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Looking back on 2017

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written by Anja Peschel

Last Christmas I announced that we would be welcoming some new faces in 2017, and the changes to our team are at the top of my agenda for this year’s round-up.

In February we were joined by Sarah Zeller, freshly graduated from her Master’s studies (French and English) and starting out as a trainee translator. Sarah settled in and became an indispensable member of the team so quickly that there was no doubt in our minds about keeping her on at the end of her traineeship.

In April, the German department received another “new” addition: Johanna Bettinger, who returned to Peschel seven years after carrying out an internship here. She now has a broad range of experience under her belt as a project manager and translator, both in-house and freelance – experience that we are delighted to be able to benefit from! Johanna’s working languages are Spanish and English, and she is also responsible for coordinating our translations for the European Commission.

As the business grows, so too does the amount of support work needed. To keep pace with our expansion, Julia Schnieder has been part of the team since July. Julia is both a linguist and a trained online marketing manager. She is finally setting Peschel Communications’ marketing straight, while at the same time adding a touch of class to the office: thanks to her, we now have a plant brightening up every windowsill!

As anticipated in last year’s blog article, our former intern Mari Smith returned to Freiburg in September. Having brushed up her Spanish in Barcelona, she is now turning out translations in finest British English for us.

In October, Peschel Communications welcomed a new team assistant. Mandy Thiede is using her knack for organisation to ensure that everything runs (even more) smoothly, and has taken over project management duties for private customers.

With regret, we also had to say goodbye to three of our team in 2017. At the beginning of the year, Verena Brunner relocated to the Rhineland area. We miss her but are glad to hear that things are going well in her new home!

Saying goodbye to Charley Hinds was only a partial goodbye. Charley will continue to work with us on a free-lance basis.

Then, in October, our team assistant Bärbel Hansen left us after nine happy years. While it wasn’t easy for her – or us – to say goodbye, Bärbel had decided it was time for a new adventure.

And 2017 brought us another wonderful group of interns, without whom life in the office wouldn’t have been the same. Many heartfelt thanks to Ann-Katrin Krüger, Madeleine Schnurr, Sabrina Grether and Sarah Boretzki!

If you’ve been counting, you’ll have realised that the Peschel Communications team has grown once again. The growth we’ve seen in recent years is a cause for celebration – it’s a sign that we’re obviously doing something right! At the same time, it entails a certain amount of reorganisation. As well as reinforcing the company’s support team, I decided this year that it was time for a change of name – and status. We officially became a GmbH, or limited company, on 1st October 2017. The trip to the notary was the least of our worries as we prepared for the changeover. All of our marketing material – flyers, brochures, business cards, website, etc., etc., etc. – had to be replaced. Every instance of “Übersetzungsbüro Peschel” had to be changed to “Peschel Communications GmbH”. Two months later, we’re still finding the odd place where the name hasn’t been updated. Between this and reorganising our accounting, we’ve certainly been kept on our toes for the last couple of months!

As our team grows, our Wallstrasse offices are starting to fill up. For now we’re still perfectly happy here – not to mention very attached to the historical charm of the building and its central location. Freiburg’s property market may well be awash with modern office space, but we can’t quite see ourselves working away surrounded by glass walls and industrial carpet. Since we don’t anticipate a change of location any time soon, we’ve had a minor renovation this year, bringing our kitchen into the 21st century and giving the entire office a thorough spring clean. We’ll see what the future holds…

Professional development was another significant theme of 2017, especially in the second half of the year. Helena Triesch enjoyed informative visits to the European Commission and Intersolar Europe, Andrea Unkelbach honed her selling skills, Sarah Zeller explored the finer points of creative writing, Johanna Bettinger took part in a Language and Law conference run by the industry association BDÜ, Ellen Göppl attended a stimulating seminar focused on revision (i.e. proofreading translations) and Marnie Christensen headed to Berlin for a workshop on “Translating Life Sciences”. Finally, Julia Schnieder visited the Freiburger Webdays conference in November to pick up the latest online marketing tips.

Our everyday work in-house was just as varied in 2017. Our German department have by now become old hands at European Commission translations. And when it comes to multilingual projects, we suspect we’ve broken our record this year with a single project that was translated into 22 languages. The record for the heftiest source text was already broken early in the year with the proceedings for a conference on sustainable building. Of course, we’re as busy as ever in the field of renewable energies thanks to our ongoing work for the Intersolar exhibitions and numerous solar power and storage system companies. We’ve also had a steady stream of contracts, website texts, marketing brochures and business reports flow through our office.

And 2017 has brought us not just plenty of work but plenty of fun. Taking a look at the new team photos on our website, or our blog article about our Christmas party, should give you an idea of what a close-knit team we are. Recently I’ve realised all over again how well we work together. We have a wonderfully supportive, appreciative and friendly relationship with one another, and I would like to thank my colleagues for this. I know it’s a rare privilege to be able to say that I have looked forward to coming to work every day for almost 20 years now.

And, of course, my thanks also go to all of our freelance collaborators and partners, without whom we wouldn’t be able to take on so many projects – and last but not least to our customers, who entrust us with these projects!

I wish you all a peaceful Christmas holiday, with time to rest and recharge ready for an energetic start to the new year. I’m already looking forward to it!

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