Student Frank Holbach sitting in front of desk with computer on it

Summer Placement Diaries

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Frank's Summer Placement at Sofita.


For my placement, I chose SOFITA Translation Agency in Sofia, Bulgaria. Founded in 1989, the company currently organizes, trains, and coordinates more than 1000 interpreters, translators, and editors to provide translation, localization, interpreting, legalization and other language-related services for over 100 translation companies over the world, with unity and commitment as their core values.

Due to the current global situation, my placement was partially on-site and partially virtual. It took place from June 29 till July 24, 8 hours a day, for a total of 160 hours. For my on-site hours, I had the pleasure of having Todor Lazarov as my supervisor. Aside from working at Sofita, he was also our professor at the New Bulgarian University for a few of the modules offered for EM TTI students, such as “CAT tools for translation, localization and interpreting”, “Translation software”, “Translation and quality control systems”, and “Machine translation evaluation”.

Learning a little bit more about the company in the first week gave me some more perspective on how everything works in a translation agency and it became clear how much they value the services they provide and how they approach the assessment of the quality. After this, I started working on some translation and proofreading tasks for them in the languages I work with (Brazilian Portuguese, English, and German). These specific tasks were mainly carried out in SDL Trados Studio, memoQ, and Memsource, and it was a great opportunity to work with my placement supervisor to acquire more detailed knowledge of these translation tools which are very important in the field. For a few of those tasks, for example, it was important to preserve parts of the source text that were code, placeholders, or XML tags, so I learned how to use “regex taggers” in translation tools to turn these parts into inline tags to keep them from being altered during translation. Working with regular expressions and using these resources is incredibly valuable for saving time and assuring a better quality of the final output in cases like this, so learning this was very important for my professional experience.

During this month at Sofita, I also had time to work on my dissertation and get assistance from my placement supervisor. Since my topic is related to CAT tools and literary translation, his input and the resources he provided were very helpful. Having discussions on whether and/or how CAT tools can aid in the translation of creative writing was definitely enriching for my dissertation.

In my last week, other colleagues also showed me more details of other tools, such as Smartling, Translation Workspace, and SDL Passolo. Although I already had a little bit of experience working with these tools, it was interesting to learn in more detail how Sofita makes the best use of them to provide their services.

I can definitely affirm that my placement at Sofita was very valuable both in terms of professional and academic experience. I know that everything I learned and explored have made me a better translator and more prepared for my second year in the programme at the University of Wolverhampton.

Post Written By Frank Duarte