SDL Campus

SDL Campus: Inspiring the Next Generation of Linguists

The SDL Campus is part of our global university program and has a long history of helping and inspiring students to launch their career in localization. Since early 2000 we’ve partnered with hundreds of universities worldwide where we’ve helped to shape the future of translation students. More recently, we’ve formalized our program through the SDL Campus. Here we speak to Ricki Ravnsbæk, who leads the SDL Campus, to find out more about his role and the SDL Campus, and how it’s making a difference to students across the globe.

Tell me about your role leading the SDL Campus?

I have had the pleasure of leading the SDL Campus initiative since we launched around two years ago. I oversee the program globally from a strategic perspective and focus on developing new initiatives that benefit our local stakeholders. Ensuring that our local teams have the best conditions possible to collaborate with our university partners is key to my role.

Most of my time is spent “behind the scenes” organizing events, and new partnerships, but in my local area I enjoy engaging with our local university partners and directly with students. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a lot of engaged, ambitious and inspiring students through the many presentations, workshops and guest lectures that we have hosted with our local university partners. I must say, it’s truly fulfilling to work with young people, and helping them take the first steps in their future career—and we do try to go the extra mile to achieve just that.

What are the SDL Campus’ goals?

SDL has always had close ties with universities. In some places, we have worked with university partners for many years. Through the SDL Campus, we are able to offer a standardized program, enabling our teams to reach out and collaborate with local university partners, while still adapting to the local expectations and requirements. The essence of the SDL Campus is embedded in our mission statement:

"We aim to inspire great futures in localization and to be recognized in our industry for developing localization talent and markets worldwide.”

One of our key goals is to have a positive impact in our industry. As a global leader, we can offer insight among other things into new technological developments that are shaping the future of localization and we want to help connect the next generation of professionals to that future.

Can you outline some of the different activities the SDL Campus undertakes?

To support students’ move into localization, the SDL Campus offers a wide variety of initiatives, including training and workshops, and of course, our very own internship program, which can be key differentiator for students wishing to stand out from the competition when looking for permanent roles after university.

We always aim to complement the existing curricula of our university partners to ensure students gain the most from attending our events. However, we do have some main areas where we typically see a lot of interest from our university partners and their students, such as:

  • Insight into the localization industry through workshops and presentations, focused on for example “a day in the life of a translator,” trends in the industry, and the future of machine translation.
  • Skills development such as linguistic courses and training, tools training, and various practical workshops.
  • Giving students career advice at various events to help them understand how to kickstart their career or shape their future in the localization industry.
  • Advisory for university partners to cater for the needs of tomorrow’s workforce and learn from our experience as a market leader.

Why should students consider a career in Localization?

The localization industry is fast-paced, challenging and constantly developing. Almost all companies that operate outside of their own country’s border will need to translate their products, manuals, marketing material, and so on. But translation is not just translating words from one language to another. Instead, translation is transferring the meaning of one culture to another while still staying true to the source. A translator must not only be skilled in grammar, syntax, linguistics and so on, but also demonstrate a great cultural awareness and knowledge. At SDL, we work with 90 out of the top 100 global brands and it’s inspiring to be part a company having such a big impact.

There are so many different career opportunities in the localization industry and SDL employs people in a variety of roles, although translation and project management-related roles tend to dominate. Translators can often work in a field related to their interests. Whether your hobby is cars, sports, computers or travel, or if you’re a technical geek with a particular interest in technical engines, mechanisms and robotics, there’s a role for you in localization.

Why should universities get involved with the SDL Campus?

Through our many years of collaboration with the academic world, we have built strong relations that have allowed us to continuously develop our contribution to the future of language students. We’re continuously expanding the SDL Campus to include new markets and universities, while carefully listening to the expectations and the needs of our partners. In addition, our global presence in the localization industry gives us a unique market insight and experience to support universities and contribute to the development of talent on a global scale.