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Mission Led Business Owners Taking Actions of Hope Podcast Series

Meet Kate Stansfield – freelance French/Spanish to English translator, copy-editor and proofreader. 

Owner of Sea Change. Providing multilingual copy and content for positive global change.

When I first had the idea for this podcast, I knew I wanted Kate. She is passionate as me about the planet and the role business should be playing to protect it. 

I also knew that in her field as a translator, in a global community, she would have different perspectives to share. 

What I found very interesting was her resistance to this idea. She couldn’t understand why I was loading so much praise on her, and she actually thought I was having a laugh. 

I found that this was a typical reaction to those I reached out to. Humble to a fault, these incredible visionaries just don’t realise their own power, or perhaps they are just uncomfortable taking praise for it. 

They don’t do it for fame or woke points (something I imagine Piers Morgan saying), they take their own actions of hope because they don’t feel they have a choice. It is something they have to do, a path they have to follow. 

But do they ever feel they are doing enough? With the problems so big, can any of our actions be good enough? 

I speak to Kate to find out. Listen to this episode here.

Meet Kate Stansfield – freelance French/Spanish to English translator, copy-editor and proofreader. 

Owner of Sea Change. Providing multilingual copy and content for positive global change.

When I first had the idea for this podcast, I knew I wanted Kate. She is passionate as me about the planet and the role business should be playing to protect it. 

I also knew that in her field as a translator, in a global community, she would have different perspectives to share. 

What I found very interesting was her resistance to this idea. She couldn’t understand why I was loading so much praise on her, and she actually thought I was having a laugh. 

I found that this was a typical reaction to those I reached out to. Humble to a fault, these incredible visionaries just don’t realise their own power, or perhaps they are just uncomfortable taking praise for it. 

They don’t do it for fame or woke points (something I imagine Piers Morgan saying), they take their own actions of hope because they don’t feel they have a choice. It is something they have to do, a path they have to follow. 

But do they ever feel they are doing enough? With the problems so big, can any of our actions be good enough? 

I speak to Kate to find out. Listen to this episode here.

Written highlights are below...…

Kate, tell us your mission

My mission is still evolving but essentially, I want to help my clients to send their message soaring over linguistic and cultural national borders so that they can inspire positive change. 

They can collaborate effectively and yeah, make good things happen.

 

The problems we face need us to work together as a global community, this is where language can be a barrier. Would you say you break that barrier down?  

I try to, yes. It’s not yet what I’m doing all day, every day, but it’s getting there. As much as I can be. 

 

You came into a challenge I did a few years ago where I asked what difference you wanted to make to the world? Can you talk me through what difference that question made to your business? 

I knew I had to put my values into action.

I had had a traditional route into translation coming from school and carrying them on at uni because it was the thing I just did.

I left uni and did other high impact jobs but I missed languages. So I went freelance as a translator but then I very much took what work I was given and I was totally winging it.

I felt completely disconnected to the work I was doing.

It took a long time for me to realise that languages could be a means to do something worthwhile.

So yeah, doing your challenge got me to define my mission and my values and what I stand for and stand against, just kind of opened up that different path. Does that make sense? 

 

It does. It makes perfect sense. You have to know where you are going first to get the ideas of how to get there. What would you say to other people who might be in that moment now? Those who feel stuck and disconnected to their work? 

It’s hard because it depends where you’re coming from. And I suppose how confident you are in your own skin.

I was uncomfortable and worried what people would think. I have lots of my own personal stories around people in my life who I felt would judge me for being too idealistic.

And I think I just kind of accepted that.

It was easier and it was less hurtful. 

So for me it has been about personal development work. I needed to work on myself and my confidence to do this.

 

I know you were involved in COP26, can you share what that was.

It was a very small part, but it was pretty much a direct result of me talking about what’s important to me on Linkedin. 

I had a message from a copywriter who was involved in helping a charity called Scientists Warning Europe to put together a campaign around their new report. 

The aim was that scientists all around the world would sign it and so they needed the summary translated into 10 languages. Obviously, I don’t speak 10 languages, but I tapped into my network of translators and put together teams to do this kind of work. 

It was pro bono work but for me, it was a complete no brainer, I was already quite disappointed that I wasn’t going to be able to be at Glasgow, so I immediately jumped at the chance to help. 

It was al- consuming and pressured at the time but everyone involved in that project was so passionate, and when I was looking for the translators I hadn’t yet sourced, the word spread immediately around social media. 

