E.g., 04/05/2020
E.g., 04/05/2020

Student Rising Stars – The Language Industry Needs YOU!

By: Burckhardt Rueffer (CEO) and Miguel Sevener (Account Manager, 2014 Rising Star Winner) - BeatBabel

05 December 2016

For the last few years, GALA and the European Master’s in Translation (EMT) Network have been teaming up to offer a student in translation, localization, or interpreting the opportunity to attend GALA’s annual Language of Business conference. I was lucky enough to be one of the two winners of the very first edition of the Rising Stars contest and this turned out to be the best career opportunity I’ve ever had.

I’m not going to lie, navigating the turbulent waters of a business conference all on your own as a Master’s student is not easy, but it is almost impossible not to make new friends and acquaintances at GALA. I was soon welcomed into the industry and met my current employers (and friends) Marie Flacassier and Burckhardt Rueffer, of BeatBabel.

Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to continue attending yearly conferences and strengthening my relationships with colleagues. And every time I see familiar faces, I have to explain where I stand professionally, from “guest student” in Istanbul 2014, to “Account Manager” for BeatBabel’s European operations at Tekom, in Stuttgart 2016.

The Rising Star contest is going for its 4th edition this year, incorporating some format changes but maintaining its incredibly valuable prize: the chance to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the Language Industry and to become engaged in discussing the direction our profession is moving in.

I cannot encourage you enough to enter a submission for this contest, not only because it could kick-start your career in the Language Industry, but also because the Industry needs to hear the voice of its young professionals. I never get tired of saying it: reversing some of the negative trends we have seen in lower and lower rates and the decreased importance of quality over speed and cost will necessarily involve our next generation of translators and language service providers. Students, we need YOU at the next GALA conference to hear your thoughts on preparing future professionals for the industry we want, not necessarily the industry we have. And the way to get there is submitting an essay for Rising Star 2017.

But that’s enough from me. Let’s hear the other side of this story: Burckhardt Rueffer is the CEO of BeatBabel and he will share some of his thoughts on why he decided to give an opportunity to a Master’s student who was hungry to learn the ropes of the Industry.

Miguel Sevener is an Account Manager at BeatBabel. Biology graduate turned translator, Miguel decided he would rather be a translator with research skills than a scientist with language skills. Miguel took the leap to translation through the Master's Degree in Intercultural Communication, Translation and Interpreting for the Public Services at Universidad de Alcalá de Henares UAH (Madrid, Spain). He won the 2014 GALA Rising Star Contest. You can see his winning video submission here



When we came to the GALA conference in Istanbul in 2014, we did not expect to meet students, even less a student like Miguel, so well prepared for the challenges of the Language Industry. Istanbul was one of the first conferences that opened its doors to students, to not only learn from “real life” examples but learn from presentations and - most importantly - engage with participants from different backgrounds.

That year, Hans Fenstermacher of GALA and Inkaliisa Vihonen of the European Commision’s Directorate-General for Translation presented us two young students with strong ideas and a passion for translation. We were lucky to meet them both while attending the KnowledgeFest and learn more about them and their universities.

My colleague, Marie Flacassier, who came in to the industry through an internship many years ago was quite impressed with the EMT’s efforts and is a strong proponent of integrating language students into the professional world as early as possible. And thus, after many engaging conversations at the conference, Miguel became an integral part of our team.

The work of the EMT represented by Inkaliisa is something quite unique in that it offers many opportunities to students to learn outside of academia.

Some 25 or 30 years ago, working in the field of localization meant to learn many new skills, often by trial and error. Although translation had its established curricula at schools, localization was a fairly new discipline that required a whole new skill set to be taught. Fortunately, schools stepped in and worked hard to prepare students for their careers in the Language Industry.

The Rising Star Contest demonstrates the quality of education and training for professionals who want to work in this exciting field. And it gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet the next generation of industry leaders!

All of us here at BeatBabel are excited about the program. Please enter your submission and show us that you are the next Rising Star. And perhaps we can welcome you as a new colleague soon…

Burckhardt Rueffer grew up in Germany and the US. He holds degrees in Computer Science, Graphic and Industrial Design, as well as Social Sciences. In the late 80s, he became the co-founder of one the industry's first localization companies. Over the years since, he has experienced first-hand the coming and going of many tools and trends that define our business. In 2008, he co-founded BeatBabel in San Diego and continues to enjoy his passion for international communication.