Tea break with Sarah Herbo, Language Officer

“Translation is my calling”

Sarah has been working as a Language Officer at Apostroph since 2021 and the variety is what she loves most about life as a translator. Read this interview with her to find out why she felt like she was doing the work of three people when she started out at Apostroph.


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Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Where did you grow up? Why did you want to become a translator? Where feels like home to you and what have you seen of the big wide world?

I’m Sarah and I was born and raised in the canton of Fribourg in Switzerland. I’ve always been good at French – ever since I was a child. I could read by the age of five and I used to create crossword puzzles for my family when I was at primary school. Spelling and poetry were special skills of mine and I later realised that I was also a talented linguist. And so I decided to take the bilingual Matura diploma in French and German. After that, I studied translation in Geneva and just knew that I’d found my calling.

As part of my studies, I spent two months in Vancouver and three months in Berlin. It was an exciting time and I made so many wonderful memories while I was abroad.

How did you come across Apostroph and what prompted you to stay?

I came across Apostroph in 2017 when I started to work as a freelancer. Back then, I was also familiar with Global Translations, a company that later went on to join the Apostroph Group.

Global used to send me regular projects and I even went along to meet the team at their offices in Sutz. That was a great opportunity to put lots of faces to names.

When I was looking for a new job in 2021, I spotted the Language Officer vacancy at Apostroph. The job description caught my attention and I applied right away. And I was lucky enough to be offered the job!

I really do love what I do here. Apostroph is a dynamic company that is leading the way. We use the latest tools, our working conditions are just right and my colleagues and boss are so lovely.


Which languages do you work with and which areas do you specialise in? What kind of texts do you translate?

I mainly work from German into French and occasionally from English into French. Basically, I translate pretty much anything that needs to be translated and I love every minute. I find the variety exciting – it keeps me on my toes.


What do you like about languages and translation?

I love the fact that languages open doors to the whole world and all kinds of cultures and ways of life. And I like being able to look back at the end of the day and realise that my work has helped people take the right medication without any risk to their health, book a trip or open a bank account. My translations open up local events to a wider, multilingual audience.


Has anything at work or in life been challenging or exciting you recently?

I’ve been having lots of fun working on travel and tourism projects for clients in the hospitality and transport sectors. These types of texts are often pretty challenging too, though, because you have to get the promotional tone just right by putting yourselves in the shoes of the customers.


What do you most look forward to doing when you wake up in the morning?

Neutral appraisals are my favourite! They involve objectively analysing and evaluating someone else’s translation, which I find absolutely fascinating.


Do you have any funny stories from your time at Apostroph?

The funniest thing is probably the fact that there are three Sarahs on our team. When I first started, I’d hear my boss say, “I need to look at that with Sarah” or “Sarah will sort that out” and I’d assume she was always talking about me. And every time I heard a colleague shout “Sarah” across the office, I’d think they were trying to get my attention. I’d usually have a moment of panic and get the feeling that I had triple the workload of everyone else. Sometimes it felt as though I was responsible for half the company!


You know what they say about all work and no play. What do you like doing in your private life and in your free time?

The moment I turn my computer off at the end of the working day, I go straight outside for a walk. I make sure I make time for my son, so we can play and read together. I really enjoy cooking and baking too. These hobbies help me to switch off from work completely.


What books are on your bedside table right now and what’s your favourite listening on a relaxing Sunday morning?

I like true stories best of all. I find Was dein Lachen verbirgt (Hiding Behind Your Smile) by Marjorie Waeffler extremely moving. But I enjoy a good thriller too. The French book Le Voisin (The Neighbour) by Tatiana de Rosnay is such a well-written page turner.

Did you enjoy reading this post? Would you like to read more about the people of Apostroph? 

Please send an e-mail to freelance@apostrophgroup.ch.

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