ELIA Exchange Report

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ELIA Exchange Report. On the cooperation between ELIA companies and the academic world 2013 Anu Carnegie-Brown, STP Nordic. Cooperation with universities. Questionnaire to ELIA LSPs in spring 2013 I nvitation to an online questionnaire about their current cooperation with universities - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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ELIA Exchange ReportOn the cooperation betweenELIA companies and the academic world

2013Anu Carnegie-Brown, STP Nordic

Cooperation with universities

Questionnaire to ELIA LSPs in spring 2013

Invitation to an online questionnaireabout their current cooperation with universities emailed to all ELIA members in May 2013 (150 at the time)

22 responded2

LocationWhere in Europe is your company based, or mainly operating?4366111163

Years in businessHow many years has your company been in business?866117The majority of the companies are well-established with many years of experience in the industry.4

Size of staffHow many in-house employees do you have?7691141As expected, companies that replied are interested in investing in cooperation with the academia because they tend to have some in-house staff and see the objectives of this initiative as linked to recruitment and HR issues.5

Talks at universitiesHave you visited universities to give talks (short, single visits)?7661531Visiting for short talks tends to be the most common way of cooperation. LSPs visit on special open days to talk about the life in the commercial world, or as part of a getting to know the industry course where LSP and freelancer speakers are scheduled in to visit one at a time throughout the year.6

Teaching at universitiesHave you visited universities to teach a course or a workshop?(a recurring event or a single event of at least one day)66213392It is less common for LSP representatives to be able to teach whole courses or workshops at universities modules that would award the students credits. Universities may have a policy on who is allowed to teach on their courses (e.g. PhD qualifications required). However, it is possible to explore options around such regulations e.g. by planning the content together and by sharing the teaching/presenting so that the university staff remains officially in charge of the course.7

Offering internshipsHave you ever offered internships at your company?5651336Graduate placements could be divided into two main types: 1) a work practice period that forms part of a university course and takes place within a degree programme where the university is a partner in the contract involving the LSP and the student or 2) an internship that takes place independent of university involvement and often outside of a graduate programme e.g. during a summer holiday or after graduation. This survey did not make a distinction between the two types, so the term internship here should be understood to cover all forms of student placements.8

Realised internshipsHave you ever actually taken interns?5651246It seems that all the companies in this survey who wanted to offer internships also managed to go ahead and organise them, which could indicate that there is more supply than demand. More research could be done into the quality of the applicants that applied, those that were granted an internship and how beneficial the experience was from the companys point of view. A couple of companies commented that they had been put off in the past due to the quality of the interns they had had or the cooperation with the academic partner. This may be more the case in the countries or with the courses where an internship is an obligatory part of the course.9

Number of internsHow many interns have you had, on average, per year?4641362120 companies out of 22 replied to this question. Each companys ability to take and support interns obviously depends on the companys size and number of in-house staff. These answers should be considered together with the next question and they only serve the purpose of gauging the wealth of experience the companies in this survey have with internships.10

Interns at any one timeHow many interns could you take at the same time?61361221 out of the 22 companies replied to this question. It was encouraging to see that the companies are sensible about the number of internships they offer which indicates they want to be able to supervise and tutor them properly. It is important for all parties to realise that internships require careful planning, preparation and managing on the LSPs part and the company must be able to assign resources to this.11

Length of internshipHow long is a typical internship at your company?62661337There is quite a range of experience here; 13 companies have taken interns for up to 3 months while 7 have taken them for longer than 3 months. Further research might show if there are regional factors regulating the length and whether the length is more determined by the student/academic side or the commercial/company side.

An interesting question would also be to see when in their studies the students would most benefit from an internship. Right at the end of an MA course? Or possibly earlier, in the summer holidays between a BA and MA course?

Another big topic for discussion would be to debate whether the company is meant to draw short-term benefits from an internship i.e. to benefit from it while it lasts rather than viewing it as an opportunity for the student to taste and see if they would like to apply for a job and ultimately a career in the company. If it is acceptable for a company to try to benefit from an (unpaid) internship, then it logically follows that the longer the internship, the more benefit the company gets as the intern can be gradually given more real tasks to perform. Obviously, even from the students point of view, a one-month internship is mainly a taster whereas a three-month internship enables them to learn new skills and to gain some proficiency in them.12

Tasks in internshipsTranslation?65217Most interns seem to be given translation tasks, which was to be expected since it is the main task they are likely to want to do and the skill they want to practice.13

Tasks in internshipsRevision / proofreading?61210Interestingly, it seems that fewer interns get to revise or proof-read more experienced translators work. It is possible that this is due to the quality assurance systems of the companies where they define that a reviser/proof-reader always has to be at least as qualified as the translator, or the more senior party in the pair. But it has certainly been common in the industry to introduce newcomers to the work by having them first mainly proof-read and revise the work of others.14

Tasks in internshipsProject Management?61210Again, I find this interesting. It may be more difficult to introduce an intern into PMing as the role is often client-facing. The role also requires a lot of knowledge and skills with tools and databases in order for the person to be able to do any part of the workflow. Furthermore, it may be that some of the companies here dont actually employ translators as project managers but choose to take people with different qualifications for that role.

In any case, it is important that the tasks for the internship are listed and defined in the contract between the company and the student in advance so that a student is not taken in for one role but ends up doing something completely different.15

Tasks in internshipsDTP? Office Administration?202193It seems that most companies dont ask the students to get involved in other non-translation-related tasks either.16Summary of tasks in internships

Training given to internsCompany workflows and processes?6418Training the intern in the companys way of working is obviously essential if the intern stays for any reasonable length of time and especially if they are involved in real, live projects. If the internship is carried out in as an insulated, simulated exercise, this may not be equally important. Some companies may wish to protect their trade secrets and not allow the intern access to all of their processes and linguistic or IT assets.18

Training given to internsMicrosoft Office?616The replies here indicate that the interns are generally well versed in the Office applications, though it is also possible that the companies who replied have either not thought to check the interns skills in this area or do not consider such skills relevant to their operations. 19

Training given to internsEmail/other communication e.g. Skype?814Slightly more need for training in this area could be as simple as creating a company Skype account for the intern.20

Training given to internsTelephone?319Interns clearly arent asked to use the telephone much probably linked to the fact that they dont tend to get involved in outward-facing tasks.21

Training given to internsCAT tools?220Another result that is hardly surprising most of the companies here give their interns translation tasks so teaching them CAT tools is essential (and even project management interns would need to learn to use them) and this is the area where the students still seem to come out of universities with very few practical skills.22

Training given to internsTranslation Management System?1012This is another area that is not usually taught at universities, but tends to be of more relevance to those involved in project management, so it is understandable if it is not taught to all interns. Again, if the internship takes place in a totally simulated environment, the interns dont need to use the companys live TMS at all. It is also easier to create a simulated "school project" for a translation task than to create a simulated environment for TMS training. Offering interns access to a company's TMS is a true leap of faith, and you cannot "isolate" or "filter" information once you have created a TMS user account for an intern.23

Training given to internsLinguistic Guidelines?517If a company has such guidelines, then they are obviously shared with the translation intern too.24

Training given to internsQua