Beth Gardner, MA Conference Interpreting and Translation Studies

Beth Gardner

What course did you study, what made you apply for that particular one and why did you choose Leeds?

I studied for a BA Hons in French and Italian at undergraduate level, before going on to do an MA in Conference Interpreting and Translation Studies. I chose Leeds for my undergraduate years due to the Italian studies excellent reputation, while for the MA, Leeds was one of only three universities in the UK which offered an interpreting course that was approved by the European Union institutions.

What is it that made you passionate about your area of study?

I have always loved languages and been fascinated by them. I also love travelling and I think that getting to know the language of a place enables you to better understand its culture. At a young age, I was a keen writer and being able to express yourself in another language just opens up so many possibilities.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?

The best thing has to be the year abroad. That year determined the rest of my life. I am now living in Italy, which I am sure wouldn’t have happened without the year abroad, and I made some great friendships along the way. As for the MA, the trip to the EU headquarters in Brussels was a real eye-opener.

Did you work closely with a particular tutor or member of the academic staff?

Yes, I remember doing one module in particular with Chiara La Sala about minority languages and dialects in Italy. It was never something I had really considered or been specifically interested in before, but she managed to transfer her enthusiasm in such a way that I would love to work with her again and maybe one day do a PhD in the subject.

What have you been doing in your career since finishing the course?

I did an internship funded by the EU for six months at a translation agency in Barcelona. I had a great time there and also discovered how much I enjoy editing. I then moved to Italy where I worked for four years as a personal assistant and marketing coordinator, organising trade fair events and getting involved in quality control. Since then, I have set up my own company, specialising in translation, editing, copywriting and consultancy.

How do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds have helped you in your career?

Of course, the languages I learnt during my undergrad studies have played a significant role in my life and career in general. Instead, the MA taught me many important, transferable skills that I now use on a daily basis. Considering how tough the course is, I think one of the best things I learnt from it was how to fail and pick myself up again. It’s certainly something that has served me well in life since then!