Social Enterprise Spotlight – VoiceOver Interpreting & Translation
Our newest Social Enterprise Spotlight is Zahra Hedges and VoiceOver Interpreting & Translation – a social enterprise based in Glasgow, promoting equality of access to high quality, affordable interpreting and translation services and supporting the work of Govan Community Project. Get in touch with Zahra at email@example.com – check out www.voiceoverinterpreting.org.uk and their list of services. Connect with them on Twitter too. Read and share their Q&A interview below!
Every few weeks we focus on a randomly selected social enterprise member for intense marketing support and promotion. VoiceOver Interpreting & Translation will feature in all e-bulletins, on our website homepage and on all our social media, alongside other support, reaching thousands of people across Scotland and beyond. Want to star in the Spotlight? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s your social and/or environmental mission? We ensure everyone has the same access to services regardless of how good their English is by providing affordable, high quality interpreting. We also work to raise standards in the interpreting industry and reinvest all our profits in activities that support the integration of refugees and asylum seekers into their local communities.
How do you do it? (client group, practical daily work, customers etc) We provide face to face interpreters and document translation in a huge range of languages from Arabic to Wolof and lots in between. We work with private, public and third sector partners including British Red Cross, Scottish Guardianship Service, Scottish Refugee Council, Stirling Council, Money Matters, numerous housing associations, law firms and citizens advice bureau.
What’s your personal motivation for being a social entrepreneur? I’m very target focused. Meeting those targets is about so much more than making money – although clearly that is a crucial part of what we do. I also love working with people who are so enthusiastic about the sector and keen to help each other out rather than compete.
What are your current projects? Although we’ve traditionally only worked in Glasgow we’ve naturally expanded into other locations by word of mouth. This year we’ll be capitalising on that and implementing a concerted effort to expand across the country so we can offer our services throughout Scotland.
What exciting things do you have coming up? We’re investigating using technology to make interpreting even more accessible, like having video interpreters. We’re also building partnerships with organisations with web design and video production companies to offer translations of websites and videos to their clients.
Who do you want to work with more? We’d like to work with more private sector companies, translating brochures, websites etc. We also look forward to continuing to work with third and public sector partners in other areas of Scotland.
What’s your biggest challenge? Working to build our credibility in the sector. We have really high customer satisfaction rates but sometimes people assume because you are a charity you’re not as good as commercial companies, so we are fighting against that misperception. We’d also like to do more public sector procurement but it’s a mammoth project with only a small team.
What top tips would you give to other social enterprises? Build networks – social enterprises get a lot of support just now so use it! We are active within the Glasgow Social Enterprise Network and really reap the benefits of that. Be ambitious – although you can stay small, if you have bigger ambitions there’s no reason they can’t be realised. Be strategic – social enterprises are ‘real businesses’ and we need to make sure our systems and processes are as robust as for profit companies.