language professionals


Business Language Champions’ Sally Fagan, who recently won the Threlford Memorial Cup, was delighted to receive another accolade recently, when she was made an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.


Sally was presented with the fellowship following the delivery of her inspiring Threlford Lecture on leadership in languages, in which she made the case for anyone who was in a position to encourage and motivate others as to the importance of learning languages to take every opportunity to do so.


Sally Fagan delivers Threlford Memorial Lecture


We are all very proud of Sally and the hard work she and the rest of the BLC team and volunteers put in to help raise awareness of the importance of language skills and though Sally admits it was totally unexpected, we are delighted that she has been rewarded in this way and there has been lots of positive feedback so far.  Well done Sally!


In the final post from our series of blogs by Professional Translator Luisa Kearney we share Luisa’s view of life as a translator:


“Since moving to Bulgaria, I have always been involved with translating and interpreting and it was always something that I loved to do. In some ways, having had experience working as a translator and a language teacher, I see numerous similarities between being a translator and being an English language teacher. Both roles are similar in the way that you are helping people, either by teaching your students a new language or by helping your clients understand a language that they cannot understand and therefore assist them with being able to communicate with ease, despite the language barrier.


My teaching career ended after two years in the field because I had been lucky enough to work with more or less every age group possible during my time as a teacher – from babies from as young as 8 months old to adults of 64 years old starting evening classes. I continued to receive translation tasks from various acquaintances I had met during my time living in Bulgaria and so I decided to make translating my full-time job, as translating was really my true interest and passion. So I took the plunge and put all my energy into developing a business and career as a freelance translator.


Now, a few years on I am still working as a freelance Bulgarian to English translator and am very happy with my chosen career. Since becoming a translator, I have became a member of the ITI organisation, joined online translation job databases and now work with both direct clients and agencies. Working as a translator is very enjoyable and it can be very interesting too. It is always very rewarding to have done a good job on a project and to know that you have made your clients happy too. Translation is more than just translating one language to another word for word, as it requires knowledge and experience of culture and language at the same time so that you can relay the message naturally so that it reads well in the language it is being translated into (aka the target text).


To sum up, I think the subject field of languages is a broad and developing area, not to mention important. When you really think about it, there are many ways in which you can use a language because languages are all around us all of the time. In addition, one of the best things about pursuing an interest or career in languages is that you can combine your language skills with something else you are interested in too. For example, you could become a bilingual member of a sports team or fashion company… the list and number of opportunities are endless! Not only can you pursue careers with the knowledge of languages, but you can also learn so much by communicating with people who speak your second language as their native language. No matter how young or old you are, it always looks impressive when you can write that you have knowledge of or experience with languages on your CV!”
Luisa Kearney is CEO of Best Online Translator


In the second part of our series of blogs from Luisa Kearney – CEO of Best Online Translator and Associate Member of the ITI – Luisa shares her view that there are endless opportunities when it comes to working with languages.


“In the beginning of my life in Bulgaria, the thought of practicing my language skills was frightening and although I was able to understand and translate Bulgarian into English, I was very shy when it came to speaking the language to native Bulgarians. This is because it was new to me and it felt uncomfortable because I had never in my life spoken to anybody in a language that was their native language but not my own. Gradually, I became more confident at speaking. However, making friends was difficult for me because despite being able to communicate with people, finding people to communicate with in the rural area where I was living at the time was difficult. There were people that I could speak to but not as many as there were in a busier area.


After living in Bulgaria for just a couple of months, through some of the people I had met in the village where I lived at the time, I was offered the chance to do some conversational classes in English at an English language school in one of the nearby towns. I accepted the offer immediately and would do classes of between 3 and 6 hours per week. I had just turned 16 years old at the time and was incredibly pleased that, despite the fact I had no qualifications in teaching English as a second language or any previous experience in teaching English, I was getting paid reasonable money to simply talk and ask questions to different classes of English students of a similar age to me (or younger). I never stopped practicing and perfecting my Bulgarian language and would use my skills on frequent translation projects that I was given by fellow expats in the area and by people who wanted a native English speaker to translate a Bulgarian text in to English for them. I also did some part-time interpreting work too, but at the same time I loved working at the English school as well.


By the end of my first year in Bulgaria and almost a year after I had originally started working as an English language teacher, I trained on the job and took a TEFL course. I started working more hours as an ESL teacher. Due to the fact that British English is my native language, I was given many exciting new opportunities, such as:


  • Getting involved in ‘Baby English’ classes where a colleague and I played with babies of around 8 months old whilst constantly speaking in English to them in the hope that they would begin to grasp English in the same way that they were starting to learn their native language – Bulgarian.
  • I recorded part of a radio advertisement (on Bulgarian radio) for the English school that I worked at, advertising that I was a native English speaker working at the school, something of which is important to foreign language learners.
  • Whilst working at the same school I was given permission by my boss to set up a regular Saturday morning club called ‘Only in English’ where children would come and take part in creative activities , such as drama which was a new topic for Bulgarian schools, whilst only speaking and practicing their English. Before each session I would learn a simple, new and fun activity that I could share with the children, such as face painting, role play, origami, dance and much more. The club was a huge hit and enabled the children to learn and develop a richer vocabulary of English in a more enjoyable way.
  • I also recorded audio materials for an online distance learning English course and edited the written materials for the course too.

Many of these opportunities were a result of me being a native English speaker but the fact that I spoke Bulgarian as well, differentiated me from a lot of the other non-Bulgarian people who lived in the area”
Luisa Kearney is CEO of Best Online Translator


Over the next three weeks we are going to bring you a series of blogs from Luisa Kearney – CEO of Best Online Translator and Associate Member of the ITI.  Luisa will share her experiences of learning languages, living and working in Bulgaria and life as a translator.  We are really grateful to Luisa for sharing her experiences.
Luisa Kearney


“In the US alone, the translation industry is set to grow by a rapid 42% by the year 2020. There are a total of between 6, 000 and 7, 000 different languages in the world today. It is thought that at least half of the world’s population is either bilingual or multilingual. To sum up, language plays a huge part in the way in which our world and everyday lives function.


An average working day for me as a freelance translator involves: checking my emails and getting back to clients and other contacts, translating text documents for a specific deadline, proofreading documents – either a plain text in English or a text that has been translated from Bulgarian into English, updating my website and social networking pages, contacting new and current clients, as well as accounting tasks and other small jobs that need to be completed.


I started to learn Bulgarian whilst I was still at school in the UK, as my parents, sister and I had been planning to relocate from England to Bulgaria for quite some time. Whilst still living in England, excited about starting a new life in Bulgaria, I learned as much as I could about Bulgaria and learned as much as I could of the language because I just wanted to use my time completing any kind of activity that was related to starting my new life in Bulgaria. After finally moving with my family to Bulgaria, it was then that I really got to use my language skills and develop my knowledge of my native language, English and my second language, Bulgarian.


I know and have experienced personally, the numerous ways in which being involved in languages can help you and can open up so many new and exciting opportunities for people everywhere. In the past decade, language has become a particularly large and important part of my life in a very obvious way. During this time, I have learned a new language, moved abroad, worked as an English language teacher and set up a business as a freelance translator. Although I have always had a huge interest in learning languages, visiting foreign countries and experiencing different cultures, I never planned a career in languages but I am very pleased with the way things worked out for me!”

Luisa Kearney is CEO of Best Online Translator