James Scanlan

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Journalism, Media and Publishing
Job title: Translator
Subject of study: Arabic and Persian
Year of graduation: 2017
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name


What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

Straight after uni I worked in a publishing house in Cairo for a year before flying to the south of Morocco and spending six months walking back to the UK. I spent the next year working for a Language Service Provider in London before moving back to Cairo and making a switch to being a full-time freelance Arabic-to-English translator.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I was craving creative/professional freedom and the ability to work from anywhere. Being freelance enables me to fit in outdoor activities and personal projects around my work.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

Arabic and Middle East Society and the Sherlock Holmes Society.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

Small class sizes meant we could really get to know our teachers/fellow students well. The Arabic institute building is stunning and just a generally inspiring place to be around/in. Though stressful at the time, the year abroad in Jordan was a big highlight, in hindsight.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

Location – near the sea and Dartmoor’s on your doorstep.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

The Arabic Institute has an excellent reputation.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Hard work, attention to detail and time management – developed when bashing out essays and learning vocab while trying to remain mentally sane and physically fit.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Read a lot in your native language and your target language. Stay hydrated. Walk.

What are your plans for the future?

Publish a literary translation and keep walking.


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