Current intern with The Translation People’s Birmingham office, Max Cowley, recounts his transition from academia into the real, translation-related world.
Having just finished my Translation Studies MA at the University of Birmingham, I felt it was high time to try and gain some valuable experience of the translation industry itself. Passionate about French and Translation since long before my undergraduate degree, I was sure in which area I genuinely wanted to find a career. Until contacting The Translation People in October, I had dabbled with various bits of paid and unpaid translation work for a handful of companies and agencies in both France and the UK. However, I still lacked the level of experience demanded by so many employers today as well as a real insight into the world of freelance translation. When The Translation People contacted me to say there was a work placement available until December, I jumped at the chance to accept their offer.
Upon arrival at the Birmingham office, I received a very warm welcome from all the staff who have made me feel part of their team. I have spent a richly rewarding few weeks at the Birmingham office so far, in which I have had a range of interesting experiences and tasks.
Firstly, (and importantly) I have gained a real insight into the workings and demands of freelance and agency translation. It has given me first hand experience of what is needed to become a freelance translator in what is a very competitive market. Equally, I have seen (and been a part of) the processes through which work is prepared, distributed and checked. I am now a lot more aware of what is required and expected of a freelance translator.
This work placement has also enabled me to re-familiarize myself with Trados, the indispensable Translation Memory Tool. With previous, superficial knowledge of older versions of Trados, the opportunity to use and practice with the 2009 suite furthered both my understanding of the TM and my confidence in using it. I have also been fortunate enough to re-familiarize myself with other parts of Trados such as TagEditor and WinAlign, meaning I feel a lot more at home with this important CAT tool then ever before.
Other daily duties such as proof-reading, translating, preparatory tasks, translation formatting, and contributing to the web-site mean that no two days have been the same!
I have also taken considerable enjoyment from being involved in the Project Management side of Translation, an area into which I would be interested in moving. I have enjoyed the responsibility of distributing translation jobs, working with deadlines in mind, and keeping contact with translators via email and telephone. I have found these experiences particularly interesting and rewarding. Because of this I am keeping my mind firmly open to a Project Management-related job or career in the near future.
All in all, I have had a brilliant time with The Translation People. My colleagues have been warm, helpful and friendly and I have taken a considerable amount from this experience. It has confirmed my desire to work in the translation field, and has sparked an interest in the more practical, project management side of the industry too. The placement has provided me with an opportunity to expand upon my MA in applying some of my linguistic and personal qualities to a professional translation environment. Hopeful that this internship will represent my first steps towards a career in translation, I could not have asked for more from my time with The Translation People!