ITI Profile: Tiffany Williams Affiliate
We talk to Tiffany Williams, an ITI Affiliate member, about changing careers, studying for an MA and taking her first steps in her new career.
I have recently completed a Master’s in Translation Studies at the University of Birmingham, after a lifetime of fascination with languages. Translation is nonetheless an ongoing career change for me. I did a BA in English and French at the University of Warwick, after taking A-levels in French and Spanish. I enjoyed my translation classes, but I got a lot of mixed impressions of the profession (You need at least three languages; it’s Madame Bovary or tiresome washing machine manuals) and thought I could never do it. I did a CELTA course to teach English as a foreign language, but then changed tracks when I got a place on a county council’s project management graduate scheme. From there I worked in project management in the public and charity sector, particularly focusing on health and social care.
I probably wasn’t cut out to be a teacher; I was very timid then and struggled with the presentation aspect of the job, and I take a lot of personal satisfaction in the project manager’s continuous mission to keep complexities under control and make processes smarter. However, I missed the creative freedom of teaching, and the way I could bring myself to job. By this point I had been learning French and Spanish on and off for more than half my life, and so ‘languages’ were very much part of ‘myself’. This desire for a change in my life, and a return to languages, was what inspired me to enrol in the MA at Birmingham.
I enjoyed every minute of it. I focused on texts related to healthcare and literature, as suited my background, but I also got into doing my voluntary translations for European student magazine The New Federalist, which gave me experience in researching a wide range of topics and kept my mind open. In 2021 I had the pleasure of being part of a translation team for the Geneva International Model United Nations Conference, and it was great to do the work in the company of others.
Meeting other people in the language industry is one of the main reasons I joined ITI as a student and have stayed on as an Affiliate now that I have graduated and found a job at an LSP. More importantly it is also a friendly community I am happy to be a part of, and I know I still have plenty to learn.
As a Student member Tiffany took part in our Now we're talking initiative where those just entering the profession get the opportunity to talk to more experienced members about their experiences.