University collaboration – what’s in it for us?

“Collaboration between universities and the language services industry is nothing new, but it pays to identify the tangible benefits collaboration can bring to focus our efforts,” writes the ATC’s Chief Executive Officer Raisa McNab (pictured). “Let’s not be afraid to ask ‘what’s in it for us?’”

Academic research

Academic research that makes sense to the language services industry allows us to address relevant issues through a rigorous academic approach.

The ATC’s collaboration with Aston Business School on a ground-breaking PhD project aims to quantify the added value of language capabilities to the export activities of small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK. Early results indicate a definite correlation between increased export success and the presence of language capabilities, either internally at a company, or outsourced to a language service provider.

What’s in it for the language services industry? We, of course, know that language support is vital for a company’s export success. But this study aims to demonstrate it through hard-core data and solid quantitative results. And that is a language companies and governments understand, so when we talk about raising the profile of the language services industry as an overarching goal, it doesn’t get much more powerful than this.

Collaborative projects

Collaborative projects bring the industry, the universities, and their students, closer together.

A newly published Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership research project supported by the EUATC and its Spanish member ASPROSET has resulted in training for translators and interpreters in a digital age– a prime example of close collaboration between universities across Europe, language industry associations, and the EU.

In the UK, the ATC’s Collaborative MA Project Partnership initiates and supports Master’s Dissertation projects on topics set by the industry. Within the programme, outstanding Translation Studies and Applied Languages Master’s Degree students from partner universities have a unique opportunity to work together with the ATC on a collaborative project, and gain an insight into the language services industry.

What’s in it for us? Plenty. Better alignment between training and practice, for a start, and a widening of students’ awareness of the language services industry.

University career days and internships

University career days and internships are an opportunity for students to gain a glimpse into the multitude of roles the language services industry has to offer, and to build relationships with future employers or clients.

For individual companies, career days and internships with the local university can become an important recruitment channel.

The ATC as a national association focuses on building more and stronger relationships with UK universities, specifically to connect language service companies with the workforce of the future, in a situation where a completely new immigration system will make recruitment from outside the UK more difficult and costly, and domestic recruitment more prevalent.

In November 2020, the ATC’s Chair and owner of Empower Translate, Ruth Partington, was invited to join the Employer Panel for the MA language students at Cardiff University.

“The panel itself showed off the facets of our industry at its best, ranging from UN representation to freelancers, and everything in between (and beyond, in a couple of cases!). Designed to give the students a small vignette into each area, panellists were given a 15-minute slot to showcase their specific expertise, background and career path with the aim of sowing the seeds of available opportunities for the students to start mapping out potential options on graduation.

I found it utterly heart-warming to know that, despite significantly dwindling numbers of language students in the UK over recent years in particular, languages and the love of them still beats warm and strong in our education system. These graduates, after all, are like gold dust. They are an integral part of our industry now and in the future, bringing essential linguistic services to business, government and education in the UK and beyond for many years to come. Long may we be privileged enough to participate in such events and carry the challenge of inspiring the next generation to follow their linguistic hearts and carry the Language Industry banner high and proud.”