09 Feb 2023

ITI Profile: Tessa Jay Saville

In the latest of our ITI Profile series, we talk to Tessa Jay Saville, one of the two students awarded 'Best in class' on the 2022 Setting Up as a Freelance Translator course.


Course tutors voted for Tessa based on her course work, and the contribution she made to the sessions and group discussions. Here she talks about how she came to be a translator, her experience of the SUFT programme and what she gains from being a member of ITI.
Tessa Jay Saville.jpg

Why did you decide to change career and become a translator?

I’ve studied languages on and off through school and for fun since I was 10 and I’ve always really loved that feeling you get when a new grammar point suddenly clicks, or you read something in another language without having to look up any words. I was a good few years into my career in beauty services when I started to miss languages.

I started thinking about translation, studying Spanish again and even picked up German as a third language, and was wondering if I could possibly go back to university part-time. In the end, the salon I was working in went into administration in 2020 and we all lost our jobs and that was the final sign I needed to push me back to university and make a change.

What aspects of your MA in Translation Studies did you enjoy most?

Meeting other people who enjoy learning languages was a completely new experience for me. Usually, whenever you talk to people they say, “Oh I wish I could learn another language but I’m no good at it,” or something along those lines, and they never quite understand the satisfaction that learning a new language brings. Of course, my tutors and course mates were all excellent and I particularly enjoyed our weekly translation class where we’d sit and discuss the minutiae of our translation choices, but for me, half the fun was joining a new community of people exactly like me!

Why did you decide to enrol on the SUFT course?

It took me a long time to decide, it obviously sounded brilliant (and it was!) but the cost was a huge factor for me since I’d only been working part-time during university. I knew how to run a business from an administrative point of view, as I’d been self-employed for a number of years beforehand, but I really didn’t know what it meant to be a freelancer with the potential to work with clients all around the world, to really need to market my services, or even what the industry truly looked like. What gave me the final nudge was the pacing of the course. I felt like I would make more progress, be more focussed, and do so in much less time than I would without the help of the SUFT tutors.

How do you feel you gained most from taking part in the course?

Confidence can sometimes be a struggle for me, and working through the assignments, which are tasks that are genuinely valuable to you as a new business owner, and receiving positive feedback and encouragement from the tutors was a real boost. It gives you a belief that you are doing things right, and if you’re not, you know why and what to do to correct your path. The tutors have a wealth of knowledge to share, and they are genuinely cheering you on from the sidelines the whole time.

How did you feel when you heard you had been named Best in Class?

I couldn’t believe it! I actually punched the air when I read the email. The work that everyone else on the course produced was so inspiring! I knew that I’d tried my best so to be told that the tutors recognised how hard I was trying was wonderful. I am beyond grateful for this course, the tutors, and my new memoQ licence.

Why do you think it’s important to be a member of a professional association like ITI?

As I’ve said, I really enjoy a sense of community, so not only does it show professionalism, but it’s been a great way to meet and learn from other translators who share a language or a specialism. ITI offers great CPD opportunities (and the fact they email me about them is a great reminder to actually sign up for some when tasks like CPD can easily fall to the bottom of the to-do list). I’ve also loved being part of ITI's Beauty, Fashion and Luxury Network. I hope to be able to put the letters ‘MITI’ after my name in years to come!

Can you tell us about a piece of work you are particularly proud of?

One thing we learned on the SUFT course is the importance of specialising and finding your niche, but I never truly appreciated how true this is until I started working in my specialism. I translated some marketing material and blog posts for a beauty services training academy, and it made such a difference to already have the industry knowledge. It not only made a difference to the text itself as I received excellent feedback, which was really encouraging, but also to how I felt as I worked on it. It felt like a breeze because I was so confident that I knew what I was talking about!

You can connect with Tessa on LinkedIn

How do I apply?

The SUFT course is on hold at the moment. Sign up to the waiting list below and we'll let you know when registration opens.