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Connecting Students with the Industry

Back in 2016, when I became responsible for the Memsource Academic Edition and our partnerships with academic institutions in general, my main goal was simple. I wanted to spread the love and present the benefits of cooperating with Memsource to as many academic institutions as possible.

As the number of universities offering training in Memsource grew – and quite significantly, I must compliment myself, as it doubled from 56 to 103 in a year – the objectives began to shift. We used 2017 to better understand our clients, the professors supporting our program, and knowing how they worked with Memsource and how we could adapt the program to better suit their expectations.

I had the invaluable opportunity to peep into the mechanics of a number of different translation programs, to see how trainings were structured, and how students get to know about our tool. Thanks to that, I was able to identify what Memsource could do to further help students become prepared for the translation industry – and actually offer the professors a chance to give feedback and talk through future ideas.

The exploration resulted in both the Memsource Student Certification Program being launched last September and a number of smaller projects such as interviews with students, a professor’s input on being successful in the industry, and hosting a contest.

Stay tuned, we are working with yet another professor on a similar project. Dr. Dragoș Ciobanu set the bar high with his insights receiving a significant amount of readers’ attention: How to Start a Translation Career: A Guide for Students

Unveiling the Project

The improvement of the academic program continues in 2018 with the introduction of the Talent Endorsement Program. Its purpose is to connect top performing certified students with translation agencies that work with Memsource.

The goal is simple: Offer students an additional chance to get some external translation practice and to offer translation agencies a way to connect with skillful students proficient in the Memsource platform with a potential of becoming longer-term colleagues. We consider this a win-win.

“The industry-academic partnerships play a huge role as they give the students the opportunity to learn more about what their future work may entail. At the same time, industry representatives can evaluate up-and-coming talent.”

 Hana Laurenzo, Founder and CEO of Teneo Linguistics Company

The project was started with the help of Hana and the Teneo Linguistics Company, as well as the two universities where the first student participants came from: Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and University of Puerto Rico.

Hana’s decision to join the pilot project was straightforward: “It seems there simply is no downside! The linguists who work with us are the pillar of our business. We rely on them day in and day out. Therefore, we are always on the lookout for new talent and appreciate being connected with students who, one day, may become an important resource to us. We also invest a lot of effort into training and educating those who work with us. So we have been on the same page with Memsource from the start.”

Susan and David, the students, joined the ranks of TLC’s freelancers in August and November 2017 respectively, and have been cooperating with the agency since then. When asked about benefits the cooperation has brought them, they were positive in their replies:

“The cooperation has helped me practice with the program, and it has also given me an edge in the translation technology courses I am taking at the university.”

Let It Grow!

Building on the positive feedback and invaluable experience we gained during the pilot, we’re scaling it into a full-scale project this year. This means that we will offer it to a larger number of both universities and translation agencies.

Since we want to be able to ensure high level of knowledge and skills of the students we promote, however, we have decided to limit the program to professors and students meeting certain criteria:

  • The department has to be part of our Memsource Student Certification Program, which means that the professor has to be a Memsource Certified Trainer. This also means that we have discussed the form of Memsource training with the professor and found it exceptional.

  • The student must pass the student certification with excellent results.

  • The student must be recommended by their professor.

As meeting these criteria is not easy, we are going to work very carefully to select agencies to cooperate with on this project as well:

  • The agencies will have to pay the student for their work.

  • The cooperation will be remote unless agreed otherwise.

  • The agencies should have experience with working with interns/newcomers to the industry, supporting them with advice and spot-on feedback.

We are aware of the fact that the selection process is quite strict, and we are proud of that. We believe that it will not only help to promote viable work connections but also to inspire other universities to cooperate with us more closely and also work on their curricula to make them relevant to the current (and future) trends of the translation industry.

“I think this program is a great idea as it gives students real insight into the industry instead of the ‘textbook’ approach. Real world experience is always ideal!”

We are really looking forward to collaborating with all the parties involved and to learning about the translation programs of universities that have not become our academic partners yet. This is going to be an amazing opportunity not only for the agencies and students to gain experience and build connections but also for us to understand all of the collaborators’ stories.

After all, this is what drives me forward in my job.

About the author

Filip Šanca is the Academic Account Manager at Memsource, working with translation professors and students participating in the Academic Program around the world. He is currently working on his master’s degree in Serbian philology at Charles University in Prague.

A little tip: In his master’s thesis, Filip is trying to identify the best practices used when training students in CAT tools and to, using different competence frameworks, create a translation technology course for small language departments that are not entirely translation-centered, but whose students still need to know the basics. Send him a message to learn more!