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The ATC’s Member of the Month in April 2024 is Lifeline Language Services, a boutique LSC focusing for 33 years on what they do best – offering a bespoke service and making the impossible, possible.

We caught up with Lifeline’s Founder and Managing Director Lynn Everson, to talk about communication as a business strategy, setting up shop in France, and her thoughts about the future of the industry.

Reaching out and staying in touch

Lifeline Language Services Founder Lynn Everson is a highly qualified linguist (MCIL, MITI) and a passionate advocate of communication.

“I’m not going to lie. We have been through some really tough years, and like most SMEs, Lifeline has really felt it. But throughout these challenging times, I have held on to the importance of reaching out and staying in touch with our community: our close-knit team, our wonderful freelance linguists, our clients, and the education sector fostering the next generation of language industry professionals – nurturing these connections and building resilience for the future,” says Lynn.

In the language services industry, COVID in particular brought a complete collapse in communication among clients, resulting in export and internationalisation strategies being put on hold, and client mindsets turning inwards. This is where Lifeline’s approach of coaching clients on their export journey crystallised into a clear strategy.

“There is a perception that language services are a transactional commodity, and the promise/threat of AI is exacerbating this,” Lynn explains. “We continue to challenge that by becoming genuine partners to our clients, and being there for them through thick and thin, investing time and talking to them about language, marketing, and the importance of communication.”

Setting up shop in France

Based in Preston, Lancashire, Lifeline is celebrating 33 years in business with a team of nine serving a diverse client base ranging from the public to the private sector, and from multinationals to individuals, specialising in the environmental, engineering, legal, agrifood and logistics sectors.

For Lynn, 33 years in the language services industry is a major milestone. “I set Lifeline up as an emergency service – hence the name. We have always made the impossible possible, and excelled in the things other LSCs prefer not to do – troubleshooting, the weekend work, the urgent interpreting assignments, the transcription of hand-written content… The diversity in our work and client base is one of the key reasons why we have been able to pull through these years of disruption.”

In 2019, Lifeline set up shop in France, buying the assets of an established French language service company from its retiring director – an excellent strategic decision which has continued to help build a robust operation outside the UK.

“The mindset towards language services in France is quite different to the UK, and while local LSCs tend to have a less hands-on attitude to customer service, our approach to building a consultation relationship gradually has worked really well. The economic climate is very challenging in France, as it is in Germany and of course in the UK as well, but we continue to focus on being visible to our clients and providing quality – which we also signal through our ATC ISO certifications ” Lynn explains.

The future is now

For nearly 30 years, Lifeline has offered student and teacher placements, so as a passionate advocate of translation and interpreting, Lynn continues to work actively with schools and universities to promote the many different careers in language services, and inspire the next generation of language professionals.

“I enjoy seeing my staff presenting at UCLan, the University of Central Lancashire, and at our local schools, where we tell children and teachers about how exciting and varied life in our industry can be. Language is still rarely recognised as a career! We know there is great urgency in fostering new language talent in the industry, so we also promote other career options – for example, project management which can provide a launchpad into different professions – as well as wonderful further training initiatives such as the ATC ELIA PM Training Course and Certification”.

In an industry where the pressure to innovate is constant, for Lynn language services are first and foremost about communication and building communities. This is what Lifeline also nurtures with its network of hundreds of freelance interpreters and translators: a sense of being part of the bigger picture, working together, and providing mutual support.

For 33 years, Lifeline Language Services has focused on what matters most: offering a bespoke service and making the impossible, possible.

Lynn Everson was in conversation with ATC CEO Raisa McNab.

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