Lotje De Ridder, Deputy Communication & Fundraising Manager, explains:

“In 2014, I was looking for a good translation partner for my previous employer BIO (Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries). The challenge was to give financial texts a human feel without losing the source text’s specific style. I asked around in my network, and several people recommended Blue Lines. I have been delighted with them ever since the very first translation. It was a great relief not to have to revise texts but to be able to publish them straight away. In 2018, when I needed to translate articles of association for DUO for a JOB, I approached Blue Lines again. We have volunteers who translate short texts for us, such as Facebook posts, but when it comes to important documents such as annual reports, we prefer to work with a professional translation partner.”

The annual report is a significant publication for DUO for a JOB because it is intended to reach a wide range of people, such as sponsors, public authorities and mentors.

“What’s more, that single publication needs to contain a great deal of information, including personal testimonies, figures, and our entire methodology. We try to strike the right chord in French (as DUO for a JOB’s headquarters is in Brussels), and we want the English and Dutch translations to be just as accessible and comprehensible as the source text.”

One thing that Lotje appreciates about her collaboration with Blue Lines is its team’s professionalism.

“The communication with the project managers runs incredibly smoothly, and they always deliver the translations on time. In the five years that I have been working with Blue Lines, I had concerns about a translation only once. When that happened, they immediately suggested asking a different, more specialised translator to revise and modify the text. That is how we still had a good result. I am also very pleased with the translators themselves. I have the impression that they are genuinely excellent and make an effort to get to grips with the company for which they are translating and master its specific vocabulary.”

Socially relevant business practice and communicating about it appropriately have been hot topics for some time. For DUO for a JOB, collaborating with businesses that treat people with respect is self-evident. For example, they would never accept money from the tobacco industry.

“We also want to be sure that our suppliers share our values, and we feel good about Blue Lines in this respect.”

Languages are essential for organisations with cross-cultural activities. To recruit young people, DUO circulates flyers and posters in Turkish and Arabic.

“This is only for the initial communication with the target group. Once these young people start their processes with mentors, they communicate in French, Dutch or English. It has to be a language that they can use on the Belgian job market. It is also an opportunity for these young people to practice a language with their mentors. If they are not yet proficient in one of these languages, the first step will be to look for appropriate language courses. Indeed, all Belgian universities have very accessible Dutch and French courses for more highly educated non-native speakers.”

What makes working as a sponsor and/or mentor for DUO so worthwhile?

“At DUO, it is our mission to give young migrant people the tools to find work themselves. We do not look for jobs on their behalf. Instead we teach them through the mentoring process to build up a network and develop the skills that will enable them to look for work independently. The mentors also learn a great deal. They receive four days of training to learn about employment measures, challenges and context for the young people. They also learn about coaching, active listening, working cross-culturally, and so on, which are all skills that they can also use in their own careers. Some sponsors, such as bpost, ING and Partenamut, give their employees release time at the end of their careers to allow them to volunteer for DUO. The great thing is that after their experience, these people look at their own recruitment policies in different ways, which is very positive for their companies’ own diversity.”


Read more about how this fantastic organisation operates in its annual report, which Blue Lines translated from French into English and Dutch.

If you’re itching to help DUO for a JOB in some way, then take a look at their website and go for it!

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