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Harry Dooner

Harry Dooner, Freelance Interpreter and Translator

BA German and Spanish (2014)

Harry graduated in Modern Languages in 2014 and is currently working as a Freelance Interpreter and Translator from German and Spanish into English.

To reveal expert advice from Harry, click on the questions below.

When I was in my final year at Exeter, I still had no idea what I wanted to do or where I would be in six months' time. I decided to take part in the Translation Business Project organised by the Modern Languages Department because I thought it would look good on my CV. It was during this project that I had a light bulb moment and realised that a career in translation would be great for me because I could use my languages on a daily basis and get paid for it.

It's hard to say. Each day is different. I try to keep to a routine but due to the very nature of the career, I find that I have to be flexible. For example, one day I might have to be at my desk at 06:00 but the following day I know I won’t have to start translating until 11:00. On average, I still work an 8-hour day but I have more control over when I work and what I do during those hours. Usually, if I'm not translating, I'm working on expanding my client base, ensuring that my accounts are up-to-date or trying to improve my overall productivity. I've come to realise that when you are self-employed, it's quite hard to just leave your work at the office and forget about it at the end of the day.

Start looking for postgraduate courses. Nowadays it's very hard to find paid work without some sort of postgraduate qualification in translating. There are also countless translation volunteering opportunities which are ideal for undergraduates. NGOs in particular are always on the lookout for individuals who are willing to provide translations free-of-charge. Not only does this look good on your CV but the work also tends to be interesting and it is for a good cause.

Make the most of the resources available to you here on campus. This might mean taking part in extracurricular projects organised by your department, popping into the Career Zone for a chat about your CV or an application or even just asking one of your tutors for a reference. You'll be surprised at how many doors will open for you just from doing one of these things.