Time flies! 6 months have gone by since Fiona Gillespie started her internship at Red Tape Translation. We asked her to contemplate her time at work, her blossoming relationship with Berlin and of course, her future.
What was the highlight of the internship?
There have been so many highlights in my 6 months with Red Tape Translation. I think the main highlight for me has been the variety of it all. I’ve worked on translations from purchase contracts to cannabis permits, booked swimming lessons and law consultations as well as observed declarations of paternity and many appointments with notaries on the Ku’damm. Oh, and also a trip to prison! I never could have imagined how varied each day would be. The 6 months have flown by and I feel like I will leave with a wealth of experience and good tips.
Which situation really challenged you?
At least to begin with, I think German phone calls were the most challenging. There’s something quite daunting about speaking on the phone in a foreign language and not having the luxury of being able to lip read – I didn’t realise how much we read people’s lips and facial expressions when we communicate. With that being said, no phone call was a failure! I set myself up beforehand with all the vocab that could crop up and made sure I didn’t leave a phone call until I had the answers I needed. It’s important to remember a phone call is just two people on the phone and the person on the other end will more than likely be encouraging and helpful. Mission accomplished!
Which achievement are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the volume of documents I’ve translated (with amazing feedback and support from Kathleen). During my studies at university we normally just translate small newspaper articles or website extracts. This meant that coming from university into something professional was quite the leap! I really feel as though I have learned so much about translation and the feedback is something I will carry through the rest of my studies.
What advice would you give to an intern getting started in the translation and interpreting world?
A few tips:
- Stay organised – sometimes there can be a few different projects overlapping. I am a big fan of checklists and to-do lists to keep me on track.
- Always make some time to go over the feedback given on your documents. Even if it took me a week or so before I got a few minutes to go back over a document, it is really important to try to take in as much of the feedback as you can. Try to apply the feedback to your next documents – I am always working on this!
- Have fun! Enjoy the variety of it all and make the most of observing appointments. Ask the interpreters questions about the appointment and also their interpreting style. Everyone has slightly different ways of doing things and there are always things to be taken away from these appointments. It has been a real joy to be a fly on the wall with so many interpreters.
What’s next for you?
After I finish up with Red Tape Translation in mid-July, I then have five weeks to enjoy the summer in Berlin! I know it will be amazing and I have an endless to-do list of places I want to visit in the city. There are a few trips planned to other cities in Europe and then, before I know it, I will be on a plane back to Glasgow to enter my Junior Honours year of MA German and Spanish at the University of Glasgow. I know I will miss Berlin when I get home, so I need to make the most of my time here. In 2020, I look forward to spending a semester abroad in a Spanish-speaking country to try to brush up on the Spanish I have somewhat neglected.
Overall my experience in Berlin has been incredible and I have Kathleen and the amazing team at Red Tape Translation to thank for that. This city has given me so many strokes of luck and it will always have a piece of my heart! Bis zum nächsten Mal, Berlin!