Translators are seldom necessary in business; work is conducted almost entirely in English. My work, along with Tim’s, focused on auditing subsidiaries in Singapore for Grant Thornton US offices. As the main contact for these audits, I was in touch with managers, directors and partners around the United States. As one of the go-to people in the Singapore firm, I was relied upon heavily to advise about U.S. best practices. Because U.S. audits are stringent, the local personnel would often come looking for advice when faced with a challenging problem. I was also given an opportunity to share my knowledge during training sessions.
My international work expanded further as I was called upon to provide advisory services as needed. In one instance, a company bidding for a project with the government of Indonesia requested a financial model and summarized business plan. Tim and I flew to Jakarta numerous times to help them complete their planning and presentation.
My secondment produced many benefits
In Singapore, I typically worked with 10+ clients at a time. The audits weren’t complicated, but I was often in charge of multiple audits simultaneously. The number in Singapore was much higher than the number I had been in charge of in the United States. With this experience, I became better organized and capable of staying on task.
Even though just about everyone in Singapore speaks English, you have to be precise in what you say. I learned to be unambiguous in my speaking and writing.