The Linguist

The Linguist 59,5 - October/November 2020

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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32 The Linguist Vol/59 No/5 2020 INSTITUTE MATTERS I studied German at university and had always wanted to use the language in the world of business, to communicate and make things happen. I joined the UK subsidiary of an Austrian special steel company with production facilities in Austria. Knowledge of German was essential in liaising with both the mills in Austria and the customers in the UK. The products for the power generation and oil industry, made to customer specification, had high demands on quality and reliability. In my role as Business Development Manager with specific responsibility for the aerospace industry, I worked with the team in Austria on the development of a range of steels and nickel-based alloys. I also learned a lot about the industry. Technical terminology such as stress rupture testing, mechanical properties and steel melting and remelting processes became second nature. German was then the first language of the group, and I gave presentations in German to sales meetings. Liaison with staff in Austria was intense, as was customer development and care. Visits to Austria, to customers and to air shows in Berlin, Paris and Farnborough became more frequent. Both Angela Merkel and Tony Blair viewed our exhibition stands. It's amazing how excited you can be about the first flight of the Airbus A380, knowing that some of the parts are made of 'your' metal! Aerospace customers, including Airbus, BAe Systems and Rolls-Royce, visited our mills to approve the facilities. Suppliers to the industry came to discuss their requirements and to attend customer seminars – a regular feature of the mills' training facilities. I spent many an hour sweltering in a hard hat in melting shops and witnessing the processing of hot metal. The relationships I developed both with Austrian staff and UK customers would not have been possible without liaison in German and English, which enabled me to have a full understanding of the requirements of both sides. In my view, industry and commerce are the poorer for not fully recognising the value and benefit of language skills. I would encourage new linguists to look at this area as a potential source of employment. There may be dirt and noise involved, but I have met a lot of exciting people and still get a thrill from seeing aircraft that were built using the company's metal. Previously a member of CIOL Council and Chair of its Membership Committee, Judith Ridgway FCIL is the BPG Division Chair. Business to business BPG Division Chair Judith Ridgway describes her fascinating career in an Austrian steel company MOLTEN METALS AND AIR SHOWS REPACKAGING SKIL I could not have imagined that a degree in French and German would lead to me appearing in courtrooms in Jerusalem and the New Forest as an expert witness, or meeting Slovak government officials in a room previously used by the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party. So how did I get here? In 1992, Germany made industry responsible for recycling packaging waste – the first country in the world to do so. I was working for a public affairs consultancy where I reported on EC (European Community) policy developments for our clients. They wanted to understand the German legislation and the Green Dot recycling system set up by German industry. I translated drafts of the legislation and texts about the new system. The German initiative was prompted by growing concern about the environmental impact of packaging, and other European countries, including Austria, Belgium and France, soon introduced similar legislation and recycling systems. The French system, How Gill Bevington, of the BPG policy consultant while working ECO SYSTEMS: Gill recycling on Stockholm waterfront (left); and (right) a Swiss bottle bank

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