Translation internship at AJT

What to expect from a translation internship at AJT

When it comes to internships, one can’t help but think of “important” tasks such as making photocopies, brewing coffee or doing the grocery shopping for your manager’s in-laws (speaking from experience there…). Unfortunately this stereotype is true for some internships – but luckily it’s far from the truth for a translation internship at AJT! Here’s what you can expect to do as intern at the AJT headquarters in Newquay:

Translating and proofreading texts of all sorts, shapes and sizes

Naturally this will make up a large part of your translation internship, which is exactly what you want and need to be doing as an aspiring translator. The variety of possible translations is immense at AJT. You could be asked to translate a 2000 word terms and conditions page for a major company one day, and then translate a sweet little text about pirates on the next day (and learn all about Cornish myths and fairy tales in the process). It probably won’t surprise you to hear that translations for apps and websites are very much in demand nowadays. As translation intern at AJT, you will get the chance to explore app translation, which is a golden opportunity I would not pass up. What you will also learn as translation intern is how to work with cutting-edge translation technology such as Smartling or MemSource – which are in my opinion far and away superior to the tools I have previously worked with.

Ultimately it is up to you to decide what you want to learn. You will get the chance to have a go at various different kinds of translations, and no one will force you to translate texts beyond your capabilities. In my experience, the AJT team is happy to help with whatever questions you might have, no matter what you are translating.

Linguistic quality assurance

This is a task I was not expecting; honestly I did not even know what it was before my internship. Well I do now! Quality Assurance or in short QA is something that takes place after the actual translation. Let’s say you have translated a website, the QA would then be the equivalent to proofreading a text in context. You have to click through all the pages and buttons on the website, and check whether something needs to be changed. You could for example find that a translation needs to shortened to fit on a button, or that a translation is simply out of context. Doing a QA was definitely a valuable experience, as I had not done anything similar before and can now happily add this to my CV.

Project management, marketing translation, blog posts and whatever your heart desires

You can’t always get what you want –but at AJT you might just get exactly that! Here at AJT, you will have a say in shaping your translation internship. Interns are always encouraged to name a special area they are interested in, or a skill they would like to acquire for their future career. So whether you want to learn about project management, translate or write your own blog posts, or something entirely different – all you have to do is say the word and the AJT team will see what they can do to make it happen.

As a result of translation internships being so popular at AJT, we are already booked until January 2017. However, you are welcome to apply for an internship next year by sending an email to


creative writing for translators - tone of voice

Creative writing exercise for translators: tone of voice

Tone of voice is a big part of our translation work. In order to accurately convey our client’s message in another language, we need to understand who they are themselves, who their potential customers are and how they want to come across to those potential customers.

When working with bigger brands, we often receive a very well-defined style guide which details the tone of voice and even gives examples of ‘buyer personas’, which is very helpful for us as translators. But even without a style guide, we need to be able to look at a source text, identify the tone of voice and apply it consistently to our translations.

Tone of voice is more than just a vague notion of ‘wanting to come across friendly/sarcastic/helpful etc.’ It is about what vocabulary we use, whether we use an active or passive voice, how a piece of text is structured and much more. If you’d like to read up about tone of voice, then this article from Distilled is a good starting point.

But that’s enough theory for now, let’s get practicing. Here is our tone of voice writing exercise for translators:

Grab your notepad and pen and head to a coffee shop, bar, restaurant or hotel lounge near you. (The exercise takes roughly an hour).

Choose two of the scenarios below and describe the place you are at in around 200 words for each scenario. Write in your mother tongue.

  • Scenario 1: You are the marketing manager of XXX and you are writing this text for a brochure that will advertise XXX. Tell the reader why it’s worth coming here and what they can expect.
  • Scenario 2: You are a critic for a lifestyle magazine. You have a sarcastic tone – you might like the place, or you might hate it, it’s up to you, but describe your surroundings with sarcasm in your voice.
  • Scenario 3: You are a first time visitor at XXX and you are writing a review on TripAdvisor. You absolutely love the place, you admire the décor, the food is to die for. You want to live here. Write your review with love and admiration in your heart.
  • Scenario 4: You are a council worker and your job is to write a subjective summary of XXX. Describe the layout, the staff, the food, whatever catches your eye, but write in a neutral tone that doesn’t show any emotion or any like or dislike.

Happy writing! Let us know how it went and feel free to share your musings with us. We’d love to see what you came up with.

Interested in more creative writing exercises for translators? Check out this exercise on how to add empathy to a text, or this exercise about how to write a marketing text to a brief.