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Our September 2020 Event: Shifting gears. An open discussion on career change within the language industry

On Thursday 24th September we had a lively open discussion on career change within the language industry. All the participants actively shared their personal insights regarding the more common issues many language professionals face nowadays. Questioning the professional path or searching for new ways for improvement of the current carrier were the hot topics of this month event.

Our host Gabriella broke the ice with her professional life story, mentioning her new burning interests towards Digital Marketing. Gabriella admitted that acquiring a higher expertise in this creative field is more about launching something on the side, rather than experiencing a real shift and giving up language teaching.

We moved on talking about a real-life example of a massive change: Paola, one of our attendees, revealed how she shifted her carrier from translator to teacher – from her first passion in translation, a more solitary occupation, to an open and socializing calling as the one of a teacher. She in fact confessed that the idea of transferring knowledge worked for her as a major driver. When it comes to understanding what drives you, thus, more specifically to ascertain what path to follow, Paola suggests

being more introspective and able to bring up the one’s emotions dominating our subconscious. Here, the role of a mentor comes in. A person who is able to guide you, helping you to put the puzzle together.

After these precious insights, Ana, another guest, talked about her career change in progress and why she is distancing herself from the sole translation activity. A couple of modern translator problems were brought up, such as machine translation and presence of unqualified translators. As a result, Ana has started to teach in order to diversify her career. It is important to highlight the issues that online freelance professionals face nowadays. And indeed, thinking of shifting gears or looking for new opportunities have become essential for language experts.

How do we overcome these problems? – we asked. While no one had the magic solution at hand, we discussed considering the idea of focusing on a very specific niche, rather than on promotion of more general services on the abundantly saturated market, which means to create your own market.

In respect of teaching, Svetlana, our other participant, introduced her reflection about the language teaching-learning industry. Language-course seekers have become extra attentive, therefore they do not subscribe to any random course. We talked about online learning platforms that have more than 4000 English teachers advertising themselves. How do potential customers choose the right professional? And how can teachers stand out in this vast sea of competitors? It is a big struggle. But again, concentrating all efforts on a specific market might be the answer. What sort of clients do you want to attract and work with?

As the pandemic hit, suddenly the whole world was forced to go online. We all had to reorganise our habits, our work and adapt to new conditions. A wise piece of advice from Rakesh was:

promote yourself,

stay updated with the latest IT technologies and write a book or

an article in a professional journal to gain visibility

After these interesting insights, we moved on to structured networking and 30 seconds intro pitches.

Finally, we finished the evening with a book recommendation by Gabriella, “Who you were meant to be” by Lindsay C. Gibson.

Thanks to all the language professionals who attended and actively participated in this insightful event, regardless of the time zones. The money we have raised goes to support Moorfields Eye Charity.

Stay tuned for our next event, which will be on the 29th of October! We’ll share the details soon. Until then, stay safe.

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