Translation graduate student learns about Antarctic life and conservation during internship in Tasmania

Ever wondered how to use multilingual skills outside of having travelling adventures? Interpreting and Translation Master’s student Gwladys Cannesson recently put her studies into practice at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), completing an internship.

Although she already had one Master’s in Translation Studies under her belt from France, Gwladys wanted a less theoretical and more practical version. She found the Monash Double Masters with Jean Moulin University in Lyon so she could study one year in Melbourne and one in France.

“I love [Monash] campus and its facilities, most universities in France are nothing like that and there is something exciting about going on campus every day. The program is really versatile and it introduces students to different translation techniques,” said Gwladys. “I like that we get to see different domains of translation as well as the internship requirements which gives us the opportunity to actually practice translation instead of just seeing examples or working on theories.”

These internships give students a better understanding of the situations in which professional translators use their skills. Gwladys jumped at the opportunity to expand her practical experience by taking up an internship with CCAMLR – an international organisation (comprised of 25 countries and the EU) that ensures its global reports and communications are available in French, Spanish, Russian and English.

“I am a curious person by nature, and when given the opportunity to discover new things I rarely say no,” said Gwladys. “I love nature and I try to be environmentally conscious and I was glad to discover that there was an international body doing its best to preserve the Antarctic ecosystem.”

Every year CCAMLR has an international meeting to discuss conservation progress, and it is the French version of these reports that Gwladys was able to work on, along with some of the conversation methods, gaining invaluable insight to how the organisation prepares for publication.

“I helped with the proofreading of the different sections of the report which allowed me to have a very clear understanding of what the Commission is doing. I was also given small translations to do such as circulars for the website. The French translator would also ask me to proofread her translations and ask my opinion about her choice of words.”

Translation work needs a much broader skill base than it would appear to the uninitiated and, as Gwladys discovered, more than just language fluency.

“Being tech-savvy is definitely useful as I had to deal with a translation software [Transit] that I never worked with before. Same thing goes for research. One of the first tasks I was asked to do was to find documentation on gender-inclusive language in French. All in all, I think you simply have to be resourceful.”

Gwladys’ positive experience at CCAMLR has helped shape her long-term plans for work for an NGO or international organisation such as the EU or UNO, but realistically noting, “I know that you can sometimes end up somewhere you did not expect so the possibilities are infinite.”

“Say yes to every opportunity that comes your way, even if it is just a 200-word translation, any real practice is good practice.”

Further info

Interpreting and Translation Studies (Double Masters International)

Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities