The Linguist

The Linguist 54,1

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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Page 15 of 35

16 The Linguist FEBRUARY/MARCH FEATURES Madeleine Kilminster reveals how she led an enterprising group of students to set up an award- winning languages magazine at Birmingham University The idea of starting a student magazine dedicated to all things international, came to me in 2011, during my first term at the University of Birmingham. As a student of modern languages (French and German) who is passionate about writing, I spotted a missing link on campus. Although there was the university newspaper, Redbrick, which was very popular, it had a largely British focus. I craved a publication about foreign culture for which I could write articles in the languages I studied. I put the idea to fellow students. The response was extremely positive; there was a tangible enthusiasm to do something to unite the language departments and showcase students' linguistic capabilities. Talking to people between lectures and spreading the word via university email, I began to assemble a team. During the brainstorming stage, we pooled our ideas for the name of the magazine, the sections it would have and what format it would appear in. The overwhelming vision that emerged was a vibrant, colourful and high-quality paper, which would include a range of rubrics to represent different interests. The initial layout has been largely upheld: the first half of the magazine is in English and includes sections on current affairs, travel, culture, and food and drink; the second half dedicates a page to each language and includes articles on just about anything written in the target language. As the UoB Linguist has advanced, we have almost doubled the number of language sections, and we now cover everything from French to Japanese to Polish, all under one roof! Next we set about assigning responsibilities and roles. We decided we needed a core of organisational and management roles (Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Publicity Officer, Creative Designer), which would be complemented by an editor per section and a body of freelance writers, who could send us articles flexibly, in accordance with their study timetable. As we are all language learners, it became clear that we needed to find native speakers to proofread the language sections, so that we could ensure consistent quality. However, we were careful not to undermine our message that the most important thing is that students give it a go, no matter what their linguistic level. From the outset, we had the goal of uniting anyone and everyone through their interest in the world. In our current 20-strong team, for example, we have many members who do not study languages, including students of geography, psychology and even biosciences. We applied to become an official Society of the Guild of Students, which gave us initial funding and venues for meetings, and enabled us to charge a membership fee to join the team. Having the status of a society also meant that more students could hear about us and we could spread our influence further across campus. The first challenge we came across was finding an economical means of printing our magazine. After considering independent companies in Birmingham, we decided to use the central printing service of the university, which is usually used for campus tasks, such as producing brochures. We were able to negotiate a viable process and it was convenient, as we could collect from campus with no delivery fee. We calculated that we could print 200 copies of a 20-page A4 magazine in full colour for a fair price. Funding has always been an obstacle. We were determined that the magazine would be free for students to pick up on campus, so we are entirely self-funded and rely on university sponsorship, advertising – and bake sales. We have also secured funds through several university schemes for entrepreneurial projects. Read all about it We were faced with a series of blank pages to transform into a full- blown magazine. We were Publisher novices MAKING HEADLINES The editorial team celebrate after winning the university's Most Outstanding Society Award 2013 (left)

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