In this exclusive interview with Emmanuel Akaolisa of The News Chronicle, Primmer Language Institute Founder, Mrs Sally Osaetin, shares her story, how the institute began, its growth and prospects for the future
TNC: Good afternoon Mrs Sally Osaetin, it is our pleasure to feature you in our interview series. We would like to know more about you and your Primmer Language institute, how you started, and the journey so far.
Sally: Good afternoon to you , I am happy to be here. My name is Mrs Sally Osaetin Ihekwoaba. I’m one of the 3 directors of the company in charge of communication and administration. I used to be the sole proprietor up until 2019 when it became a limited liability company.
I started the organization in October 2012. When I finished my NYSC at ECOWAS, I discovered there was a need for language services in my environment. While I was serving, part of my duties was to help with interpretation, translation, and transcription. I even went as far as training my colleagues and superiors in some foreign languages which I was familiar with, just to see that the work goes on well at the office.
After my Youth Service, I did not get the kind of job I wanted yet, so I used the language classes which I was taking then to keep myself busy. I comfortably did that for five years and it also helped me in my pursuit of certification as a translator. In 2016, I started working professionally with the African Union, then to the Regional Episcopal Mission of West Africa, then to the United Nations, and then with an Embassy while also managing the institute.
TNC: We see that you are good at this, looking at your track records and the prestigious firms you have previously worked with and are currently working with. Did you study foreign languages in school or have you been away from Nigeria for some time to have this kind of experience and acquaintance with foreign languages?
Sally: I am a Nigerian from Edo State, well I studied French in school, but after graduation, I realized that being multilingual is necessary for my line of business and it will help me in dealing with not only my clients but also my students, so I decided to learn Spanish, Chinese, and currently learning German.
TNC: Wow that is very impressive, being able to speak more than three foreign languages is not an easy feat at all. We know every business has its troubles, coupled with running it in a country as challenging as Nigeria, what have been your challenging moments and also your glorious moments?
Sally: The first challenge is that of funding. Getting funding for start ups is very long and tiring and the ones that make it a little easier request a high interest which is bad for business.
Secondly managing people. I had to take several trainings on this and I still do till date. A lot of language graduates do not want to build a career in teaching of course because of the way teachers are paid in Nigeria.
When actually language teaching not just teaching is a well paid profession in many countries around the world except in Nigeria. Same with translation and interpretation which is my core field of training. We hope to create a platform to encourage more young graduates to go into teaching, translation and interpretation. The world is getting better connected and communication is really important. The demand for language specialist has also increased since the COVID 19 pandemic and I hope more language speakers will key into this through our language institute
TNC: How are you received here, how do people get to know about you and be able to reach you? Also, what is your teaching medium like, do you do virtual or just physical classes?
Sally: People know about us, we have clients, so we are received well and are appreciated. We have a website where people can go to know more about us and contact us from. Our classes are both physical and virtual, but virtual classes are preferable because they are simpler and easier for us and the students: it helps cut down the stress and expenses of moving around. But whichever way is fine with us.
TNC: You are an entrepreneur, so do you think entrepreneurship is for everyone or for only a select few? And also what will be your advice to upcoming entrepreneurs.
Sally: Entrepreneurship is not for everybody, because it requires some special skills and qualities. You have to be resilient to be an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, you stand to meet challenges, frustrations, and disappointments anytime and it is not everybody that can stand still in the face of frustration. I, for example, have encountered so many challenges which were enough to make me quit, but I kept on going because I am resilient. So your resilient mindset is what will keep you going as an entrepreneur.
TNC: What are your plans for the institute, your plans to move it forward, and where do you see Primmer Language Institute in the next five years?
Sally: By the next five years, I believe that we will be the number one for language learning, training, translations, interpretations, and so on in Nigeria, and we are currently working hard on that. Our uniqueness and versatility really stands us out from others: we offer about fifteen languages; our students learn a foreign language within a year, which is something that is not common for language institutes. So I believe by the next five years we will be where we want to be.
Our website is www.primmerlanguages.com
Call number: 08064993924