Student Halyna Maslak sitting at computer with two screens

Summer Placement Diaries

Student Halyna Maslak workign on her laptop

Halyna's Summer Placement at Mitra Translations

I have chosen MiTRa Translations for the placement in 2020. Due to the pandemic, many companies offered only virtual placement as their work force was home working. However, I still wanted to see from the inside how a company functions, to observe all the steps of the workflow as well as to learn the ins and outs of the technologies that are used in the company. MiTRa suggested a perfect combination of both onsite and virtual placement. Students can spend four hours in the office and four hours working from home every day.

MiTRa Translations is a leading Bulgarian translation agency with the offices in Shumen, Varna, and Sofia. It has been providing translation, localisation, interpretation and other language services for more than 30 years and it works with hundreds of freelance translators and linguists.

I chose to do my placement at the office in Sofia. It is located in the heart of the city with myriads of mouthwatering restaurants, inviting cafés, and trendy tourist attractions around. My typical working day in the office starts either at 10 am or at 2 pm. The first couple of days were introductory, and I learned about MiTRa, the standards of work in the company, the “translation’s journey” from a client to a translator and all the people behind it and the in-between stages. Since the most commonly used CAT tool in the agency is SDL Trados Studio 2019, I learned how to use it while translating various kinds of text. These were legal documents and certificates, COVID-19 posters, video subtitles, financial and medical documentation. Apart from SDL Trados Studio, I also used such CAT tools as MateCat and MemSource. I usually translated from/into English, Ukrainian, and Russian as well as from German and even from Bulgarian. At first, these were mock translations of previously done client orders, so I could compare my work and the ready document to brush up on my skills. I enjoyed these exercises a lot, but what thrilled me even more is doing actual work for the company. I could contribute to the agency assisting project managers with pre-processing of documents as well as translating or revising documents of current orders. My coordinator from MiTRa Irina was always so attentive and helpful. I was amazed of how much time she devoted to my placement helping me with the dissertation, revising my translations, constantly giving me useful tips, preparing presentations on different topics and just being an awesome person.

Diary with a pen rested on top

Hearing about potential jobs that linguists can perform during the boom of language and translation technologies was a startling discovery for me. The digital revolution has provided new tasks in this industry such as annotation, evaluation of software, grammar building, composition of dictionaries, collecting language resources for speech recognition and many others. I was given a task about building synonym sets which can help improve language resources for the Ukrainian language. Hopefully, it will be beneficial for other translators and linguists in their work in the future. I also tried image annotation. This is needed to train computers to perform OCR (optical character recognition) better, so if Skynet takes over the world at some point – maybe I’m too good as a teacher!

This month has brought me valuable experience. I have got the knack of how a translation agency operates and feel more prepared to work in the industry. The placement was tailored to my needs and interests and was based on my language competences and skills. I can recommend MiTRa to have a placement at for both experienced professionals and just beginners in the field.

Post Written By Halyna Maslak