Language services provider thebigword is celebrating the hard work, dedication and all-round excellence of expert linguists with the launch of the Virtual Linguist Awards.

The new programme rewards top-performing freelance linguists around the world who provide dedicated support to clients in complex and challenging situations.

These men and women are helping to bring peace to conflict zones, save lives in hospitals, ensure the smooth administration of justice and connect exporters with new international markets.

A judging panel comprising representatives from Leeds Beckett University, the International School of Linguists, HR consultancy Paths and Progress and thebigword considered the standout performers among the company’s network of 14,000 linguists.

They chose winners who completed the greatest amount of assignments, words and minutes with maximum customer satisfaction and excellent feedback.

Testimonials paid tribute to individuals who “remained cheerful despite the very testing circumstances”, were “more than helpful to assist on other cases” and “a pleasure to work with”.

Nicole Whitworth, head of languages at Leeds Beckett University, said: “It is easy to underestimate the value that language skills add to our everyday lives.

“Having seen the breadth of services provided by the language professionals working on behalf of thebigword, it is clear that they do more than translating from one language into another.

“They offer a voice to those in need, they provide clarity in stressful circumstances, and they give comfort in difficult situations whether that is in the court room, the hospital or in areas of conflict.

“The commitment and dedication shown by the linguists is commendable.”

Winners received a trophy, a certificate and a recommendation on the LinkedIn professional network, which can be very helpful for freelancers.

Larry Gould, founder and chief executive of thebigword, said: “Linguists are the un-sung heroes of conflict resolution and global commerce.

“They provide expert support to often high-profile customers in high-stakes assignments in environments that can be complex and challenging.

“I am constantly inspired by the stories of bravery, selflessness and professional service from the linguist community.

“The Virtual Linguist Awards are a fitting tribute to the dedication and commitment of these interpreters and translators and part of our ongoing efforts to develop this important international community.”

The company hopes the awards will become an annual fixture for expert linguists.

The categories include:

  • Face to Face Linguist of the Year – UK
  • Face to Face Linguist of the Year – US
  • Defence Linguist of the Year – Global
  • Telephone Interpreting Linguist of the Year – Europe/Africa
  • Telephone Interpreting Linguist of the Year – Americas
  • Translator of the Year – Europe and Africa
  • Translator of the Year – Americas
  • Translator of the Year – Asia and Australasia
  • Reviewer Linguist of the Year – Global
  • thebigword’s Shining Star Award – Global