Tag Archives: internship

University, office and back


As a languages graduate, I have already used my language skills for work, both in the UK and abroad, but the internship at Surrey Translation Bureau was my first proper experience of the language services industry and my first insight into the kind of work I could be looking for after finishing my Masters next September.


Internship in translation

Having not yet started the masters in Interpreting and Translating,I am still unsure whether I will prefer or even be better at translating or interpreting. Nevertheless, working at STB has not only reassured me of the variety of work for linguists, but also of the supportive nature of the industry. I enjoyed the in-house office environment as you can be part of a team you enjoy working with which, more importantly, provides numerous opportunities to learn from those with more experience and to support those with less (just as they have done for me throughout the last month).


As a student at the start of her career in the language services industry, it is very reassuring to see so many women at different stages of their career working and thriving. The flexibility for employees to work part-time or from home not only accommodates for personal preference of work style, but also for young children and any personal or familial situation – a modern workplace!


I have had the opportunity to shadow a variety of roles during my internship, including translation, revision, proof-reading and localisation, as well as project and resource management, GDPR compliance, and roles in sales, marketing and accounts, some of which I had only ever heard of in passing before now. The wide range of jobs available in the language services industry not only allows for personal lifestyle, but also evolving professional interests. Even if you are unsure whether you would like to be a full-time or freelance translator, I would highly recommend an internship at a translation agency as this will give you the experience of other roles that involve daily contact with translation and international clients. You can still take on the occasional proofread, edit or localisation if desired to keep your interest and passion for languages and cultures alive.



I have had such a fun and enlightening month gaining news skills and knowledge at STB. There is such an inclusive and (dog-)friendly work environment in their office in Farnham – their summer BBQ and charity sports month which included hula-hooping, welly-wanging and egg and spoon races being just two examples of the workplace fun. These kinds of activities clearly boost morale and the enjoyment of work so that, when trickier projects arise, issues are resolved not only by fellow colleagues, but by friends.


I am finishing my time at STB feeling better-informed to investigate every opportunity during the MA and am ready to find my niche within an industry I already cannot wait to join!


If you are interested in internship opportunities with Surrey Translation Bureau, please send your CV and a cover letter of what you would hope to gain from the experience to our intern coordinator, Amey Higgon, at A.Higgon@surreytranslation.co.uk


Written by Natasha Craig

Interning at Surrey Translation Bureau


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

Speaking louder than words: theatre and translation


There’s an adage that says the words we use only make up seven per cent of communication and occasionally I think there’s something in it, especially when I’m at the theatre. Millions of us study Shakespeare at school – whether we like it or not – and, by the time we leave, we can usually read it aloud fairly confidently, even if we’re not always entirely sure what he’s waxing lyrical about.




However, in the metaphorical hands of a great actor like Sir Ian McKellen, who recently played the lead in King Lear at Chichester, Shakespeare’s hard-to-decipher words are transformed into a powerful depiction of humanity in its many guises. There are many unseen elements to this: research, rehearsal, direction, even McKellen’s experience of playing Lear in a previous production, but these aspects are manifested in the physical presentation of the words.


King lear


In the case of someone like McKellen, the impact is a lot greater than when we mumbled our way through ‘this sceptred isle … ’ or ‘to be or not to be … ’ in double English. Same words, different effect.


However, none of it has any effect without the foundation of the text. In the modern age, we are bombarded by visual or audio portrayals of the written word, from TV adverts to Hollywood blockbusters, comics to audiobooks, and the text always lies at the heart. After all, what would James Bond be without some carefully crafted one-liners?


The words are even more crucial when we talk translation: When a text lands on a translator’s desk, that seven per cent of the message being communicated is all that they have. They may have pointers from a client, or know it is a certain genre, but the 93% of body language, emphasis, facial expressions and the rest has been stripped away.


As such, these two industries, theatre and translation, have more in common that you might think. Both have at their centre a receptive audience, on whom there is a direct impact. Both industries’ main agents of communication are not, in fact, the primary producer of the source text, but those that give life to its content for their audience. Both hinge on the importance of the written word and its interpretation.


Theatre and translation


Gleaning extra details as part of the translation process, is therefore incredibly useful. In fact, in project managers, we have an industry role that largely focuses ensuring a client’s translation requirements are met. Their conversations with the client are just as important as the translation process itself, as they shape the approach of everyone involved with the project, much like a theatre director.


Throughout my internship at Surrey Translation Bureau, I have collaborated with enthusiastic project managers who take the time to understand their clients and what they want to say. This not only appeals to the linguist in me, but also shows appreciation of the importance of getting to know those you’re working with. No wonder they were awarded the Project Management Team of the Year at the recent ATC conference!


