"Working at the translation agency was absolutely fantastic. The work was different every day, allowing my Russian to improve tremendously. My host family (who were more like host friends :D) was so nice; it was a blast hanging out with them. My summer in Voronezh is certainly not one I will soon forget!"
Kailey K. (Drexel University)
The main objective of your day-to-day work will be to translate text from Russian to English and proofread text translated by your Russian colleagues. To get a sense for what this involves, take as an example a client's request for the company. The client is a supplier of flour to the Voronezh subsidiary of Kellogg's that produces cookies for the regional market. The two companies' relationship has grown, so the flour supplier decides to create an English-language mirror site for its company's website. As the native English speaker, you are the perfect person to help the translation agency to deliver on their promise to create natural-sounding translations that appeal to the company's Western customers.
The projects you work on could be as complex as the one above, simple ones such as translations of bank statements and passports, or as unique as an English-language voice-over for an ad campaign. All depends on the project pipeline at the time of your internship. Your internship will be part-time (i.e. 20 hours per week), so you will still have time to spend with friends, explore the city, and pursue any other interests you have.
Where will I be working?
Your host will be LivestockLink. Don't be fooled by the name though. Although farmers and livestock breeders are an important clientele, the work of the agency is not exclusive to agriculture. The company offers translation and interpretation to/from Russian from a number of different languages, and its aim is to support seamless partnerships between local companies and overseas partners. Your work will not be sector-specific.
The company has a small office. Most of its staff are free-lancers working from home, so there will be 3 to 4 people at the office at any one time, with people coming and going throughout the day to deliver projects and pick up new assignments. The vibe is easy-going and you will get to know your colleagues well in the course of your internship. They will also be there to provide you with support and guidance as you learn the ropes of the work.
Where will I live?
You will stay with a host family, maybe two (same as the teaching English position).
Imagine having breakfast with your host family, before your host sister heads to her high school and your host mom to work. You discuss the evening news until your host sister gets a message from her friends, saying that they are all going out in the afternoon to the cinema. She invites you to join her after you're done with work in the early afternoon. You spend a couple of hours at the cinema and then decamp in the local coffee shop to chat about the movie, the current pop stars, and your shared love of table tennis. Before you leave, you plot a picnic in the countryside for the weekend, complete with a traditional Russian shashlyk.
Located in Voronezh, the translation internship will be as close you will come during your undergraduate academic career to actually working in Russia. Working together with Russian colleagues and living with a host family, you will be using Russian in nearly every day-to-day interaction and you'll get to experience Russia the way locals do.
Whether you aspire to be a translator or just want to perfect your language and regional knowledge, this experience is like no other. A resume showing a translation position leaves no doubt about your Russian proficiency or interest in the region, putting you at the head of the pack for the most competitive positions. It also shows that you're able to successfully integrate into a Russian small business, offering you a unique perspective on the local business culture and environment.
For a longer stay, this option can be combined with teaching English.