Angela Biafora was able to gain experience in project management as an intern in her semester abroad in 2015. She tells us about her working day and the challenges it involved in her report below.
I decided to spend my 5th semester in Woking, doing an internship at STAR UK from July 2015 to January 2016, and it was an incredible experience. I was part of the Project Management team and realised that being a PM doesn’t only mean being communicative and organised, but also very patient and motivated, as your working day is only over when the client is satisfied. I was also given the opportunity to translate various texts from English into German and vice versa using the company-owned TM tool Transit NXT, and was amazed at how horrible some source texts can be (grammatical errors, abbreviations which are not explained, etc.) and how difficult it is to be consistent as regards terminology and previous translations (reference material).
During the internship, I was able to experience working life from a different and more realistic perspective than the picture you are given at any university. I learned that even though project management procedures seem to be the same for every project, every single client has special requirements regarding pricing, rules and terminology. Furthermore, you experience the difficulties that language service providers such as STAR UK face: the translation industry still needs a lot of marketing to reach potential clients. Once they are interested, it is incredible what they think about prices and turnarounds. English as lingua franca is also a problem, as some clients decide to translate their documents and ask for just “a quick revision”, which in most cases ends up being a re-translation.
Another bonus of doing an internship is, of course, that you’re off at weekends and don’t need to do any homework or write any papers. And it’s really worth travelling around England!
Since the 2015 autumn semester, students following the specialisations in Multilingual Communication and Multimodal Communication in the BA in Applied Languages can spend their fifth semester doing an internship. Further reports will be appearing over the next few months under the heading: “Praktikum”.