Last Friday 25th June, our guest speaker Sarah Hus shared with us her journey and expertise as a language entrepreneur and presented her vision of the market. She also talked us through how the global pandemic impacted the language industry and some of the trends for the coming years.
Host Gabriella Ferenczi welcomed everyone and, after introducing the initiative, she gave the floor to Sarah Hus, our guest speaker.
Sarah is an entrepreneur and runs a translation agency and language training business. She launched these two businesses because her goal was to have a positive impact on people’s lives by helping them with languages.
Sarah launched her translation agency called Trad’Esprit in France at the beginning of 2009. Starting a business in the middle of a financial crisis was really a challenge: during a recession, translation costs are probably the first expenses a company cuts. Although Sarah’s decision was bold and it could have been wrong, she had to take her chance. Decision-making is in fact a leader’s responsibility and it isn’t an easy task. Sometimes we can be right and sometimes wrong, but we have to give it a shot. And of course failure is generally more noticed than success, but it is only through failure and mistakes that we learn and improve.
‘Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint’
In the end Sarah succeeded and had 10 incredible years, but the path that led to her success wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. Sarah mentioned failing several times, being outside her comfort zone and pushing herself on a daily basis, but it all helped her to grow a stronger business and develop soft skills such as resilience and boldness which are key.
‘Every time, I felt I was gaining in experience, or in revenue! I definitely encourage you. I know it’s hard and you might not want to do it sometimes, but you have to! And you’re gonna be so happy you did it in the end. So, please, go out there and be bold!’
Another big challenge she encountered on her journey was making a niche in a competitive market such as the language one. Translation is not a regulated profession and anyone can be a translator. So how can companies find professional translators? 1. through an agency (more expensive, yet reassuring because of the reputation) 2. a freelance translator (cheaper, but risky because they don’t know their professionalism and ethic) and 3. on marketplaces. Sarah particularly focused on the latter which she finds extremely helpful for freelance translators who can advertise their services there, show their expertise and be found by companies.
Afterwards, we moved to talking about how the pandemic affected the language industry. Covid-19 has been hard on everyone and tested our resilience and ability to adapt both as a person and a business.
Since 2018, Sarah has been running her second business: Belingus, a startup in language learning aiming to help adults to learn a language easily and efficiently. How come? by creating an interest in learning the language and making the experience enjoyable through immersive and engaging sessions such as game nights, cooking masterclasses, wine tasting, drama masterclasses, calligraphy. When the pandemic hit, adaptability and flexibility were crucial factors in order to survive. Belingus had to adapt all the activities online and increased the 1-to-1 sessions (or group session) with a native teacher.
Nowadays everything is done online and remotely and people working from home are saving time that can be devoted to learning a new language. Sarah mentioned some figures suggesting that online language learning has a bright future. This industry is in fact growing right now, and it is expected to grow by 18.7% and reach $ 21.2 billion by 2027.
At the end of her speech Sarah encouraged us to take a step back sometimes and make time for a moment of self-reflection, which is exactly what she did while preparing her presentation. Self-reflection allows our brains to have a break and look back at our work and everything we’ve accomplished over the course of our career. This exercise not only enables us to appreciate more our achievements – which we sometimes forget or take for granted – but it also helps us to learn and shape future mindsets and actions.
Sarah’s talk was followed by a Q&A session and, as usual, we wrapped up with structured networking and great conversations.
About the speaker:
Passionate about languages and empowered by experiences abroad, Sarah studied languages at the University of Lille 3 (France) and successfully graduated as a professional translator at the University of Brussels (ISTI) in 2008. Few months later, she became an entrepreneur by creating her own translation agency called Trad’Esprit.
She wanted to be the bridge between companies and translators and help both parties to get the best quality in translation. Thanks to her talented team, composed by professional translators right around the world, she has been able to offer a large range of language services to her clients. She successfully ran Trad’Esprit for over 10 years and worked mainly with multinational companies and industrials.
On a side project, she started to teach French to adults in 2011, and developed a unique learning method through the years.
In 2018, Sarah launched her second business – a language school for adults called Belingus. She wanted to help people to learn a language and offer an efficient approach to learn a language.
Based on her personal experience and her teaching experience, Sarah offers with Belingus a unique way to practise and learn a language: she organises events / workshops based on the learner’s interests and builds a community of language learners.
Thanks to Sarah for her presentation and to all the language professionals who attended and actively contributed to the conversation, regardless of the time zone. The money we have raised goes to support Moorfields Eye Charity.
Stay tuned for our next event, which will be on the 29th of July! We’ll share the details soon. Until then, stay safe.