Written on 8 May, 2018

Before applying to undertake an internship here at Surrey Translation Bureau, I remember wanting to understand more about the role a translation agency plays in translation projects. While my Masters course has largely prepared me for the linguistic challenges of translation and editing, what I didn’t fully understand was where the agency fits into the whole process. After just four weeks here, and having had the chance to experience all aspects of the business, I think it’s fair to say that I now realise just how important an agency is in streamlining the translation process for both clients and freelance translators.

Among several other tasks, I started out with some training with CAT tools, which I quickly realised are essential in the industry. With relatively little experience using them, I was initially overwhelmed with the range of settings on offer. However, thanks to guidance from the team, as well as having the opportunity to become SDL Trados certified here, I now feel extremely confident using them and I know that these skills will help me to improve my approach to translation, for the rest of my Masters course and in the future.

Quality is one of the key aspects that the translation team here prides itself on, and I was trained in a piece of software STB uses in all its projects (which I had no idea even existed) to ensure that no mistakes creep into work and to iron out any inconsistencies. I also learnt about the importance of following the stringent quality control measures that STB has in place, which allows the company to maintain its ISO certification.

An especially useful part of my internship was my second week here, which I spent with the project management team. Although I knew that project managers are the main point of contact for both freelancers and clients, I didn’t realise the scale of the job they do. The project management team puts in extra work to ensure that translators always receive compatible file types, and makes sure any conversions they produce are accurate. One of my tasks involved helping prepare files and I learnt that these tasks, while small, are essential in ensuring that the text is smoothly passed over to the translator. All of the project managers are also fully qualified translators which means they often take on extra linguistic tasks and always have a full understanding of the projects they handle.

I also spent a week with Allison, the Resource Manager here at STB. My time with Allison was invaluable; shadowing her and taking on numerous tasks not only helped me understand the testing process that agencies go through when taking on a translator, but also gave me several ideas and hints on how I should market myself in the future should I decide to go down the freelance route.

Spending time with Craig and Elmira in the sales and marketing team, I understood how hard the team works to ensure that current clients are happy, as well as how they go about searching for new leads. I even had to chance to speak to prospective clients myself, which although scary at first, was a great experience.

Throughout my whole time here, I have picked up a number of tips on how to improve my own translation and editing work, both through thorough feedback from the team and from learning about clients’ expectations. My experiences here have shaped how I will translate in the future, especially in terms of understanding when to take a more liberal approach to texts.

Overall, I have really enjoyed my time at STB; I have gone from knowing very little about what an agency does to having a well-rounded knowledge. The office is very relaxed too – there were even three dogs here at one time – so it has been perfect environment to ease me into the working world! The things I have learnt in my time here can’t be learnt at university, and I would recommend an internship to anyone who is looking to pursue a career in translation.

Has Jack’s account of his STB experience encouraged you to see how our team could fulfil your translation requirements?

Why not contact us by emailing hello@surreytranslation.co.uk