No one can deny that this has been a year like no other … at least in my lifetime …
It’s very common, at this stage of the year 2020, to find many people making a summary of their own achievements, and… we are no exception… this time…
We are not normally people who boast about our achievements. We are rather people with a “carry-on-and-get-on-with-it” attitude. But I think it is important, sometimes, to stop, turn round, take stock of what has happened so far, and celebrate what we have accomplished. And this is not because of our narcissistic nature, but because it gives us a sense of achievement, which fills us with all the positive energy necessary to carry on and get on with it, once more, in the year 2021.
So, what has My Language Hub (MLH) achieved in 2020?
2020 started with a great super technical project in two phases: phase 1, translation of a user manual of a submarine antenna, and phase 2 involved interpreting and the delivery of a training course in Spain. We were sooo excited about it!! A week before flying, COVID happened! Lockdowns, travel restrictions … everything grinded to a standstill. The project completion got delayed!
Of course, you need to be resilient and bring this “carry-on-and-get-on-with-it” attitude within yourself, because the Earth keeps spinning round, and life goes on… So, we carried on with our little projects. MLH got featured on Inspire Magazine, the magazine of the local chamber of commerce, covering the reasons why we chose Letchworth as a base for our business. Also, with our language classes, we had to act fast and took the decision to move them online, notably, a week before the first lockdown in the UK (24 March) even came into effect. Amid so much chaos, we offered our language services to the UK Government and the Crown Commercial Services.
Lack of information on many fronts has driven MLH to create Foundations of Translation, a preparatory course for the CIOL Diploma in Translation, to serve individuals interested in the translation exam. This led MLH to initiate the process to become a CIOL Exam Centre, which was completed at the end of August. The first year of the course has now been completed, with great feedback!
Days morphed into weeks, and weeks, into months… And now it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when it happened. After one of the so many Translation conferences attended this year, we were invited to speak at the Translation and Localisation Conference (#TLC2020) which was going to take place in its virtual form, from Warsaw, Poland, on 15 September. Hugh and I decided to talk about Total Quality Management in the Translation Profession, and its implications for Language Service Providers (LSPs) and freelancers.
While we were preparing the topic, we received an email from the Association of Translation Companies (ATC), asking for volunteers to translate a survey of the ISO 9001 (Quality Management). This couldn’t be been better timed. Needless to say, we voiced our interest in collaborating with this project and, as a result, we were invited to become Associate Members of the ATC. What I haven’t said so far is that being an ATC member was our goal since our incorporation in 2016. A few weeks after that, two vacancies at the ATC Council were announced, which I was interested in. “Why?” you may ask. This will be material for another post.
The thing is that in order to sit on Council representing MLH, we had to become an Accredited Member first. So, there we were … in the middle of everything else… as if on a roller coaster… gathering all the relevant paperwork … all within a very short time frame. We submitted the documents for the Accredited Membership and the forms for Council. Waiting for a decision seemed like an eternity! But so many strange things happened this year that we became quite resourceful at filling our time, waiting for things to happen … Life just went on! And when we thought that nothing would happen … 2 emails in a row!
Good morning Carina,
I am very pleased to confirm approval of your application for Accredited Membership.3 November 2020, 9:10 am, from the ATC Secretariat
I hope this finds you well. The results of the ATC Council Elections are in, the votes have been tallied, and I’m very pleased to let you know that you have been elected, congratulations!
It was a close one between the three candidates but in the end the votes went 16 for Lindsay, 15 to you and 13 to Dawn.3 November 2020, 10:00 am, from the ATC CEO
I couldn’t believe my eyes!!! 😮😮🥳
I couldn’t be more happy! You see … I have never been lucky in contests, or things like that, and whenever I put myself forward for something that meant some kind of competition, I would lose. Winning this one gave such a boost of confidence! “I must be doing something right,” I thought.
11 November was my first ATC Council meeting, and it was really lovely to meet colleagues who work in other translation companies, some far more established than ours.
But a few days before the meeting, we received another email from the ATC inviting us – and a lot of other translation companies, of course – to “lead by example and send in our Language Industry Awards nominations by Tuesday 10 November.” My first reaction was “I don’t have anything extraordinary to share … only normal stuff.” And then I carried on reading, “You have faced the same challenges and had the same thoughts about how to stay relevant as all other ATC member companies – let that shine through and enter your company or your team!” And this was it! This sentence made me look back, in my mind, at 2020 since its beginnings, the goals we had set as a company, and how these had to change and adapt in the face of this pandemic. All of a sudden, I felt compelled to produce a video summarising it, and … why not send it in to enter the Language Industry Awards?
You see … I have always believed someone else had to nominate you to enter an industry award because self-nomination was a sign of narcissism, of giving you self-importance. But, the truth is that there is no one else better than YOU who knows and understands what YOU have gone through to accomplish certain things. There is no one better than YOU who knows how much it hurt to get to where you are now. So, it is YOU who is in charge of showing everyone what you have accomplished!
As an ATC Council member, it was my duty to attend the Language Industry Awards on 10 December. Of course, My Language Hub had entered the categories of New Member of the Year and Company of the Year. Why not reach for the stars, right? After all, after all the hard work we put in in the last half of 2020, I was just curious, but without any expectations.
The ceremony #atcawards2020 was lovely. Needless to say, it would have been much better to have been able to go to Edinburgh and be there in person! But well… it was not possible. And the “gruesome story of the McNab Clan” was indeed … gruesome! The moment came to reveal the result of the nominations … After the winners of Translator, Project Manager, Sales Person, Innovator of the Year, etc, categories were announced, it was the time to announce to New Member of the Year award… and Yes… No … we did not get the first prize, we did not win THE award, BUT we got a Commendation Award, which, in my opinion, at this stage is more or less the same. Let’s not forget that our journey with the ATC only started in September, and that I was not planning to enter any industry awards competition whatsoever. So, getting this Commendation Award was just … awesome! 🍾🎉
Whether you want it or not, when the Christmas season comes, you naturally start winding down, don’t you? Even though you start other projects that extend into the new year, I think it’s part of the human condition, the human psyche, to just give it a rest.
So, among recent projects that cropped up amid a period of natural recess, we received an unexpected package, or rather… an expected package that we’d forgotten we would receive … It was the ATC’s Certification Stamp, given to Accredited Members only, which enables My Language Hub to produce certified translations. A nice Christmas present!
2020 has been the beginning of an incredible journey for us, as a company. Amid so much uncertainty, resilience, strategic and out-of-the box thinking have prevailed. And I am sure we are not the only ones.
The other day I read a post on social media saying that at this stage of the year there are many people making summaries of their own achievements … but that the major achievement at the end of this crazy year is to BE ALIVE. And this is true!
2020: challenging, but what a year!
2021: so many more projects are awaiting us ahead!!
So, here’s to the old 2020!! 🥂. And all the best wishes for the coming 2021! 🍾🥂🥂🥂