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Happy 50th Birthday, Wessex!

2022 is a big year for Wessex Translations – we are celebrating our 50th birthday!

That’s right, we have been in business for half a century! In fact, Wessex Translations pre-dates mobile phones, DVD players, the Sony Walkman, disposable cameras, GPS, post-it notes, flat-screen TVs, barcodes, Microsoft, Apple, eBay and Amazon. Hopefully that helps to put our milestone into context without making anyone feel too old!

Sure enough, our newest recruits look at the office fax machine as if it were a wild animal loose in the office. But Wessex goes back a lot further than this – we were providing translation services long before PCs, the internet and email came along.

In the early days, our translators worked on typewriters, sending hard copies of the completed translations by courier. In fact, we used to employ a driver to collect and deliver translations! All of our jobs were written up by hand into our order book and Jonathan travelled into the office by horse and cart. OK, we might be exaggerating with that last part!

While we are thankful that technology has moved on so far in the last 50 years, it’s our longevity that has given us such wonderful long-term relationships with clients and providers. In particular, our long-established roots in Hampshire (Wessex hasn’t moved more than 7 miles in its 50 years of life) have helped us to develop a connection with our local area, and we still work with many amazing local companies, linguists and charities. We feel that this is a reflection of our company ethos – one thing that hasn’t changed over this time!

Wessex’s story

Wessex was first created in 1972 by a husband-and-wife team based in Lockerley, a small village in the countryside a couple of miles north of Romsey, Hampshire. They were chemists who specialised in translation of medical, pharmaceutical and scientific texts.

Our own Paul Stewart and Jill Field came on the scene in 1982, Jill with a flair for languages, and Paul a keen salesman. They took on the company and grew the Wessex family to create a team of expert linguists across a variety of languages and specialisms, building Wessex closer into what it looks like today.

Two of Jill’s sons, Jonathan and Robin, jumped on board in the 90s and, along with fellow director Paul, continue to run Wessex with the same energy, keeping old connections strong while animating a new generation of linguists.

More about our directors, Paul, Jonathan and Robin, to follow – we are really keen to have a chat with them on this momentous occasion, to talk about what the milestone means for them, and share some of their favourite memories over the years (and hopefully some embarrassing old photos if we can persuade them!). So keep an eye out on the blog for more from the directors!

We’ll be taking the opportunity to talk to other members of the team for our blog, too – and of course we plan to have ourselves a Wessex party!

As well as the big 5-0, we have a few ‘big’ birthdays happening in-house (we’ll resist being specific with ages!) and the well-earned retirement of our longest-standing team member, Chris. We’re hoping to have a chat with Chris before he leaves us for some feet-up time, so watch this space.

All this reason to celebrate comes after what has been an extremely trying couple of years for everybody. It has been a challenge for the business and an emotional challenge for each and every person we work with, in a huge number of ways.

The Wessex team succeeded in staying connected with one another, with our customers and our linguists, and now we are back in the office enjoying the simple pleasures of sharing coffee and cake together as a team.

We are relieved and extremely grateful to be here two years on, announcing our 50th birthday. If anything, the recent tough times have just made us want to embrace the milestone more, and celebrate!

We are often so involved in our work (read: dedicated!) that we don’t pause to look at how far we’ve come, and give ourselves a pat on the back for the work we’ve done. We think Wessex’s longevity speaks volumes about not just our services but our connection with people – providers, customers, colleagues, both local and international! So we are beaming with pride this year.

Come back to visit the blog soon, as we will be delving into our 50-year history.

Happy Birthday, Wessex!

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