Five years in the translation industry – my story

Updated: Apr 5

Last Wednesday, 30 March 2022, marked five years of my freelance translation journey. Although it’d started earlier than that, with lots of volunteering and one-off paid assignments, my career truly started with an interpreting training session run by Global Language Services.


I stayed on the freelance interpreting team for just a few months, until I realised this type of work wasn't for me. In the meantime, I started my master’ in Translation Studies and got my first translation client.


To celebrate five years as I translator, I’m launching an Updates section on my website, with news and posts relevant to both my clients and colleagues.



 

What can you expect?

If you’re my existing client or consider purchasing my services, you might be interested in updates related to Continuous Professional Development, Recent Projects, Case Studies, Services and Specialisation Spotlights, to name a few.


Translation and Interpreting colleagues might want to keep an eye on posts about Freelance Life, Translation Practice, Business Insights and more.


For now, I’ll leave you with a timeline of my translation adventure.



 

The pre-translator phase


Alicja – a white woman wearing a black winter jacket, grey jeans, blue scarf and turquoise hat – poses in front of Glasgow Cathedral, which is being renovated.

September 2009:

I move to Glasgow to study Spanish and French


Alicja – a white woman wearing a white and orange stripy playsuit, white converse shoes and sunglasses with pink frames – poses in front of a yellow and blue wall of tiles, She's holding a plastic bottle filled  with water. It's a sunny day.

September 2011:

I start my year abroad in Barcelona


Alicja – a white woman with blonde hair with pale blue tips – is posing on the day of her graduation. She's wearing a dress with a black shirt and white top, a graduation gown and a purple graduation hood. She's wearing red lipstick and black eyeliner. There is a tree in the background and quite a few people.

June 2014:

I graduate from the University of Glasgow

in Spanish and Comparative Literature (MA Hons)



 

The early translator phase


A green pin with the slogan "This is what a translator looks like" sits in front of a metal plant pot. They both sit on a red table cloth covered in a leaf pattern.

March 2017:

I complete my first interpreting job,

followed by my first translation project


A painting of a white blond boy holding a stuck of books on a white wall. He's wearing a grey shirt, a brown sleeveless jumper and brown trousers.

September 2017:

I come back to the University of Glasgow

to complete a master's course in Translation Studies


Glasgow riverside, with the crane and the Clyde Arc

December 2017:

I join the Institute of Translation and Interpreting's

Scottish Network (ScotNet)



Alicja – a white woman with dark blond hair, wearing a mustard jumper, a mini black skirt, pink and orange leggings, grey sport shoes and a black leather jacket – is posing in the University of Glasgow cloisters. She's smiling at the camera, holding her dissertation.

September 2019:

I submit my MSc dissertation project,

in which I focus on gender-inclusive language



 

The fully fledged translator phase


Alicja – a white woman with blond hair dressed in a red wine 3/4 sleeved top – poses in the European Parliament chamber. She's at the speaker's podium, holding her hands up and looking up with a smile. Behind her, there are all the EU national flags and a big EU flag.

October 2019:

I move to Luxembourg where I complete

a five-month translation traineeship at the European Parliament



A pair of white hands holding up a graduation hat and a diploma.

December 2019:

I graduate (in absentia)

and receive the MSc degree in Translation Studies



March 2020:

Upon my return to Glasgow,

I begin to translate and subtitle full-time;

shortly afterwards, I become an Associate member of ITI,

and a CIOL Member, as well as Chartered Linguist



A webinar title page screenshot. It reads: Język inkluzywny: tłumaczenie na miarę naszych czasów; Alicja Tokarska, Polka Dot Translations...

December 2020:

I present an inclusive language webinar

to the ITI's Polish Network;

later as a result our network receives ITI's Award for

Best Network Event or Initiative



May 2021:

I join the ITI Polish Network committee

Upper row, L to R:

Agata McCrindle, Network Coordinator

Kate Sotejeff-Wilson, Deputy Coordinator and Secretary

Alicja Tokarska, Events Coordinator


Lower row, L to R:

Jadwiga Ruchlewska, Membership Secretary

Kasia Beresford, Treasurer

Jadzia Sinoradzka, Social Media Coordinator



 

What's next?

My business is definitely here to stay. Over the years, I've been developing my skill set, perfecting my knowledge and creating my translation community.


My upcoming plans include passing the MITI assessment and attending the ITI Conference in May. If you want to follow the rest of my journey, make sure to stay up to date with the Updates section!

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