Musings of a Project Coordinator

By Jesse Dupré

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My name is Jesse Dupré and I am a graduate in languages. I want to pursue a career in languages and I therefore looked around for an internship that would let me find out about potential careers. I applied to Comms Multilingual for an internship as a project coordinator and started working a few weeks ago.

I would like to share my experiences and encourage others in my situation to pursue this route into the languages profession.

Working at Comms is a fascinating experience, especially if you’re a linguist. Being a project coordinator gives you a rare insight into the workings of a translation company that deals with a multitude of different subject areas – from psychological assessments to engineering exams to legal documents. The list of languages that can be involved in any one project can be endless – with each language requiring at least one translator and one proofreader.

This means that a project manager can be handling a huge number of people in just one project – and PMs usually have many projects on the go at any time. Not only do you learn about the subtle differences between languages, you also come to learn interesting quirks and facts, such as which is the most expensive language to translate and the reasons behind that, as well as cultural differences.

I have observed the importance of attention to detail in this work, through the thorough quality checks done on the work that Comms receives. This particular aspect of the process to me is highly impressive, and shows how one can and should be held accountable for work that one delivers – especially in fields such as a clinical psychology test where the mistranslation of a word or phrase could end up changing the result of someone’s test and this in turn could influence, for example, how much medication they are administered.

It is challenging and exciting to be working on tasks such as this, knowing that things you pick up when proofreading could help someone else down the line. It is fair to say that from what I have seen so far in the work ethic and the standards that Comms upholds, the staff go above and beyond for their clients, which can often mean long working hours, but also brings a great sense of pride and reward when the client is pleased with the result.

Speaking of staff, the team at Comms are an inspiring group of people with a range of different languages and skills. The internal team are always happy to answer questions should you have any, which makes it an enjoyable learning and working environment. The languages spoken within the team are numerous – from Polish, Spanish, Russian to German and French and beyond – plus an ability and talent to understand, recognise and analyse many others.

The office is rich with different cultures and backgrounds. Not to mention, of course, the wide pool of people you also end up working with in any specific project, from the freelance translators to the clients who have commissioned the job. Everyone plays their part with a common goal – to deliver high quality, professional documents, saving you time, effort and reputation.

On a day to day basis, the infrastructure of the company and the systems and procedures in place are well-organised and thorough. Learning a new way of working where everything has its place and purpose is both daunting and refreshing. It means that you know what your limits and rules are, even if they take a while to learn. Overall, my time at Comms so far has been eye-opening with a steep learning curve, and I feel more confident and able as time goes on. Finally, one thing that has become clear is that solidarity, a very supportive environment and a sense of humour can help people work well in an extremely high pressure environment.

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