Translation alumna Dawnielle Jacobson describes how networking, internships, and support from MIIS faculty and staff helped her get started as a freelance translator.
Middlebury Institute graduates discuss where they are working today, how the Institute helped them get there, and what advice they’d give to current and future MIIS students.
My name is Amandine Martin, and I graduated with an MA in Translation and Interpretation from the Middlebury Institute in 2014. My language of study was French, and today I am a freelance translator and interpreter based in Nantes, France.
At first, I found clients mostly through MIIS connections. My first interpretation assignment after graduating, thanks to Professor Christiane Abel, was the Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program. I still work for this program every year. When I moved to Nantes, France, it was difficult to find jobs in the area. I made contact with other translators and interpreters in Nantes as early as I could. Themes of my work have included wine growing, greenhouses, company information systems, formatting of composites, Indigenous peoples’ rights, environmental issues, migration, and the pharmaceutical industry. I have also worked for the U.S. State Department. I’m a bit of an outlier around here with my American English, as all of my colleagues learned British English.
The career management course offered by the Center for Advising and Career Services was useful, as I had no idea how to manage my own business before and actually started out my degree thinking I’d want an in-house position, then changed my mind. But I’d say the MIIS network is the biggest advantage. It’s an incredible resource, not just to get jobs, but also to discuss best practices and get answers to any career-related questions I might have. I try to pay it forward and help others, too.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
My best advice for translation and interpretation students is this: if you’re anything like me, you’re in for two tough years, but you will get out of the program what you put in. Work-wise, I’ve found that it’s possible to step outside your comfort zone and work in any field as long as you have enough time to prepare the subject in advance.
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