From the moment he graced the Red Tape office with his booming, resonant baritone and unconventional passion for recycling, Thomas brought a particular flair to business operations. He kicked a bunch of processes into shape and was known and loved by clients for his signature phrase, “we will gladly handle that for you”. Here are some things clients say when they rave about Thomas:… Read More
Category Archive: About Red Tape Translation
Time flies! 6 months have gone by since Fiona Gillespie started her internship at Red Tape Translation. We asked her to contemplate her time at work, her blossoming relationship with Berlin and of course, her future.
What was the highlight of the internship?
There have been so many highlights in my 6 months with Red Tape Translation. I think the main highlight for me has been the variety of it all. I’ve worked on translations from purchase contracts to cannabis permits, booked swimming lessons and law consultations as well as observed declarations of paternity and many appointments with notaries on the Ku’damm. Oh, and also a trip to prison! I never could have imagined how varied each day would be. The 6 months have flown by and I feel like I will leave with a wealth of experience and good tips.
Which situation really challenged you?
At least to begin with, I think German phone calls were the most challenging. There’s something quite daunting about speaking on the phone in a foreign language and not having the luxury of being able to lip read – I didn’t realise how much we read people’s lips and facial expressions when we communicate. With that being said, no phone call was a failure! I set myself up beforehand with all the vocab that could crop up and made sure I didn’t leave a phone call until I had the answers I needed. It’s important to remember a phone call is just two people on the phone and the person on the other end will more than likely be encouraging and helpful. Mission accomplished!
Which achievement are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the volume of documents I’ve translated (with amazing feedback and support from Kathleen). During my studies at university we normally just translate small newspaper articles or website extracts. This meant that coming from university into something professional was quite the leap! I really feel as though I have learned so much about translation and the feedback is something I will carry through the rest of my studies.
What advice would you give to an intern getting started in the translation and interpreting world?
A few tips:
- Stay organised – sometimes there can be a few different projects overlapping. I am a big fan of checklists and to-do lists to keep me on track.
- Always make some time to go over the feedback given on your documents. Even if it took me a week or so before I got a few minutes to go back over a document, it is really important to try to take in as much of the feedback as you can. Try to apply the feedback to your next documents – I am always working on this!
- Have fun! Enjoy the variety of it all and make the most of observing appointments. Ask the interpreters questions about the appointment and also their interpreting style. Everyone has slightly different ways of doing things and there are always things to be taken away from these appointments. It has been a real joy to be a fly on the wall with so many interpreters.
What’s next for you?
After I finish up with Red Tape Translation in mid-July, I then have five weeks to enjoy the summer in Berlin! I know it will be amazing and I have an endless to-do list of places I want to visit in the city. There are a few trips planned to other cities in Europe and then, before I know it, I will be on a plane back to Glasgow to enter my Junior Honours year of MA German and Spanish at the University of Glasgow. I know I will miss Berlin when I get home, so I need to make the most of my time here. In 2020, I look forward to spending a semester abroad in a Spanish-speaking country to try to brush up on the Spanish I have somewhat neglected.
Overall my experience in Berlin has been incredible and I have Kathleen and the amazing team at Red Tape Translation to thank for that. This city has given me so many strokes of luck and it will always have a piece of my heart! Bis zum nächsten Mal, Berlin!
You have spoken and we have listened. We’re happy to announce we’ve now made it even easier to pay for translation, interpreting, admin and coaching services with Red Tape Translation. Now along with the usual suspects: Paypal, TransferWise and a regular bank transfer, as of April 4th you can now pay with your credit card at no extra cost.
We understand that many of you wishing to take advantage of Red Tape Translation’s services have bank accounts overseas and there are usually teething problems with access to accounts when you move to a new country. With that in mind, we’ve taken this step toward making access to our array of expat expertise simpler and, hopefully, making your transition a little smoother.
Happy shopping and happy Friday!
Katie from Red Tape Translation
The idea of taking on an intern had never even crossed my mind. But Fiona had just the right combination of initiative, drive, skills and impeccable timing to motivate me to find a way to make it work. Mentoring is very rewarding, and having her around inspires me to create all sorts of interesting projects for her: translation, interpreting, shadowing, marketing, translation project management, research, networking and everything in between. So far she’s handled everything from real estate law and finance to custody matters and cupcake toppers and managed to stayed as cool as a cucumber. A short interview with Fiona Gillespie at Red Tape Translation.
Three new helpers and three new honorary Red Tape babies in one year! It’s a big adjustment for any family, but a happy one for sure. We welcomed Thomas to the team in February to help us out with marketing, project management and customer service. In April, Kim welcomed her baby son Evan into the world and Kathleen followed suit in August with the birth of baby Laura, our designated Chief Distraction Officer (CDO). Laura’s incredibly well-defined baby eyebrows and big brown eyes are very expressive and thus very distracting, so she is excelling in her professional role.
Katie joined the administrative team in November just as Pascale’s son Leon made it to the outside. Finally, Liz came on board as a translator and interpreter just in time for the Christmas party. Good timing, Liz.
We bade Claire farewell at the end of 2018 after two years with a “Zimtschnecke” brunch fit for a queen. Life is all the richer once you discover the baked goods from Zeit für Brot. We now welcome Katie Kruse to Red Tape Translation. Katie joins Thomas behind the scenes in billing, customer service and communication.
Katie is British, speaks fluent French and German and has a background in foreign languages, education and organisational administration, which makes her, well, the perfect fit! Katie took a break from the world of traditional work for several years to raise her two children as a full-time Supermama – a job that is all-encompassing and entirely unremunerated. Now that the kids are school-age, she’s keen to be remunerated once again for her professional expertise and managerial skills. She’s also gunning for German citizenship and might have some handy insider tips for Brits contemplating what to do before Brexit closes in in early 2019.
In addition to the general whipping of Red Tape’s administrative processes into shape, perhaps Katie can help us establish some Red Tape Translation services in French in the near future?
What’s the difference between a regular interpreter and a court-sworn interpreter? Why do some offices insist on using “official” interpreters? And why do they cost so much more? I finally feel adequately informed to answer this question, because I’m in the middle of my vocational training to become a court-sworn interpreter. And it is no pony ride, let me assure you.
I have a confession to make. I applied to join the Factory some months ago, and my application was rejected… I sulked for a week. It was probably just bad timing, but the Factory Berlin was never far from my mind. I ran into a few friends who flaunted their coveted memberships and got a hot tip from one of them – I should reapply, as they’ve just opened a brand new building, and the timing is golden.
I sent off a killer application, added a healthy dose of Vitamin B, and within a week, I got the green light!
Hello friends and supporters, welcome to the new year in Germany. Enjoy the occasional thick and fluffy snow and when things get a bit slippery and scary on the icy streets, grab yourselves a pair of Yaktrax traction cleats – you won’t regret it. I spent some time abroad in the southern hemisphere facilitating valuable synergies (ie. visiting the fam in Australia). There, I received my yearly fix of Vitamin D, which is important for getting through February in Berlin.
Germany is a country that prizes qualifications: a piece of paper that says you’ve earned a degree, done an internship or completed vocational training. I’ve got a Bachelor of Music to my name, but that doesn’t necessarily look so interesting when you’re trying to tell the Agentur für Arbeit that you want to start a business as a translator and interpreter. I might not have a business or translation qualification on paper, but being an opera singer is a lot like being founder, customer service rep, market analyst, administrator, translator and accountant all in one. So founding Red Tape Translation wasn’t that much of a leap, even though I wasn’t officially “qualified” to do so. In this respect, it gives me great pleasure to be the person who doesn’t quite fit the mold, but still has the skills to succeed.
Dear friends and followers,
Thanks for a terrific 2017. Hmm, perhaps not the best year in terms of cashflow (let’s just call it a “spending year”, shall we?), but an unbelievably significant one in terms of growth and learning curves.
With the help of the talented Laura Yeffeth, I launched a brand new website in June and it has been nothing but fabulous. In November, I celebrated my fifth year of business. Take a peek at all the things that have happened over the last five years. Whoa.