Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated by languages and the opportunity they present to understand different cultures and lifestyles. It was this curiosity that led me in the direction of my Bachelor's course on English Language and Literature at the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Whilst completing my undergraduate studies, I developed a great interest in linguistics, particularly grammar and semantics. After four years of studies, I decided to move to the UK and undertake a Master's degree in Translation at the University of Surrey. Throughout my postgraduate studies, my interest in localisation grew, and I realised the importance of adapting content to different locales, with cultural identity being prominent and essential in the successful delivery of a product to the global market.
During my Master's course, I had the opportunity to acquire both theoretical and practical knowledge, while analysing linguistic and intercultural theories. I attended technical and economic translation workshops, as well as CAT (computer assisted translation) tools training sessions. The various career fairs, translation seminars and other language-related events organised by the university, in addition to the one-to-one consultations with the department's tutors shed light on how the translation industry operates in the UK and helped me plan my first steps to building my career in localisation.
One month after I completed my postgraduate studies, I joined VSI for a 3-month internship. I learnt of the internship scheme after attending an industry-related seminar advertised by the Translation Department at Surrey. One of the speakers, who represented VSI, spoke of the business side of translation, as well as the internship that VSI was offering to graduate students. At the end of the presentation, I was brave enough to approach them and request more information about the position. I then submitted my application and was lucky enough to be invited to an interview, and then subsequently offered the position.
What attracted me to VSI was the company's specialisation in audio-visual translation, including subtitling, voice-over and dubbing of feature films, TV series, documentaries, commercials, and much more. The company's prestigious clientele and years of experience in media localisation convinced me that VSI would provide a great start to my career.
During my internship, I acquired further knowledge in subtitling, transcription, translation and training in market-leading subtitling software. I provided linguistic support and administrative assistance in project management and file trafficking. I developed organisational, interpersonal and technical skills and was introduced to the company's workflows across different departments.
After completing my internship, I was offered a permanent Project Coordinator role with a London-based translation agency, which I accepted. A few months later, however, I re-joined VSI after seeing a vendor management position advertised on the VSI website. Although I was not unhappy at the new company, I missed the atmosphere at VSI and the opportunity to work on projects for big name clients.
In my current role, it is important for me to have good understanding of the various types of services VSI provide and the specialist translators required for each of them, as it is my responsibility to ensure we maintain and expand our vetted supplier database. It is essential that I display strong organisational, negotiation and communication skills, as well as the ability to juggle multiple tasks. I must also take initiative in order to improve internal procedures and propose solutions to problems.
These skills are predominantly obtained in the workplace, so I would strongly urge anyone looking to enter the localisation industry to gain as much practical experience as possible. What I would also say to current students is always keep your eyes and ears open for potential internships and job openings. Attend industry-related events and seminars to get an understanding of the localisation market and how businesses operate. Be proactive and curious about developing different skills in your chosen field of study. The experience you gain will be the first steps towards a long-lasting and successful career.
This article originally appeared on the Surrey University Careers blog.