Q&A with Amy Henderson, Production Manager
Amy, which languages can you speak?
My native language is English but I also speak French and Spanish. I studied French at school from the age of 11 and took up Spanish when I was 17, before continuing with both at university and spending a semester each at universities in Nice and Barcelona. French is definitely my stronger language, as I spent two years in Reims after my degree.
How did you first get into the translation business?
My background in foreign languages is the obvious answer, but there’s a little more to it. When I was living in Reims and working as an English teacher, I realised how much I love my language. I’d also always enjoyed reading and writing, and I may or may not have been described as ‘the grammar police’ once or twice. All of this made me realise that translation could be a good fit.
Once I’d finished my MA, I started applying for jobs in the industry. I didn’t feel confident enough to go freelance right away, though, and in-house translation jobs for French and Spanish are few and far between. So I decided to look for project management roles, to get a foot on the ladder and an insight into the industry, before branching out on my own.
What drew you to the management side of things?
After working as a PM for 18 months at another agency, I joined STP as an account linguist, doing a mix of both translation and project management. The plan was to eventually become a fully fledged translator. However, six months later, I decided to drop the translation side and return to full-time project management.
I felt, and still feel, that PMing offers more variety in terms of daily tasks and responsibilities. And I enjoyed how it gave me contact with a broader range of people: clients, linguists and my fellow PMs. It doesn’t suit everyone, of course, but personally I respond well to having a constant influx of requests and tasks, as opposed to long translation or revision deadlines.
The same is true now that I’m a production manager, managing client accounts and a team of PMs rather than projects. Though I work less with linguists these days, there’s still so much variety in my job – and so many different personalities – that I could never be bored.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working with so many smart, talented people from all over Europe.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Since spending a few summers working in a vintage-themed tea shop in my home town, and in a sandwich shop at uni, I’ve dreamed of owning my own café or deli. I’ve always loved providing a service and making people feel looked after.
Your colleagues know you as a brilliant baker. Where does your culinary flair and love of good food come from?
I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but my travels around Europe opened my eyes to so many wonderful food cultures and traditions.
When I was studying abroad, I started experimenting with different ingredients, getting inspiration from what was local to each place. Cooking with local, seasonal produce is something I’m passionate about. There’s so much great food produced in the UK and Europe that we don’t need to air-freight stringy mangetout from Kenya or woody asparagus from Peru.
What would you bake for your favourite client or freelancer?
Right now my fruit bowl is full of Italian blood oranges, so I’d make an almond and polenta upside-down cake with caramelised blood oranges.
If you could have another job for just one day, what would it be?
I’d love to work in a fancy restaurant kitchen for a day. I’d probably be terrible, but it’d be so interesting to see all the different processes and hi-tech equipment, and get involved in creating some new dishes.
How do you unwind after a busy day?
In the evenings I tend to just chill out – cook some nice food and watch a film. I swim a lot to destress, but I go early in the morning, before work, and it sets me up for the day.
Where is your favourite place to be?
By the sea. There’s something restorative and calming about watching the waves and breathing in the sea air. I grew up on the coast and I try to go back at least a couple of times a year to reconnect and take it all in.
Do you have any language-related pet peeves?
Misuse of apostrophes. Did I mention that I’m a fully subscribed member of the grammar police?
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career?
How useful it would’ve been to study German.
Describe STP in one word