05 Jun 2019

The importance of internship in the translation industry

Georgia Leverett tells us why an internship with the Surrey Translation Bureau was so valuable.

Throughout my master’s degree, I have been trying to decide which direction to take once I graduate: whether to be an in-house translator, freelancer or even a project manager. It was difficult to know, sitting in a classroom, which role would be best for me. Luckily, I had the opportunity to do a four-week internship at Surrey Translation Bureau (STB), which gave me invaluable insight into how the commercial translation industry works and how each of these roles fits into it. I was also introduced to other departments, including Sales, Marketing and Resource Management, allowing me to understand just how important an agency is within the industry. 

One of the most important things I learned was the role of a project manager in the translation process, something that I had not fully understood during my course. I had several opportunities to shadow the PM teams during my internship; watching them switch smoothly between various projects a mile a minute while maintaining a truly personal rapport with each client and translator was astounding. It also helped me to understand what would be expected of me from a PM if I were to become a freelancer, when it comes to timeliness and communication. This was invaluable information that I wouldn’t have received without the internship.

I was also given various linguistic tasks throughout the four weeks, including translation, editing and localisation. I received thorough feedback on each task, which helped me to hone my skills in a real-world context. I was informed about the type of feedback expected from a PM in comparison to a university assignment. This was really useful – I wouldn’t want to flood a PM with unnecessary comments, but nor would I want to leave them in the dark when an issue arises. I was then shown STB’s quality assurance process and was introduced to a QA program that I’d not been taught about previously. It was really encouraging to see how important quality is to STB and the thorough process they undertake in order to maintain high standards. Finally, I was introduced to Trados and even given the opportunity to become SDL Trados certified!

In my second week I shadowed the Sales and Marketing Managers. This gave me an insight into the number of ways that they build and maintain connections with clients and translators, and I even had the opportunity to phone old clients. Though daunting at first, it was a great experience, and after seeing our Sales Manager in action, I understood how highly STB values strong relationships with its clients and translators.

While working with the Resource Management team, I learnt what the company looks for in prospective translators, in relation to language combinations, specialisms, experience and rates. I was advised on rates I should charge as a freelancer and how I can become specialised in my chosen areas, through courses, webinars and more. I cannot thank Allison (Head of Resource Management) enough for this advice! The account manager, Elmira, also gave me guidance on networking and marketing myself to potential clients which will stand me in good stead as I embark on my career.

Overall, the internship was an extremely valuable experience. I have learned so much about the translation industry that I would not have learned from my master’s degree alone. I am so grateful to have been able to work with such a friendly and professional team and I would recommend this internship to anyone looking to enter the translation industry.  

If you are interested in internship opportunities with Surrey Translation Bureau, please send your CV and a cover letter of what you would hope to gain from the experience to our intern coordinator, Amey Higgon, at [email protected]