Jozef van der Voort
MA in Translation Studies, Class of 2011/12
Hi! My name is Jozef van der Voort. I completed the MA in Translation Studies at the University of Sheffield in September 2012, and just a month later I moved to Luxembourg to start work as an in-house translator for the online retailer Amazon. The main focus of my role here is to translate product descriptions from the French and German Amazon websites into English in order to make them available for sale on the UK site. I am also taking on some responsibilities in localising web content from the US to the UK site for the AmazonBasics brand of computer accessories, and I am looking forward to being able to develop my marketing and web skills to complement my translation practice.
The MA at Sheffield helped prepare me for this job by equipping me with core translation techniques in a wide range of contexts - something that has proven especially useful given the enormously diverse range of products sold by Amazon. One day I might be researching medical technology while translating a batch of health and personal care accessories; the next I can be cross-referencing German and English Pokémon names in order to accurately localise some licensed merchandise for the UK market. It's fast-paced work, but thanks to the preparation I received in Sheffield I've been able to hit the ground running. It's proven to be a great learning experience so far, and I would not have landed the job without my MA.
Alongside this work I have also been developing some exciting projects in literary translation. While at Sheffield I was lucky enough to receive a Petrie-Watson bursary from the Faculty of Arts in order to attend the Use Your Language, Use Your English translation summer school at Birkbeck College in London, giving me some useful insights into the literary and academic translation marketplace. Since then I have also been selected for the New Books in German Emerging Translators programme, and am currently working on a 4,000-word extract of a German-language novel that will be used to promote the book to UK publishers. I was also able to convert my MA dissertation - an annotated translation of selected essays by the German author Max Goldt - into an informal commission to translate into English some of the slogans of the Rumpfkluft T-shirt range that Goldt created in collaboration with the illustrator Stefan Katz. Again, the MA at Sheffield offered a great launchpad for these projects, and I'm excited to see what the future will bring!
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