On 16 June 2021, Sandberg marked the 25th work anniversary of Trixie Lignel Hauberg, Lead Danish Translator and the company’s longest-serving employee. Interviewed by Anu Carnegie-Brown, Managing Director of Sandberg, Trixie gave us an insight into the many challenges, changes and joys of working at Sandberg over the years.

Paving the way to today

Choosing your career path can take time and a lot of thought, and that’s exactly what Trixie gave her decision.

Between finishing her college studies and deciding on a master’s course, Trixie spent four years making the most of her time with learning opportunities and gaining further experience. She completed a language course in Paris, worked with children and spent time travelling, among other things.

After those four years, Trixie enrolled on a Master’s in Specialised Language for Business. Upon completing her degree she was awarded the title of state-authorised translator. This paved the way for a career that would continuously challenge and reward her over the years.

In terms of work, Trixie found the perfect place for her in the translation and localisation industry. Her first job was with a software localisation company in Denmark, and upon hearing of an opening with Sandberg, she took the opportunity.

Twenty-five years later, Trixie is still here with us as our Lead Danish Translator and holds the proud title of longest-serving employee.

The 3 Ds

When asked how she would describe Sandberg in just three words, Trixie didn’t skip a beat: “dedicated, dynamic and diverse”.

Sandberg is dedicated, dynamic and diverse

Sandberg’s dedication is clear as day when you are always “surrounded by people with a lot of enthusiasm for languages.” Management also plays its part with a continuously positive and encouraging attitude.

Sandberg is dynamic in its ability to adapt to new situations, and Covid-19 has led to some of the biggest changes to working life. Long before this global pandemic, however, there were gradual but equally significant developments needed to keep pace with technological changes. Sandberg has always been quick to adapt to the latest tools, such as computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools and the use of machine translation (MT).

Finally, Trixie explains that Sandberg’s diversity stems from the great efforts made towards representing an ever-growing variety of countries and cultures within its workforce.

Call the alliteration coincidence if you wish, but we think this just goes to show the depth of Trixie’s natural skill with languages.

A day in the life of a translator

For those of you who may not know much about a translator’s typical working day, Trixie gave us the lowdown.

The process begins with the project manager, who is responsible for assigning linguistic tasks. The translator then checks the content and deadline to make sure they have enough time to deliver their best work before accepting the job. Once accepted, it’s time to get started.

Translators will use various tools to facilitate the translation process, and CAT tools  – such as Trados Studio, Memsource or memoQ – give translators easy access to term bases and translation memories (TM) which help to accelerate the translation process and ensure a consistent, high-quality translation.

Once translated, a series of automated checks are performed in these same CAT tools. The translation is then sent to a second linguist for revision. If the reviser is a fellow “in-houser”, terms and translation choices can be discussed together, which is great for developing linguistic skills and knowledge.

When the revision is complete, the job will either be sent back to the original translator for a final review or it will be delivered straight to the client.

What’s the problem?

I’ve had to swallow some camels – Trixie

Any job can throw out a problem to solve now and then. Interestingly, however, when it comes to translation work, Trixie explains that the hardest things she has had to deal with haven’t been work-related. Instead, the biggest challenge she has had to face concerns developments in the Danish language itself. To give an example, the Danish language is heavily influenced by English – what with the internet making the English language much more accessible to all.  it can be difficult to not only implement the new English-esque grammatical structures, but actually accept them as being the “new normal”.

Even though she has had to “swallow some camels”, as the Danes might say, Trixie was quick to reassure us that once you have mastered the various translation tools and systems used at Sandberg, the work itself is generally quite straightforward!

Changing with the times

In 25 years, Sandberg has been shaped and reshaped by all manner of changes. On the one hand there are those that are natural and gradual as the company develops; changes that are almost unnoticeable until you look back on things. But on the other hand, Trixie highlighted some changes that have been much more tangible.

Trixie shared her initial apprehensions concerning the game changer that is CAT tools. Like many other translators she feared that this technology would be detrimental to linguists. Would they suck the joy out of translating? Would they start to replace translators as these CAT tools became ever more sophisticated? Was the goal to remove the human from the translation equation entirely?

In the end, no. As it turns out, when it comes to CAT tools, it’s all in the name: they “assist”. As they became more integrated into the everyday workflows and translation processes, Trixie realised that CAT tools and MT can be very beneficial. These tools facilitate tasks with regard to consistency and speed of production, amongst other advantages.

Skilled linguists still have an important role to play

Even when MT can deliver a high-quality translation, it still needs human input and thorough editing before it can be delivered safely to a client. So, it is clear that skilled linguists still have an important and necessary role to play.

Hidden talents

One of the joys of working as a translator is that the projects are always varied and a new challenge is never far away. But just like with any job, you need some downtime.

One pastime Trixie enjoys outside of work is music: both singing and, on occasion, composing! And while Trixie is very humble when it comes to her musical talents, her skill as a composer and lyricist won her first place in a hymn writing competition!

If the past 25 years at Sandberg weren’t proof enough of Trixie’s loyalty and dedication, then her hobbies certainly drive the point home. Twenty-five years of hard work with the same company is a testament in itself. But, add 20 years of singing in the same choir and it’s clear that Trixie sticks with what she loves.

When things are bad…

…They’re not that bad for long! According to Trixie, the best source of motivation is when things simply fall into place: projects and technology run smoothly, and the client gets a high-quality product delivered right on time.

But on days when a silver lining is particularly hard to find, you can always count on your colleagues at Sandberg. There’s always someone on hand to crack a couple of jokes or send a few choice memes that hit the spot and put a smile back on your face.

After 25 years, it’s clear that it’s really the little things in life and work that make it all great.

So, there’s really just one final thing to say: from all of us here at Sandberg, thank you Trixie for your continuous hard work and dedication over these last 25 years! Here’s to many more projects, challenges and good times to come. 

Danish language, Translation technology, Working at Sandberg