I was born in Leeds in West Yorkshire in the north of England. After graduating as an interpreter and translator in French and German at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh in 1989 I relocated to Korneuburg -- a small town in Lower Austria just outside Vienna -- to work for two years at a Handelsakademie or college of commerce as an English Language Teaching Assistant.
During this time, in addition to my regular teaching commitments, I began organising and running seminars for professionals and trainee teachers for organisations such as the Lower Austrian Education Authority, Philips Austria and various other Austrian companies.
After my two year stint in Korneuburg I began working as an Exchange Lecturer in the Dept. of English and Business English at the renowned Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (Vienna University of Economics & Business Administration). Tasks there included teaching ProSeminars (preparatory tutorials) in Business English, helping to organise and run external seminars on the EU and Money and Banking issues with Dr Werner Stengg (now at the European Union) for Professor Ciaràn Cassidy and the 'infamous' and sadly no-longer with us Prof. Hugh Dominic Purcell, presentation technique courses, communication skills and seminar coaching. One of the seminars resulted in myself and my friend and colleague Werner Stengg co-authoring a Skriptum (lecture notes / compendium) entitled "The EC. Everything you always wanted to know but were too afraid to ask!" which was published by the in-house publisher of the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien in 1993.
A bit of a workaholic I also opted to sacrifice my early mornings (and 'early' really means 'early'!) for a few months to work as a producer on the Blue Danube Radio breakfast show, a station that belongs to the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) and caters for the English-speaking community in Vienna and the neighbouring provinces and a good many Austrian listeners to boot.
Employment at the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien also led to offers to help run and teach seminars for ABC -- the Austrian Banking Club international -- the Austrian Central Bank's language and banking training institute for eastern European bankers as well as countless specialist translations in the field of marketing, advertising, business, politics and personnel management.
Approached by the language service of the German Bundestag in Bonn, I then relocated to the (still, in everything but name) capital of Germany in 1994 to work as a staff translator but I soon found the anonymous, closed-door and extremely bureaucratic ambience there a tad stifling to say the least. So I took the plunge and opted to turn freelance in a new city, with lots of well-established, well-connected competition and try and go it alone.
And I’ve never looked back! Since that date I’ve become a successful provider of ESP training, specialising in financial services & insurance, telecommunications, banking, personnel management and politics as well as presentation and negotiations and meetings seminars.
Time constraints in an industry of immediate deadlines have meant that translation and interpreting occupy little of my time nowadays though more than a fair share of weekends are still spent in front of the computer screen.
Current and past clients include Deutsche Telekom, the Deutsche Bank group, the facilities management group SerCo, Zurich Group Germany, French construction materials company Lafarge and the aid organisation Médecins sans Frontières as well as the OECD, Deutscher Industrie und Handelskammertag (Association of German Chambers of Commerce and bi-national Chambers), the German Committee for Natural Disaster Mitigation (formerly German IDNDR Committee) not to mention the odd politician -- who unfortunately have to remain nameless.
I’m also a regular contributor to the German ESP magazine Business Spotlight.