During her time as an undergraduate student at Michigan State University, Payton Miller worked remotely as a Translation Intern for Both People & Comms, a public relations and communications services company located in Madrid, Spain. She also was a 2023 recipient of the Mary F. Klapperich Memorial Scholarship presented by the Department of Romance and Classical Studies.
Before graduating with a B.A. in Spanish in Spring 2023, Miller shared her experiences working for a company located 4,000 miles away in the following Q&A that originally was published by the College of Arts & Letters Excel Network.
What were the responsibilities of your internship?
I translated documents, mostly from Spanish to English. These documents included presentations about sustainability, diversity training, event communications, and social media posts. I got to work with a wide range of topics and different speech registers, which I found to be really fun because I got to experience a lot of different aspects of communication.
What did your daily routine include?
Normally, I would wake up early in the morning so I could respond to emails and get my daily/weekly tasks. I would wake up early because Spain is six hours ahead of Michigan. I wanted to make sure I had time to ask questions while they were still in the office and so I could get a response back. After attending classes and hanging out with friends, I would come home to do work and schoolwork.
What skills did you learn and/or build upon during the internship?
I learned a lot about translation. I learned how to not only translate for meaning but also translate for tone and style of the original work. I also learned a lot about how Spanish is used casually. Lastly, I learned how to establish boundaries with people without seeming rude or overly polite. This meant being able to tell people “no” when I did not have the time so that I did not overwork myself, while also maintaining a friendly relationship with co-workers.
What was the most challenging part of the internship?
The difference in time zones was a challenge. There were times when I needed to translate lengthy documents that had a deadline the next morning, which meant I had a long night ahead of me with both work and school tasks. Sometimes it was hard to balance the two, especially when it came time to study for and take exams.
What was your favorite experience from the internship?
My favorite experience was definitely getting to translate and subtitle a video that was going to be shared with corporate employees at PepsiCo. Not only did I get to learn how to subtitle videos, but it is crazy to think that my work is going to be seen by employees around the world to help create products that I see all the time.
What did you learn about your career path as a result of the internship?
I learned that it takes a lot more than just one person to complete a task. Often, there are people working who come from very different fields of expertise and backgrounds, so there is definitely room for everyone. I thought about going into translation work before, and now I know it is definitely an option for me.
How did you obtain the internship?
I used a company called Connect-123, which takes your resume, and after a brief interview with them, they find internships that match your requirements and interests. Once I did that, I got an email a few weeks later describing the company, and I set up an interview.
What advice do you have for students seeking internship opportunities?
Definitely don’t be afraid to ask questions. Using Connect-123 made it super easy to find an internship abroad. It took away the stress of me finding one that fit my requirements and interests. Also, you will learn a lot about yourself if you have to balance a professional work life and school while still taking time for yourself.