Careers special: Have you considered a job in translation in agriculture?

06 Mar 2022

06 Mar 2022

When you think of agriculture, many jobs come to mind from farm labourer to agricultural engineer, farm manager to agronomist, but few people would immediately think of translators. Despite translation being a less obvious career within the farming industry, it plays a pivotal role in farm safety, machine handling and selling produce abroad.

Louise Bamford, managing director at Accent Language Solutions, based in Lancashire, has been a translator for 15 years, after gaining a degree in applied linguistics with a focus on French and German. Translators can be extremely useful and in many cases, imperative in aiding the industry, and that such a role can offer a varied career.

She said: “We have been helping the agricultural industry for many years and our translations have covered everything from marketing material for agricultural suppliers, all the way through to technical specifications for farm machinery and health and safety information for migrant workers on farms. 

“For many, growing up in agriculture can mean that they will automatically go on to run the family farm when the time comes. However, it can also open other doors and routes to other careers within the industry. Many translators have a background in their chosen field of expertise, and given that agricultural exports and imports are such an important part of the UK’s agricultural industry, it will come as no surprise that agricultural translators are in demand.”

Talented linguists are used daily by farmers in the field, right through to food labelling, and translations in the industry have been known to prevent serious injury as they eliminate the risks of misinterpretation between speakers of one language and another, said Louise.

“Imagine the scenario - your machine fails in the field, but your technical manual has only been supplied by the manufacturer in a language other than English. The potential for serious damage to the machine or the farmer is immense. The translations of technical manuals are a vital health and safety tool,” Louise said.

It is interesting to find too, that during the post-brexit era, agricultural translators have been in higher demand than usual. As farmers explore new international markets, so the need for translations has grown.

“Translators support agricultural businesses to grow, and they remove the barriers to international trade.

Translators make communication between global agricultural suppliers and buyers easy and often make the process so simple,” said Louise.

If you have a flare for language, agriculture may not be your first thought, but it could certainly provide you with an interesting and varied career. And having come from a non-agricultural background, Louise believes this somewhat unexpected career could open doors for many outside the industry. 

She said: "The farming and translation industries are similar in many ways, as both are diverse industries that cross global barriers on a daily basis. There are so many roles within agriculture that can offer a rewarding career and endless opportunities, translation being a perfect example of this. Agriculture is an industry that welcomes people from many backgrounds - the industry is reliant on migrant workers from across Europe.

Although these workers do not all speak one language, they are brought together and united through farming."