Graduate Profiles

  • Ben Swales
  • BA French and Hispanic Studies

Why did you choose to come to Sheffield?

I chose to come to Sheffield based on the quality of the French and Hispanic Studies departments and its proximity to the peak district (I’m a keen mountain biker and walker). I also liked that Sheffield, despite being a large city, had a 'small town' feel to it. It was nice to be able to feel at home straight away in a new city.

I’d studied French at school and knew I wanted to study languages, so was really pleased that I could take Spanish from scratch as part of my dual honours degree and that I would get to spend a year studying in France and Spain.

Where did you go on your year abroad?

I spent my year abroad studying at universities in Perpignan, France and Oviedo, Spain. This was, for me, the best part of the course; it meant that I got to fully experience the cultures of the respective countries and being fully immersed in the language and culture meant that my language skills improved exponentially. I also got to travel around quite a lot and to see a lot more of France and Spain, as well as making friends from all over Europe, many of whom I am still in contact with today!

What have you done since you graduated?

I graduated with a 2:1 honours degree in French and Hispanic studies, after which I went back to Spain to spend a year teaching English in Madrid and perfecting my Spanish.

I’d always been interested in translation, and this had been the aspect of my course that I had most enjoyed, so when I came back to the UK I applied for MA in Translation Studies at the University of Sheffield. While studying for the MA, I worked part time at a translation agency in order to fund my studies and gain more experience of the industry. I found that this work really complimented my studies, and vice-versa.

When I graduated from the MA course, I took a full time position at the translation agency as an in-house project manager and translator, and have been working there ever since. I have expanded my skill set during my time, and in addition to translation and project management, my job now includes desktop publishing, localisation and marketing, meaning that I have a very varied and interesting workload.

So would you recommend studying languages at Sheffield?

I would recommend studying languages at the University of Sheffield to anyone. My undergraduate and postgraduate studies there were invaluable in helping me to achieve my goals, providing me with fantastic opportunities and experiences to develop my language skills and my cultural awareness, as well as contributing significantly to my personal and professional development.