Global Connects Blog Post-James Fitzsimons


I have been doing an MSc course in Business Translation & Interpreting at Strathclyde University. As part of this course, I was given the opportunity to select an Industry Placement module. For 20 credits towards my degree, I am required to accumulate 60hrs-worth of work experience in the translation sector, and then submit a portfolio piece on my experience which represents 100% of my grade. During the process of selecting a place to complete the placement at, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to work at Global Connects in Glasgow.

My placement journey began on the 27th of February and ever since I have spent every Monday in the Global Connects office. I have really enjoyed my time with Global Connects. Not only have I had the chance to experience first-hand the daily activities of professionals working at a language service provider, but I have also acquired a taste for what it is like to operate in a healthy working environment.

On my first day, I naturally felt nervous yet excited upon arrival. I was nervous since I had never gained translation work experience at this level before, or experience in an office for that matter. In particular, the thought of potentially getting in the way of those I would be working with (asking questions etc whilst they’re working) because of my inexperience contributed to my nerves. However, Fiona and her team (Antonia, Lauren, and Mollie) could not have made me feel more welcome and at ease in that regard. Although, I was mostly excited because I was very keen to become part of the internal workings of a language service provider company and to put my skills (so far only enhanced in an educational setting) to the test.

I have undoubtedly found translation work interesting. Gaining experience with the CAT tool, MemoQ has been unvaluable as I hadn’t encountered CAT tools through my postgraduate course. I am aware of how important they are within the translation realm; therefore, I know the importance of familiarising myself with them. Although, what I have found most stimulating is the post-editing and formatting work. Given that I am currently a translation masters student, I have spent plenty of time heightening my translation skills, but until now I hadn’t had any translation editing experience. Being perfectly honest, I only expected to be doing translations upon beginning this placement because I have never had any other exposure to editing/other translational tasks. So, the fact that I have been given the chance to experience other realistic day-to-day tasks at a language service provider has really opened my eyes to the industry. As an example of work, I have enjoyed formatting tasks in which I have been tasked with editing a target text’s layout, so it matches that of the source text. For instance, the editing process often features fitting speech into a speech bubble in a leaflet which was previously overlapping into other bits of text.

Despite this being made out to be a laborious task, I have really enjoyed doing certifications. I find this task’s methodical element really satisfying, almost like a good warm-up for the day’s work! Furthermore, reading the content of the translations I certify is often very engaging. Being someone who is of course interested in languages, I also like observing which English borrowings feature in other languages. Or, conversely, points of a text where I might expect a borrowing from English, but don’t see one. Moreover, I find myself subconsciously taking mental notes of certain vocabulary even in languages I don’t work with, and noticing whether languages use the same numerical or metric system as English.

Overall, the experience at Global Connects has been both enlightening, enjoyable, and one which I would recommend to any budding young translator…especially for those who have the opportunity to do work experience or get a placement with a particular emphasis on students who choose to study my current course at Strathclyde. Thanks to my placement at Global Connects I have not only gained invaluable experience of the working world in general and more specifically the day-to-day life of a translator, but I have also given myself another opportunity to better my studies. This placement has given me first-hand experience of translation which simultaneously betters my skillset for the postgraduate degree that I am currently working towards.