On my way to becoming a communications professional
I am Lavinia Tuena and I have been studying Applied Languages since 2016 at the ZHAW in Winterthur. I opted to do an internship in the fifth semester of my Bachelor’s degree because I wanted to gain first-hand knowledge of working as a translator and acquire hands-on experience in a linguistic environment. So, I worked as a translation intern for five months at SwissGlobal Language Services in Baden.
The Bachelor's degree in Applied Languages at the ZHAW provides an opportunity for me to develop and enhance my linguistic skills in four languages and communicate in multilingual contexts. At the ZHAW, I am learning to work on a wide variety of texts in several languages. Additionally, I am becoming familiar with the relevant programs used in linguistic work across a variety of media, including written and audiovisual translation and respeaking. In translation tutorials, I am able to discuss and correct my translations in class and learn how to use various aids, such as electronic dictionaries and glossaries. After covering the theoretical aspects, I am then able to apply the knowledge gained to individual or group projects.
On completion of the Bachelor’s degree in Applied Languages, ZHAW students have access to a wide spectrum of professional opportunities in environments where they will be required to communicate in a range of linguistic, cultural and professional contexts, such as NGOs, industrial companies, language services providers or commercial hotels serving international clients. Students who want to work as a translator will specialise in a specific field, usually after completing a Masters in Applied Linguistics, and may go on to work for a translation agency, for the language services department of a business or as a freelance translator.
First steps in the world of work
During my internship at SwissGlobal, I have undertaken a wide variety of tasks, including translating and revising texts, creating style guides and setting up translation memories. I also revised websites and worked as a project manager. During this time, I was able to draw on the wealth of experience and knowledge I acquired at the ZHAW and I became accustomed to an everyday experience that was quite different from the college life I am used to.
For example, I translated and revised texts from German to Italian using the SDL Trados Studio 2017 CAT tool. For these tasks, I found that the practical advice I received from teachers and fellow students in translation tutorials was helpful, as were the research methods that I was introduced to in previous semesters.
The experience gained in group projects and class discussions at the ZHAW around translation issues, including expressing and accepting criticism, proved useful in my relationships with my colleagues at work. Additionally, I developed and built on the basic knowledge of SDL Trados Studio 2017 that I acquired at the ZHAW, and successfully completed the SDL certification exams for translators at three levels (Getting Started, Intermediate and Advanced).
At SwissGlobal, I was given translation assignments requisitioned by the end client. This means that I was able to communicate directly with the client and clarify any doubts or queries. In addition, as a translator I received feedback from impartial language professionals who previously had revised my translations. On the other hand, in my role as project manager I became familiar with the end-to-end translation process, from the client’s instruction through to delivery of the final revised translation.
SwissGlobal is a translation agency that aims to offer top quality services and is ISO certified (ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 17100:2015). In my work, I was thus required to match the standards established under that certification and, above all, to respect clients’ style guides so as to fully meet their expectations.
My internship has been a positive experience. Right from the start, my colleagues included me in important projects and my opinion was often sought on linguistic questions. My experience of the translation process was enhanced by regular use of SDL Trados Studio 2017 and by helpful suggestions from my expert colleagues. Additionally, the reviews of my translations by impartial language professionals, and their feedback, helped me to better understand my mistakes and avoid repeating them. I am certain that the experience gained at SwissGlobal will be of great help to me as I go on to complete my studies and in my future professional life.