Translation internship: An intern’s peek into the world of professional translation

On the first day of my translation internship, I was welcomed by Anja, three other smiling team members, and a nice cup of coffee. To begin with, Anja gave me some general information about the agency itself, the company’s ethos, the internal workflow and my future tasks as a translation intern. Subsequently, I was introduced to the two CAT tools, Smartling and Memsource, and even translated a few strings in Smartling right away. After my first workday, I went home bursting with eagerness for the coming eight weeks.

During the second week of my internship, when everyone had returned from their holidays, the team organised a welcome lunch for me and we all shared a huge portion of sushi in the upstairs meeting room, while chatting over various translation projects and plans for the weekend.

During the course of this internship, I got the chance to work on a diverse number of translated texts ranging from home security, software products, password management and e-commerce to holiday planning, adverts, and even fashion blogs!

Trelissick Garden

AJT has its own style guide, which serves as a guideline for translators and editors. In Smartling there is also a style guide and a glossary for each client and it is also expected that translators have a look at clients’ websites before translating, in order to understand their needs and goals and to capture the right tone of voice. My translations were usually edited by one of the German in-house translators or by Anja herself. This meant that I often got immediate feedback on my translations and knew what to improve on next time.

The Minack Theatre

 

My favourite project was the translation of the website Cornish Cycle Tours into German. This company is a local provider of organised self-guided cycle tours throughout Cornwall. The website had originally been translated by AJT, however, the content had changed over the years and new tours had since been added to their offering. I had to translate the content for several new tours from scratch and update the translations of the older webpages, so the new content would be available in German as well. After my translations had been edited by one of the in-house translators and I had received feedback on my work, I uploaded the translations with the aid of the content management system WordPress to the new website. This project was not only a great opportunity to learn more about Cornwall, but it also gave me an insight into how a project is processed at AJT, as I was involved in nearly every work step. I learned more about the complexity of bigger projects and the problems that come along with them, as well as the importance of client contact.

Lanhydrock Gatehouse

Furthermore, I also got an idea of the occupational profile of a project manager. Every now and then, I would assist Anja with some basic tasks such as generating pending lists, preparing a website for translation, uploading texts to Memsource and assigning them to translators and editors, keeping track of translation jobs on a spreadsheet, and adjusting the design of translated texts.

AJT attaches great importance to creating a good working environment for their employees. The atmosphere in the office is informal, but at the same time professional. I felt welcomed and encouraged by the entire team and was always supported by the other translators when in doubt or unsure about what was expected. They also integrated me well on a more social level and we would often go out for lunch together or for a pint on a Friday evening.

Fistral beach in Newquay

Newquay is Cornwall’s so-called surfing capital and there are plenty of famous and scenic beaches only a stone’s throw from the office. Cornwall itself has a lot to offer, especially during the summer months. Most weekends, I was usually out and about exploring the coast path, surrounding towns and picturesque fishing villages, time-honoured manors (thanks to the National Trust) and some of Cornwall’s absolute highlights like St Michael’s Mount, the Minack Theatre, and Land’s End.

Looking back over the past few weeks, this internship has given me so much more than I initially could have hoped for. It afforded me a first peek into the world of professional translation in a very friendly and supportive environment, helped me to improve my translation and foreign language skills, and now I can honestly say that I feel well prepared for the final year of my Bachelor’s studies. I would like to highly recommend any young translation student out there to apply for an internship at AJT and share in this wonderful experience.