Read our interview with copywriter & translator Heather Moore, who has lived in Zurich for nearly 5 years, but who still remembers the bewildering first few weeks in Switzerland. She tells us about how she makes the most of her time here.
NiZ – What kind of work do you do as a copywriter in Zurich?
My work falls mainly into two categories: copywriting for brochures, websites and company reports, and translating or editing text written by non-native English speakers. Switzerland is an amazingly multi-lingual country and lots of people speak good English, but far fewer can write it well. There’s nothing like really badly written copy to make a great website look cheap and unappealing! It’s a simple fact that English is the number one online language, preferred by an estimated 480 million internet users worldwide. If you want international customers to interact with you, make sure you have at least your core web content in English.
Some clients also want help with smaller tasks like writing a job application, editing a paper or perhaps producing a flyer for their own business – I especially like these projects as I know that I am often helping someone to make a real difference to their future. Interestingly, many of my clients are Mother-tongue English speakers who struggle with concise or formal English, or who just never quite got their head around our quirky grammar and spelling. Writing is a skill like any other: if you want to present yourself or your company in the best possible light then it makes sense to let a professional help you.
NiZ – You were lucky enough to find work very quickly here, but how do you fill your spare time?
I was fortunate to move here with a portable career, but of course there is more to life than work, and for anyone who moves here as an accompanying partner, the lifestyle change can come as a huge shock. No office to go to, no friends to meet, no sense of purpose to your day. The local language is baffling, the bureaucracy intimidating, the welcome sometimes rather luke-warm. Zurich is a wonderful place to live by anyone’s standards, but to enjoy it, you have to get to know it, and that is where a site like NewinZurich.com is so useful. I have found information on there about everything from specialist shopping to summer day trips, high-brow cultural events to the annual cow parades which every visitor should see. I like the fact that the info is all in English but that the perspective is very local, with far more current and relevant detail than any other Zurich website I know. Plus it is regularly updated, so there is always something new and interesting to read.
NiZ – Any tips for someone who has just arrived and wondering where to start?
Having a job helps give many of us a sense of identity which can get lost when we leave our home country, but having the right attitude to our new home is the most important thing of all. So my recommendation would be make the most of NewinZurich to help you make the most of living in Zurich. And when all else fails, just smile and consider this quote from US writer and critic Clifton Fadiman: “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.”
Heather Moore is a freelance copywriter, editor and translator. She specializes in travel brochures and editing text for non-native English speakers. She can also help write your covering letter, your LinkedIn profile, your work bio or your company report…in fact anything where good written English is important. www.mooremarketing.co.uk, firstname.lastname@example.org