Tiantian graduated from Bath in 2018. She now works for a contact lens manufacturer in China. We caught up with her to hear all about how she has been getting on since graduation, and how this course set her up to gain the graduate job she wanted.
1. Tell us a little about yourself?
Sure, so I am Tiantian, and I graduated from the MA Translation with Business Interpreting master’s course at Bath in 2018. Before coming to Bath, I completed my undergraduate degree in Japanese and English Language at the Dalian University of Foreign Languages. During this time, I spent two years living in Japan, which was a brilliant experience!
2. What made you want to study TBI at Bath?
I have always wanted to study interpreting and translating, in particular, business interpreting. Before beginning the master’s course, I worked as a liaison interpreter for Mitsubishi Elevator in my hometown. This was a great opportunity and helped me gain some additional experience in the field of interpreting before going on to study it.
I knew that the University of Bath has a prestigious reputation in the field of translating, so I decided to have a look online at the courses that were available. It is possible to seek the help of agents when looking for international degrees, but I did my own research on the university website and applied from there.
3. How has this course helped your employability since graduation?
I think this course has prepared me well to gain employment after graduation. Not only did I learn key translation skills, there were a host of other things I was able to develop too. I think the interpersonal skills I gained through the degree have been vital. In the field of translation, you cannot underestimate the importance of being able to make clients feel comfortable with you. This is certainly a skill I was able to develop through the modules on the course.
We also took part in role-plays and presenting exercises through some of our modules, which was great preparation for some of the scenarios I face now, in my job.
4. Tell us about your current role
At the moment, I am working in China as an interpreter and translator for a large Japanese manufacturer. The company manufactures contact lenses. It’s a great industry to be in, as in recent years the Chinese government have really focussed on optical health, especially for young people. So that makes it really exciting, and I’m interested to see how the industry changes in future.
My main responsibilities are coordinating communications between the office here in China and the Headquarters in Japan, as well as communicating with factories in the Netherlands regarding the introduction of new products.
5. What was your experience in applying for jobs on graduation?
When it came to applying for jobs once I had graduated, my degree certainly helped me feel prepared. My first job was working as a tri-lingual interpreter for a Japanese NGO. The company worked to promote peace, human rights and sustainability so it was very rewarding.
The application process for the role was in three stages including an essay on why you wanted the role, a test to measure your interpreting capabilities and then an interview. The degree really prepares you for application processes like this, as we completed many practice tests similar to the one I was given. I was able to talk about my experience gained through the degree and I really believe this was a key reason I was successful.
6. Whilst at Bath, did you take part in any extracurricular activities that you think aided your employability?
Yes! I joined the Japanese society, which was extremely helpful in keeping my language skills polished. This meant I felt a lot more confident when it came to interviews, as I hadn’t forgotten anything! It was also a great way to make friends with people that had similar interests to me, and I actually keep in touch with some of these now. I use Japanese regularly in my job, so I am pleased I managed to keep this up to a good level.
7. Talking of staying in contact with university friends, are you part of our alumni network?
I am! We have a great alumni network at the University of Bath and I am still in regular contact with many people from my course and other related interpreting courses at the university. In China specifically, we have a WeChat group on which we share stories and the things we learn as we move through our career. It’s really nice having contact with people spread across the country who are working in similar roles. It also means I can draw on their experience if I am ever faced with an unknown challenge with my own work.
8. Did you utilise any of the universities services to help your employability?
I did. The University have a great Careers Service, which is available to help with all sorts of things, from writing CV’s and job applications, to listing jobs on their website. I actually found my first job through them.
You can book one to one appointments if you want tailored advice, or just look at the information they have online. It was great to have access to this on campus.
9. What are your career aspirations for the future?
My current role works closely with the marketing team, and I have found myself to be quite interested in this area. I think this is something I might like to explore, combined with my interpreting and translating skills. I think it’s a great time to work in the industry that I do, so I would like to use the time to really polish my professional skills.
10. Is there anything you would say to someone considering studying this course at Bath?
I can genuinely say that my time in Bath was one of the most excellent times in my life so far. It helped me build me build the interpersonal and technical skills that have allowed me to get to where I am today. I would really recommend the course if you are interested in becoming a professional translator or interpreter.