Translating by the sea: gaining invaluable experience as a French translation intern

“It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.” – Ernie Harwell

Six months ago, I opened the door at AJT and was warmly welcomed by a team of linguists who I am now proud to call my colleagues. As a university student, applying for an internship is always a crucial and quite scary moment. Going through the test phase, waiting for the results, getting settled in a foreign country – all these new steps in someone’s life could be really stressful. But fear not: everybody here at AJT will make your stay as an intern an extremely rewarding and professionalising learning experience.

Believe me, you won’t be disappointed. What’s on the menu? Translating different types of content such as technical user guides, web apps, medical courses or marketing documentation, as well as editing, transcreating and writing… these are just some of the tasks I’ve worked on over the past six months. As an aspiring translator, I’ve had the opportunity to hone my skills working on various translation platforms, such as Lingotek, Memsource and Smartling. Here at AJT, no two days are the same.

What I worked on

Besides consolidating my experience working alongside a team of linguists, I was also given the chance to try my hand at transcreating, something that was completely new to me. Imagine one of your teachers giving you the following assignment: translate three slogans of fewer than five words each, within two days. How would you react? Translating such a small number of words in two days might sound really easy, but don’t be fooled. I discovered what transcreating is all about: translating and creating. It’s not just about translating three words into your native language: it requires a lot of thought and research, a pinch of creativity, in-depth knowledge of the target culture and, more importantly, multiple brainstorming sessions. This type of transcreation exercise, apart from working on your creative skills, is also a great way to work as a team – you get to join phone calls with the client, sharing your views on the meaning of a slogan and how it should be understood. And I can say this without any doubt; it was one of the highlights of my internship.

What I enjoyed

Highlights and great moments… these are the words that come to mind and perfectly define working at AJT. A friendly and always welcoming atmosphere reigns within the office. Alongside the tapping sound of 11 keyboards, you will quite often hear laughter, funny stories and interesting conversations. The spirit of teamwork is ever-present, and as an intern it is a chance to learn from skilled and experienced translators and proofreaders who are always willing to share valuable tips and hints.

Working hard and conscientiously is crucial, but AJT also places particular emphasis on entertainment, both during working hours and outside of the office. After all, Newquay is a wonderful place to live. My colleagues are always keen on going for a dip during their lunch break or for a surf session after work, or simply enjoying a drink with a sea view. Sounds like paradise, wouldn’t you agree?

This six-month internship has enabled me to discover new aspects of translation and take part in a variety of projects, exploring new fields that I have never had the opportunity to translate in before. Thanks to the amazing support of the whole team, and especially the French team, I’ve been able to gain more translating and editing skills. Throughout your internship, mistakes will inevitably happen – after all, you are still learning. But again, there is nothing to worry about. The well-known adage ‘learning from your mistakes’ embodies one of the core values of AJT: to nurture translation talent.

What I learned

As my time as an intern draws to a close, I would make just one simple recommendation to students looking for a placement in a translation agency: join in as an intern and learn the ropes of translating! You will see it for yourself; all the tips and advice you will get from the team will help you gain invaluable experience. Being an intern in general, and especially here at AJT, is not just about coming to work, translating and going home – it is way more than that. Joining in as in intern will be rewarding in every kind of way: you will develop new skills while improving others, but you will also learn a lot about yourself. The translation world is vast and there is so much to discover. And the same goes for the projects you will be working on during your internship. Research is an important part of the translation process, so you will learn about all sort of things, from learning how to make your own honey butter to choosing the best app to keep your passwords safe on your smartphone.

You might even be tempted to stay there after graduating and become a junior in-house translator… just like me!

Would you like to carry out a translation internship at AJT? Visit our Jobs page to find out more.