agencies instead of sending out emails. The more personal approach makes you seem more interested and shows you’ve taken the time to contact that individual company as opposed to clicking ‘send to all’ with a CV.

– Contacting clients directly instead of working through an agency has its benefits such as better rates of pay (due to cutting out the middle man) and often longer time scales as well as being able to build a good rapport with your clients. However, agencies have their benefits when it comes to dealing with trickier clients!

– Getting to grips with CAT tools is unavoidable, so embrace them early on – you’re going to need them.

All in all a great afternoon and some very valuable advice for those wishing to begin a career in translation. We look forward to seeing Alison and Lisa again in a few weeks time at the final event. In the mean time try taking a look at some of the websites that were recommended on the day – happy reading!





New year – new project!

Welcome to the Student Translation Business Project 2016!

This week we had our first introductory event to kick off the project where the teams got to meet each other over tea and biscuits and start to formulate some ideas for their new business ventures. Already there seems to be a wide range of really interesting ideas so I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

I’ll be posting after all our exciting upcoming events so watch this space.

But that’s all for now – Jessica.

Introductory Meet