Made in England

 Chateau de MartragnyI was born and bred in the university city of Oxford, England, where I left school with A-levels in French, Latin and Mathematics. I went on to Christ's College First Courtstudy Modern Languages at Christ’s College, Cambridge, specialising in French and Dutch (the latter no doubt inspired by a family connection). During my time at Cambridge, I spent a year abroad as a language assistant in Annecy, France, and also spent the summer months each year working on a château campsite in Normandy.

In 1978, I moved to Groningen, the Netherlands, to take on a part-time post as an assistant lecturer with the university’s English Department. My main reason for doing so was that, although I had studied modern and medieval Dutch literature at Cambridge, I really needed to improve my spoken Dutch, which was pretty poor. Spending some time in the Netherlands seemed like a good idea. Little was I to know that I’d still be around over 30 years later.

After spending two hugely enjoyable years giving drama classes to second-year students and editing and contributing to the department magazine, I decided that the time had come to try and find a ‘proper job’. My next destination was Nijmegen, where I worked for Vertaalbureau Bothof as a translator and revisor for three years. It was a brilliant apprenticeship, as it gave me an opportunity to work on a tremendously wide range of material under the guidance of a highly experienced mentor.

ING gebouw In 1983, I moved to ING in Amsterdam (then known as NMB Bank), to work as a staff translator with the bank’s in-house translation department. Surrounded by masses of linguistic and technical expertise, I earned my spurs as a financial and legal translator, working on reports, speeches, staff magazines, loan contracts – in fact, anything that came our way. I took a a series of specialist courses during my time with NMB Bank, including two self-study courses at the Netherlands Institute of Banking and two summer courses in English law, which I attended at Oxford University and the University of Surrey (Guildford).

Five years later, in 1988, I was offered (and accepted) a post as an English lecturer at the Dutch National College of Translation in the southern Dutch town of Maastricht. As I was to discover, Maastricht rightly deserves its VAC-web-logoHSZreputation as one of the country’s most welcoming and sociable cities. My responsibilities included classroom teaching, the individual supervision of final-year students and curriculum development. Another five years later, I embarked on a freelance practice as an English translator and editor. Initially, this was on a part-time basis, but in 1996, I took the plunge as a fully self-employed practitioner. I have not looked back since then!

I specialise both in financial translation and in more creative work on brochures, staff magazines, newsletters and so forth. As a partner in Teamwork, I run courses, workshops and conferences for translators in conjunction with my business partner, Marcel Lemmens.

Boring but important

And, finally, the more humdrum bits:

Membership of examination boards

1991-2001 External examiner, Sittard Business School.
1993-1997 Member of English board of examiners, Dutch national examinations in translation and interpretation (‘staatsexamens’).
1996-2001 Member of English board of examiners, Dutch national examinations in translation and interpretation (‘SNEVT’).
2010 Member of English board of examiners, pilot examinations scheme for National Register of Sworn Translators and Interpreters.

Additional information