23 June 2016
Dafydd Jones, currently studying an MA in Translation, has written a blog about his internship at Andiamo! Language Services Ltd. He talks about his expectations prior to the internship and reflects on his time at Andiamo!, describing the main challenges and what it’s really like to work in a language company.

As someone trying to use their German and French language knowledge in their career, I thought if I were to choose a Master’s programme in Translation, it should be one with an internship. I think that actually having the chance to practically apply the academic knowledge I have is really important to seeing how I can be a really valued language professional.

Looking at Andiamo! before I started, I could see that they were obviously a successful business with clients who valued their expertise. After they had said that I could come and join their programme to coincide with my course at Lancaster University, I was interested in seeing what jobs I would actually be doing. I thought that my vocabulary was far from what it should be if I was to be working to extend translation memories. It turned out that Andiamo’s work was a bit more intricate than just working with computers to improve translations in that way. Work is predominantly project based and lots is happening all at once so projects have to be managed with care. It seems that their project managers always have to be positive and flexible in finding the best way to get a job done. Having seen all this in action, I know I’ve got much more to learn, but it’s set me well on my way.   

The team at Andiamo! were very friendly and helpful and that meant I was able to settle in quickly to the programme. As they provide a multilingual service, they have to have an appropriate protocol and be extremely accurate in what they are doing to meet industry standards and provide a good service. I think seeing that gave me a real insight into what the demands of being a Language Service Provider entails and I saw how Andiamo! keeps up quality in delivery of work. As I saw the team focus in on their targets and areas where they could improve the business, I could see they had the kind of strategic thinking that must be quite sustainable in the general business environment.

Over the four weeks, I got involved in the recruitment process, finding freelancers and checking CVs, chasing references and following protocol. That brought with it some hard moments of analysis in seeing whether a supplier was going to be experienced enough. I also checked translations and interacted with translators to turn the target language into something that could be relied upon for the client. That was a good exercise in ensuring effective translated communication! Furthermore, I helped prepare quotes for jobs (performing word counts); I got to master the company CRM system, where they store and update client and supplier data; and I also attended team meetings, which were a great insight into the actual operating practice of an LSP itself.

Overall, I enjoyed the fact that after I learnt how the systems worked, I could increase my speed of reply and processing of all the information that was needed for either recruiting a translator or checking a translation. I enjoyed seeing everyone’s efficiency. Also, I really appreciated seeing the variety of the kind of work involved in language service provision. It might sound clichéd, but it was nice as well just to be able to see the good nature of the team in the office. There is a positive level of interaction around the work, too. I know that in the future if I get to work in Project Management or in something similar, I have a reference point for what a good team looks like in practice.

Considering my working life after graduating, I am now beginning to gain a better idea of the kind of things I would like to be involved in. Working in some way for a company like Andiamo! or being involved in language provision and the project management side of the industry would be ideal.

I’d advise any translation student to do an internship, given the number of things you’ll be able to learn. Getting a practical insight into language provision and, specifically, seeing the people behind such a company putting all of their energy into completion of a job is invaluable. I am very grateful to Andiamo! for having invested their time over the internship into my practical learning.