Written on 16 August, 2017

While studying for a Masters in Translation prepares you for a career in translation, completing an internship gives you invaluable experience in a professional context. Earlier this summer, I started a six-week internship at Surrey Translation Bureau. I thought I knew lots about being a translator and about good translation practice, but having completed my internship, I think I’ve learnt more in these six weeks than in the year of my MA!

From getting to grips with computer-aided translation (CAT) tools, to working with freelance translators, to invoicing and learning about time management, my time at STB has taught me much more than I expected. Surrey Translation Bureau has an open and involved office, with team members working in all sectors of the translation industry. In the office, there are in-house translators, revisers and editors, project managers, the sales and marketing department, and the resource management team.

One of the main activities during my internship was shadowing project managers and learning about project workflows. The PM team members at STB all work at 100 mph, logging and placing jobs, finding translators, checking projects, liaising with clients — when I first started I didn’t know how they managed it! During my time working here, I got to know each stage of the process, and after a week or two I was involved myself. Getting to grips with the translation software was an invaluable part of the internship; I was also involved in logging jobs on the company database, finding translators and revisers for jobs, and setting up projects. I also worked with the translators, and learned some important and interesting lessons from such experienced and competent professionals. Everyone works incredibly hard to ensure that all staff in the office — as well as the freelancers — are supported, and that the client receives exactly what they wanted.

I would highly recommend an internship in a translation office to any students and prospective translators like me. I’ve learnt so many useful things from my time here, and even gained my SDL certification! A particularly useful aspect of my internship was seeing what makes a valued freelancer; internships don’t just teach you how to work in an agency, but also how to be a successful freelance translator. Students who aren’t sure where to start in the professional world will definitely benefit from a period working with a translation agency. You can gain not only practical skills such as time management, but also more confidence in your translation skills.

Aside from learning about the translation process itself, I also gained experience from the other sides of a translation agency. I got to attend a sales networking event with Marya Jabeen, the Sales & Marketing Manager, where I saw how companies can make connections in the real world and expand their business. It was interesting seeing how a translation agency builds links with clients and how Marya finds new business; it’s a necessary skill for freelance translators too.

Another great experience was helping organise the annual freelancer barbecue. I was heartened to see how enthusiastic the team at STB are to get to know their freelancers, and the barbecue is one of many cool things that are organised throughout the year.

The company is enthusiastic about making sure everyone feels welcomed and valued, which — as someone just getting started in the translation industry — is wonderful to see. After my time spent at Surrey Translation Bureau, I feel so much better prepared for starting my career as a translator, and hope I’m lucky enough to work with the team at STB again in the future.

Has Hannah’s account of her STB experience encouraged you to find out more about us? Why not email us at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk or call 01252 733999?