Client Origin Story - Caitlin Job

6th Sep 2022

Our next client origin story comes from Caitlin Job, translator and copywriter. I love how Caitlin aligned skills and interest and took further qualifications to nurture a particular aspect of the work to set up a specialist and rounded, ethical business. It's really interesting to learn more about professional translation and what that entails too.

Translation and copywriting for companies with a conscience

Caitlin Job facing the camera and smiling. There is a stone wall in the backgroundHi, I’m Caitlin Job. I translate French online and print content into English. I also write blog posts, newsletters, website copy and more in English for sustainable and ethical businesses.

Taking the first step

When people learn what I do, they often ask about translation (much more so than copywriting), so to start off, here are a few signposts to help you navigate the industry:

  • Translation and interpreting are two different things: translators work with written content, while interpreters work with the spoken word.
  • Professional translators only translate into their native language (with a few exceptions) as people rarely communicate as naturally in their second language.
  • Being bilingual doesn’t automatically make you a good translator. Translation requires practice, qualifications, good attention to detail and excellent writing skills in your native language.
  • Machine translation (like Google Translate) isn’t good enough to translate context, style and cultural references, unlike human translators.

Now onto me and my business. My freelance journey started when I moved back to the UK from France, where I had been working in-house as a translator. 

I fell into freelancing because there aren’t many in-house translation positions in the UK.

I mainly specialised in marketing and tourism as that was what I’d been doing in-house, and I love learning about new places and introducing English speakers to French culture.

Finding the right path

I’ve always been passionate about nature and the environment. I remember lovingly carrying round a dogeared copy of a DK butterfly book, eager to spot a new species.

Moving to Bristol only made me more interested in the environment and sustainability – and it has given me a slightly warped view of what a normal number of vegetarian and vegan options is on a menu!

After freelancing for a while, I started feeling uncomfortable with some of my translation work as it targeted jet-setters, which didn’t align with my own lifestyle and beliefs.

When lockdown hit, travel and tourism translations dried up overnight. I decided to use the extra time to take a step back and evaluate my business.

Aligning my specialisms with my personal interests seemed like a no-brainer if I wanted to do my bit to make a difference.

I had also done some copywriting projects while working as a translator and enjoyed being able to create my own content rather than using other people’s words, so I took the College of Media & Publishing’s copywriting course and graduated with a distinction.

That makes it sound like I was incredibly productive during lockdown, but I binged my fair share of TV and baked countless cakes too. I just didn’t have much work or any kids.

X marks the spot

Since then, my business has focused on helping purpose-led companies.

As a translator, I enable ethical French brands to market themselves in the UK. I also translate tourism texts for organisations championing a sustainable tourism ethos and content related to sustainable building, from smart cities to off-site construction.

As a copywriter, I write copy that clearly explains what makes a company and its products/services great, rather than the usual marketing focused on urgently buy, buy, buying.

I believe transparency is the key to earning customer trust. And it can help combat greenwashing (when companies make out that they’re more sustainable than they are).

I particularly love making complex ideas accessible. Often solutions to the climate crisis are complicated, and people need to be able to understand them if they’re going to become widespread.

Looking ahead

I currently do more translation than copywriting, but I’d like to have a more even split in the future. I’m planning to donate a proportion of my profits to an environmental charity or tree planting campaign, but I still have some research to do to find the right one.

Like all businesses, mine is a work in progress. But as a firm believer in transparency, I share the steps I’m taking to reduce my impact as a business owner in a social responsibility charter on my website, including using Green Hosting!

Find me online: