Hej Anna Lawrence

Translator and communications officer Anna Lawrence did an exchange at the University of Helsinki in Finland.

Where did you go?
I carried out my exchange at the University of Helsinki, specifically the department that deals with translation and proofreading services. I'm a translator at Umeå University, and I went on the exchange together with two other translators from other Swedish universities. This also gave us the opportunity to talk and to share our experiences. We chose the University of Helsinki because it's a large university in a country that needs to deal with translation between Finnish, English and Swedish in different language directions.

Why did you go there?

The aim of the exchange was to get experiences to bring back to improve how Umeå University works with language services, and to share positive experiences from our organisation. It can be rewarding to get tips about things we can improve, and to be empowered in the knowledge that some things are already being done well.

What did you do during your exchange?
During the exchange, we had the chance to talk with people from the different parts of the university's Language Centre – translators in different language directions, reviewers of English texts, and administrators who receive and manage all the orders. This gave us in-depth insights into how the University of Helsinki works with translation and workflows, and the solid status of languages at the university. We shared our experiences of various processes, and the fact that several higher education institutions took part in the exchange enabled us to discuss differences and similarities between Sweden and Finland, as well as within Sweden. We also had a guided tour of parts of the university.

What did you get out of your exchange?
It was rewarding to see how a large organisation with more resources – in terms of both employee numbers and budget – can work. But it was also interesting to see that we seem to do a lot of positive things even with our more limited resources. The exchange provided a wealth of ideas about processes and ways of working, and about attitudes towards our shared issue – bilingualism and trilingualism.

Why would you recommend doing a staff exchange abroad?
You can learn a lot from meeting others who deal with similar tasks, or who share the same challenges and problems. It's also empowering to discover that we may already have solutions to challenges that others haven't solved yet. By discussing one's own operations, it can also become clear what can be improved and, ideally, there will be suggestions for solutions that others have already tried.

Umeå University's Anna Lawrence, with two other university colleagues who also work as translators: Charlotta Hambre-Knight from Örebro University and Eva-Marie Ek from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Read more about Erasmus+ for staff

Petra Käck