As a university student doing a Modern Languages degree, and after my third year abroad in Spain, the looming prospect of the rest of my life that has been creeping up behind me is starting to hit home. Many people I know are graduating and looking for (or, in an alarming amount of cases, have already found) employment.
Given that I have just one year left of my degree, I have come to realise I need to broaden my CV, and do some things to make it stand out a little more. During my studies I have always enjoyed the translation and technical side of languages – much better than 18th century French literature – and an opportunity arose to spend some time working with Lingo24; a modern translation company spread across the world – with an office in Edinburgh.
Sitting on a very long train up to Scotland, I contemplated what I would do with the company for two weeks; probably a bit of quiet observing, the daily Starbucks run, and generally being a nuisance. But that’s fine, I could tart that up on a CV. What actually transpired has been a thoroughly interesting and rewarding experience that I feel few people will have when I return to my language and translation classes in September.
Primarily I learnt a lot out about the process of professional translation, working with the source text through whatever style is requested, and also how and where I could expect to fit into that as a working translator after university. I was then able to look at creating a CV tailored towards translation, and how to build up the experience for it, from small freelance projects working towards larger agencies such as this one.
I have had the opportunity to work on real projects completed by Lingo24, and compare my own work to that of the real deal translators. I have found that being a good translator is not the same as being a good linguist, as there are many other skills needed on top of simply knowing the languages. I’m glad to have had this experience to improve and encounter real translation needs in order to prepare me to embark on my own translating goals.
Furthermore, I have had a chance to see into the competitive business side of a translation company, completing a competitor analysis report on other top translation companies, and considered what they are doing well what can be done to keep on top of them. This was fun as I got to match their combined best features against Lingo24, and create ‘battle cards’ (a powerpoint presentation with the features side by side) for them in order to compare. This has been interesting to see the practical side of business and how different companies work, and further broadened my knowledge of translation companies. I have also learnt about the amazing translation technology created by Lingo24 which makes translating faster and cheaper, and thought I tried hard to understand the intricacies of how it works, I’ll need more time working with it to grasp it fully.
This has been a fantastic experience and a fantastic company to work with. The office atmosphere is really relaxed and everyone made me feel comfortable and welcome. They have a lot of fun yet everyone works so hard; I hope I can work somewhere like this in the future. I have had a great time here and met some amazing people, and I am grateful for all their time given up for me.
*Photo credits: docstockmedia / Shutterstock.com