They understand that, while words are the most crucial part of the process, there is so much more to translation. If someone on a stage has ever asked you to lend them your ears, then I reckon you might just agree with me.


If you have any important document/s to translate, why not utilise the expertise of the award-winning Project Management team at Surrey Translation Bureau! Email hello@surreytranslation.co.uk or call 01252733999 to discuss your translation project with a member of their team.


Intern at Surrey Translation Bureau
Felix on his last day of internship at STB with Project Manager Ruth Bond

Felix studied Drama and German at undergraduate level, acting in and directing pieces as diverse as Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, Sondheim’s Into the Woods and Brecht’s Pauken und Trompeten (in German), before going on to pursue an MA in translation. With experience as an occasional amateur performer and regular reviewer for A Younger Theatre, as well as various linguistic projects, Felix has a keen insight into these two surprisingly similar industries, where language is king.

The Professional Status of the Translation Industry


Our intern, Hannah Walmsley, talks about her experiences on the path to becoming a professional translator and her MA dissertation on the professional status of the translation industry.


A pile of dictionaries and translation books - inferior to professional translation services


In an increasingly networked world, the role of professional translators has never been more important. Yet, advances in technology and the rise in phenomena such as crowdsourcing and machine translation have called into question the role of the professional human translator. Surprisingly, some people do not regard translation as a profession in its own right. For some, the ability to understand different languages is coextensive with the capacity to translate. This is an alarming misconception, which sometimes leads to anyone calling themselves a translator. This can result in severe consequences when it comes to producing quality, professional translations and it is, therefore, necessary that quality standards and procedures are firmly in place and that clients are aware of the importance of these.

Having recently completed an MA in Translation and Interpreting Studies I am keen to embark on a career in the industry. However, I have found it unnerving and somewhat disappointing to realise that in such an open profession it seems anybody with knowledge of languages can essentially call themselves a translator. It is this thought that motivated me to investigate the professional status of translation in my MA dissertation thesis, which explores current practices, policies and perceptions of the UK translation profession. I am currently completing an internship at Surrey Translation Bureau and I am delighted to discover that not everybody undervalues the skills and expertise required to fulfil the role of a translator.

Translation, in general, is a widely unregulated profession. There are no minimum standards regarding the skills and expertise required to carry out the role of a translator, neither is there a definitive, standardised career path stipulating the minimum level of qualifications, training and experience necessary to be granted a licence to practice in the profession. This is why so many non-professionals, that is to say unqualified, untrained and inexperienced individuals, continue to depreciate the work of professionals.

Surrey Translation Bureau, however, value and understand the importance of working with qualified and experienced translators, so much so that they only recruit translators with at least a BA degree or equivalent in a relevant foreign language, and ideally a Master’s in Translation or similar; or at least 5 years of industry experience. Having such high-calibre professionals on board allows STB to provide quality translation services that every client can trust.

Interestingly, despite the lack of regulation of the translation industry at large, professional regulatory bodies such as the Institute of Translation & Interpreting (ITI) do exist. Their primary goal is to set standards and govern the practice of member translators/interpreters in order to enhance the professional status of the industry. In order to join such organisations, translators/interpreters must meet strict membership criteria which require them to be qualified and trained or have a significant level of experience in the industry. STB is a corporate member of the ITI and as such, must adhere to its Code of Conduct and commit to providing and promoting quality, professional services.

Furthermore, STB takes great pride in being ISO 9001:2008 certified, as well as being independently accredited to BS EN 15038:2006, which emphasises further the company’s commitment to stringent quality control measures to ensure they are providing the best possible products and services to their clients (you can learn more about these standards here). In addition, staff are encouraged to engage in CPD activities (Continuing Professional Development) in order to boost their professional profiles, skills and expertise. As such, the company keep a record of any webinars, workshops, events, courses and exams undertaken by staff members who, in doing so, remain up to date with the latest developments in the industry.

It cannot be denied that due to its unregulated nature the translation industry is at present undervalued. It is therefore vital that we spread the word about the importance of becoming, or working with, qualified, trained and experienced translators and establish a minimum standard of expertise required to fulfil the role. STB is setting an excellent example for others in the industry. However, sadly in the UK, the underlying problem is the lack of regard for language learning which is highlighted in the National Curriculum. This has resulted in an uneducated public when it comes to careers in languages. This is a long-term issue which will require changes to the fundamentals of language learning in the UK education system.

However, in the short-term, language service providers such as STB have a significant role to play and must continue to enforce high professional standards, educate their clients about quality work produced by professional translators and emphasise the importance of working with qualified and accredited individuals. This communication will prove imperative to enhancing the value and professional status of the translation profession.


Inspired by Hannah’s desire to see stricter controls in place to train quality translators and produce quality translations? Why not contact hello@surreytranslation.co.uk for a quotation?