STP’s Learning and Development Manager Raisa McNab joined the company as a fresh graduate in 2003. Ten years later, she volunteered to become an ISO liaison for the Association of Translation Companies (ATC). Last year, she stepped up to represent STP on the Association’s Council.
In October 2018, she takes on the mantle of the Chief Executive of the ATC, leading the nationwide association together with its Council, Chair and Secretariat. We sat down with Raisa to talk about her new role.
First of all, congratulations! This is exciting news!
I think so too! It’s a big challenge for me but I’m very excited and very much looking forward to taking the ATC forward.
What does your new role entail?
The idea behind the CEO role is to bring translation industry expertise and insight into the Association’s focus and activities. The volunteer Council members and Chair already contribute a great deal towards this, of course, but the CEO is someone who’s employed to do exactly that.
This is a new role within the ATC, right?
Yes. Before, there was a General Secretary role. The new CEO role is building on that legacy. But instead of one person and the team trying to share everything, the functions of the CEO and the secretariat will now be separate.
How do you see the ATC’s role in the industry?
The ATC is well-placed to be a true UK-wide authority for the translation industry. It’s the only association in the UK representing translation companies and it’s a well-established, trusted organisation.
Is there anything specific that you are really looking forward to?
I’m really interested in developing the ATC’s partnerships with other associations and organisations. I’d like to work on increasing collaboration with other translation and interpreting organisations and other organisations whose interests and goals are aligned with ours.
I am also keen to get to know ATC members better. A huge challenge professionally for me will be to work on developing the ATC’s government lobbying initiatives.
What does lobbying entail for the ATC?
The ATC can act as an expert advisor in public sector procurement and for government agencies in matters that relate to translation and interpreting.
Another key task for our industry is promoting language learning in the UK. The number of students choosing to study foreign languages has been on the decline for a long time. Young people studying languages is crucial to keep the industry going.
We could also lobby for a more specific goal, such as safeguarding our industry and protecting our talent pool with regard to Brexit. I’m looking forward to starting to shape what the ATC’s public-sector influence will look like in the future together with the Council.
How did you become involved with the ATC?
STP has been involved with the ATC for many years. The founder and the owner of STP, Jesper Sandberg, is a former Council member and Vice Chair as well.
My involvement started when I became more interested in translation industry ISO standards. In 2008, I was in charge of implementing the translation services standard ISO 15038 at STP. Later, I had the idea of building on that knowledge through the ATC’s standards work.
I volunteered as the ATC’s ISO liaison and became involved in their ISO commenting group. I became a Council member and then their Lead on Standards. And that eventually resulted in managing the launch of the ATC’s ISO certification service.
How will things change now for you and for STP?
The ATC CEO role is a part-time role, so I’ll split my time between the ATC and STP. In practice, this means that I’ll scale back on my duties at STP. I’ll focus more on strategic projects and HR and relinquish some of my other management duties to facilitate that.
What kinds of changes would you like to see in the industry?
Technology will play a huge part in shaping our industry in the next 5–10 years. We have an important role in determining how it changes the way we work.
We have our work cut out in getting to a point where all the parties in the industry are seen to have a critical role in building the whole. It’s not about translation companies against freelancer translators. I would like to see our clients – both commercial and public-sector clients – our suppliers and the technology companies working together to build the industry collaboratively.
We need to promote our role in the global communication services network, in the eyes of the rest of the world and within our own industry. One of our shortcomings is that we talk too much amongst ourselves. The ATC aims to open up the industry and demonstrate our relevance to the global economy. We need to make more noise about how crucial our services are.
What practical steps need to be taken in your opinion?
We need to work on our PR and marketing. We need to reach out to the different stakeholders in the different sectors – we can contribute to their discussions and become their advisors.
As translation industry professionals, we are experts on the international communications that facilitate trade, and we should be out there telling everyone about it.