In my experience the overwhelming majority of linguists just are so on it in terms of the global problems we are facing. They want to help. 

On the whole, the reaction was amazing and this showed the complete and utter dedication from translators, some of whom were working in really tricky areas of the world themselves, which was incredible.

And we did it. 

 

You said there was an overwhelmingly positive response. So, did you have any negative responses?

Literally just one. 

I was a bit bewildered. Someone objected to me apparently forcing people to work for free to contribute to a bogus topic. I wasn’t forcing anyone, no one had their life threatened. 

I found it hard at the time but it was important to remind myself, it was literally just one. 

 

What recent actions of hope have you taken to align what you do with your values?

Well, I wrote an article for the Institute of Translation and Interpreting about climate change and our role. That then led to them asking me to do a webinar for them. 

Through the process of delivering this I had to look at the areas of our businesses as linguists that have the biggest impact.

So for us, probably the biggest thing is, is the digital carbon footprint. 

A lot of people still aren’t aware of the fact that your online content has to be stored somewhere. The cloud uses up a massive amount of energy so if you don’t need something, delete it or perhaps unsubscribe. You can also optimise your website, which helps with SEO too. 

It all seems small but if we all do these things and talk about it, it really does help. 

 

Tell us about Ukraine and the role translators played.

In the early days, what was notable was a wave of posts going out via email and then social media. Often people emailing various networks of specialist translators, looking for help in medical situations.

You know, the whole refugee situation requires huge amounts of interpreting and translation resources. And they didn’t know where to start so they were emailing and then people were volunteering, including myself, to move that online and onto social media. 

People were then compiling lists of links and resources and just sharing them constantly.

 

Everybody just moved. 

There is now an actual task force in the UK made up of the two main professional bodies, the Chartered Institute of Linguists and the Institute of Translation and Interpreting. The National Register of Public Services Interpreters, Charity Translators and probably some other organisations have mobilised to respond to this too. Other companies immediately began offering pro bono translation services.

So obviously, a lot of translation agencies were working with translator freelancers on the ground over there, and they were sharing their stories. There was this sense of a collective. We all moved our thoughts towards our fellow linguists and what they were going through. There was real genuine community, compassion and love. 

And just the lack of borders, because we work globally, as a profession. I can be sending files to people all over the world and this situation really brought that home and you kind of forget sometimes we’re all in our own little bubbles. 

 

The one last thing I want to talk about is how when I reached out and I said you’re one of my role models. I had always really admired the way you showed up online and shared your values. Your response was  ‘why me?’ A response I have heard before from other business owners I have chosen or selected for different events over the years. Other business owners who I have told are a role model to me. It’s quite an interesting thing to explore the reaction, isn’t it? 

Yeah, it’s funny. I have been thinking about this comment, I have heard it in other conversaions. Particularly in other people running translation businesses who got in touch with me after watching the webinar, telling me they love what I am doing and it is amazing. 

But I immediately think it isn’t enough.

Not saying that it’s not enough but I struggle with perfectionism. It never feels enough. 

I mostly have it under control and try to help myself by doing small things like actively celebrating wins.

The truth is I am inspired so much by other people I follow, so maybe I just feel like I’m just passing down that knowledge and it isn’t about me.

 

So on that note, I’m going to say thank you to my role model, Kate. Thank you very much for coming here and talking to us. And I know that there will be people taking action as a result of listening to you!

Below you’ll find the link to Kate’s resource list, which she created after her webinar to give attendees further info on reducing their environmental impact through their business. It’s particularly aimed at freelancers but most info will be fairly applicable to small business owners in general:

Organisations that provide language support for NGOs etc:

https://charitytranslators.org/

https://translatorswithoutborders.org/

https://clearvoice.org.uk/

Information on language support for the Ukrainian crisis:

https://www.iti.org.uk/ukrainian-crisis.html/

Another organisation working to provide communications in global languages, often responding to crisis situations:

https://translatorswithoutborders.org/

Another NGO I worked with as a volunteer some years ago, which is worth a look if anyone would like to support other business owners all over the world, via micro loans:

https://www.kiva.org/

And the project I talk about with Lisa, Scientists Warning Europe:

https://www.scientistswarningeurope.org.uk/ 

And finally, some of those great hashtags I spoke about, creating their own ripples:

#LeafChallenge
#SustainabilitySwitch

Don’t forget to find Kate at Sea Change and on Insta and LinkedIn

 

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