Meet our member Crystelle Mills-Smith!

Name: Crystelle Mills-Smith
Services offered:
Translation, editing and proofreading
Language combination(s):
French to English
Legal, Technical (Defence & Railways), Corporate communications
Colchester, Essex
Contact info:

Could you tell us a bit about your professional background?

I studied French and German at the University of Sussex, before moving on to the University of Bradford to study for an MA in Interpreting and Translating. After completing my master’s dissertation, I applied for and was offered a job as an in-house linguist at the UK Ministry of Defence. After 10 years at the MoD, I took up a post as an English translator at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. I stayed there for a year before returning to the UK to set up as a freelance translator.

What services do you provide and in what areas?

I offer translation services from French to English in the legal and technical fields and I also translate corporate communications (newsletters, training manuals, etc.). In addition, I provide editing and proof-reading services to a small number of clients.

What makes you stand out?

I have a French background (my mother is French and I have family in France), I speak, read and write French on a daily basis and spend as much time as I can in France. Being immersed in the language helps me to really understand the idiomatic expressions and cultural references that crop up in the texts I work on.

What do you like most about your job?

The variety! I enjoy the challenge of working on different types of text and the intellectual exercise of translation. For example, over the past couple of months I’ve been translating website copy for a bed and breakfast business based in Burgundy. This is totally different to the technical manuals and legal documents that make up the bulk of my work. I love really getting to grips with a French text and producing an English version that reads naturally.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I run a successful trampoline club and I coach trampolining for 11 hours each week. As well as travelling to various venues in East Anglia for regional competitions, several of the gymnasts I coach also compete at national level so we travel around the UK for competitions too. I’ve been to Cardiff and Sussex so far this year, and will be travelling to Durham, Birmingham and Sheffield later in the year. I also enjoy gardening and reading.

What’s your favourite part of East Anglia?

I love Dedham Vale, and Constable Country more generally, and I also enjoy spending time on the coast around Mersea Island and Tollesbury. Colchester itself is a great place to live too: we have some fascinating history right on our doorstep with the castle, the Roman wall and circus, Gosbecks archaeological park and many other places of interest in and around the city.