Making Internships Work in the Languages Industry

Internships in Language industry

Internships are not always commonly associated with the languages industry outside of large institutions such as the United Nations or UNESCO. This is perhaps surprising when there is certainly no shortage of modern languages students, or of businesses operating in the languages industry sphere.

The Positives of Internships…

Interns bring lots of capability at a significantly lower cost than would usually be the case. It gives the company ample chance to accurately assess somebody’s skills and capabilities before deciding whether to offer long-term employment. It also helps the company to secure the top talent early on while they are still studying. In return for this, the Intern will get ample opportunity to increase their skills and improve their knowledge of an industry. They will also be able to gain an insight into the way that organizations operate and some of the challenges that they face. Interns should also have plenty of networking opportunities as well as company training.

Why Some Companies Aren’t Sure:

Increasingly, companies are operating multi-nationally. This means that they are operating across different language barriers and legal systems. In general, companies will seek to harmonize policies as much as possible to keep things simple. Employment legislation remains one of the areas where the treatment of different categories of employee or worker can vary drastically depending on the country. Nervous of getting it wrong, some companies will decide to steer clear completely to avoid the potential problems.

Building a Successful Intern Program

In order to establish a successful Intern Program, there are a few tips that can help ensure it works for everybody:

  1. Make relationships with Universities- A very useful step can be to think about your local universities and seek to build a relationship with a couple. This can help you to target their students and provide you with a natural feed of potential interns, and in return, the University can promote the work opportunities to their students. They can also help to familiarize you with whatever paperwork is required to support the interns. After all, it’s in everybody’s interests for the Internship to go well.
  2. Induction- Help set the tone for your company by introducing them to the culture at your company and the standards of behavior expected. It is easy to forget this is often an Intern’s first “proper” job, and you don’t want to cause unnecessary problems due to lack of clarity in expectations.
  3. Consider a buddy system- Starting in an office environment can be very intimidating so consider pairing people with a ‘buddy’, ideally, a former intern who can talk from personal experience.
  4. Set regular checks and feedback- Ensure that everybody is clear on what is going well and whether anything needs to be improved by establishing a formal process of checking-in and giving feedback. Ensure any issues are tackled promptly.
  5. Give them access to real work- They want real experience so ensure they are being given a real project. Don’t give them work that you don’t want to do yourself, think of it as giving somebody new-hire level work, with extra supervision.

There are plenty of opportunities to make a success of Internships within the languages industry, and ample scope to utilize Interns. The majority of the issue now lies in having the bravery to step out and try something a bit different.



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