As the ninth edition of the DelinguaLAB programme came to an end, the 14 LAB participants looked back on what they had learned over the past three months.
DelinguaLAB is a programme for promising future talents. The programme has been a great success – it is intended for students who have just graduated or are in the final stages of their studies and are interested in working in the language service industry.
The benefits of LAB go both ways: we find new top talent for the industry while also providing the participants with important know-how and access to the job market. We educate the participants about the realities of the industry and give them tips on where to focus.
DelinguaLAB is usually organised twice a year, in the spring and autumn. Previous participants have found their own place in the industry and are now working as project managers, localisation managers, translators and interpreting coordinators, for instance. The main focus of the programme is to share information about the industry’s requirements and career alternatives, and also advise participants on how to build their own personal brand and stand out from the crowd. “Specialise and stand out” sums up very well the core of the programme.
A week in a project manager’s shoes
Tommy Nylund, Timo Suuronen, Petra-Maria Miettunen and Mika Heiskanen, who all participated in this autumn’s programme, each completed a one-week internship as part of the LAB. During their time at the office, they got to see what daily life in a privately owned translation agency is like and what tasks are included in the working day of a project manager.
The students thought the internship period was a useful experience, and they would not have minded continuing it for even longer. They found working at a translation agency interesting and hectic, in a good way, and the experience provided them with an opportunity to ponder their own career choices.
“The internship provided concrete lessons on how a privately owned translation agency works and how wide the range of customers and translation-related tasks really is,” says Timo, describing his internship experience.
A programme that teaches industry realities
The impression of the translation industry provided by university studies can be quite different from reality. According to many LAB participants, their own perceptions of the industry changed and interest in working in the field grew during the programme. The students’ next steps will be to work as freelance translators as light entrepreneurs.
“Just a while ago, I was wondering if this industry was really for me. However, I’m happy to say that I’m now feeling much more positive about it. The programme made me realise that this is what I want to do in the future,” says Petra-Maria.
All of the students agreed that they were positively surprised to find out that the sector is in fact growing. The language service industry is by no means dying, even though the participants have heard talk of this during their studies.
“The amount and hectic nature of the work came as a pleasant surprise to me. Project managers work with a lot of different tasks,” says Tommy.
It is a common misconception that the work of translators is at stake in the future . In reality, the same possible threat has been discussed for decades. There is plenty of work in the industry, although the form of the work will change over time.
LAB participants’ tips on maintaining and developing language skills:
- Read as many different texts as possible, both in a foreign language and in Finnish.
- In addition to reading, it is important to actually use the language. Write a diary, participate in language clubs, update social media or try creative writing, for example.
- Keep yourself up to date with new words and language developments.
- Learn to translate the idea of a text, especially when translating marketing texts. Do not just translate word for word – pay attention to meaning and effect.
- Interpreting makes a translator faster and translating makes an interpreter more careful. Mastering both skills makes the use of language quicker and more fluent.