The Linguist

The Linguist 54,6

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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18 The Linguist Vol/54 No/6 2015 STARTING OUT Aurélie Geldof-Eke found an unpaid internship in an attempt to move gradually into freelance translation. But can working for free really pay off ? C hanging your career to become a translator and entering the world of freelance work can be challenging. Most of the translators I have met so far have been happy to share their knowledge and tips, but the competition is fierce nonetheless. There are workshops to help you get started, but if you have to take an unpaid day off work and pay for travel costs to attend, the expense can be prohibitive. When I made the decision, about 12 months ago, to move entirely into freelance work, I realised that I would need to enter the world of translation gradually, keeping my job as support staff in a school while building up my experience and contacts. I started by passing a third of the Diploma in Translation and volunteering as a translator with Oxfam France. Then, in the summer, I took a bigger step towards setting myself up as a translator when I was accepted as an intern in a local translation agency. It took five attempts, by emails and phone over a three-month period, to secure the internship. I had focused on one agency because I thought that would be more effective than sending a blanket email to lots of companies. There are only two agencies I could commute to – one close to my home in Norfolk and the other a train ride away, requiring a travel budget. I chose to contact Integro Languages after a careful analysis of their website, which conveys the idea of a professional, friendly, energetic and hard-working team specialising in international business, insurance markets and creative media. For me, the fact that it was a small team was a bonus. Following an intense induction day, I started my five-week placement in July. I may have sacrificed a lazy summer in France visiting family during the school holiday, but the experience was worth it. Integro is a team of four lovely people who are not translators but work with a network of freelance translators and proofreaders. I spent most of my induction with Managing Director Tom and Project Manager Mel, who explained the main projects and areas Integro work in, and how they keep a record of the projects. I also assisted Tom with an intriguing subtitling project. The first week started with me shadowing Mel and familiarising myself with the database and the daily work that the project THE INTERN

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