SemioticTransfer AG, based in Baden, Switzerland, employs more than 15 staff members and about 80 regular translators as contract freelancers.
SemioticTransfer AG promotes the education and training of its employees in connection with its certification under quality standards ISO 17100 and ISO 9001.
To foster young translation management professionals and give graduates their first practical career experience, SemioticTransfer AG participates in the European project Agora Transnational Placement Scheme for Translation Students.
My placement at SemioticTransfer
To round off my master’s degree in translation in Belgium, I chose to complete a work placement abroad in Project Management, as I had already done the same whilst at university and I hoped to repeat this highly enriching experience. My search for a placement led me to SemioticTransfer, a translation agency, and after contacting the manager I immediately received a welcoming response which included all the details of my placement. This first contact was encouraging, and I liked the overview of the placement straight away! This is how I became a part of the SemioticTransfer team in Baden for several months.
During the placement, I really loved having the opportunity to develop my skills in such a multicultural and pleasant working environment. The SemioticTransfer team was extremely warm and welcoming. I always felt confident, as the other members of the team always listened to me and always treated me as an equal. In terms of my activities as part of the team, apart from coordinating the translation process and contacting clients, I had the pleasure of completing various other tasks such as reviewing translations, translating and evaluating French translation tests. The activities that I performed at SemioticTransfer proved to be a lot more diverse and versatile than I could have imagined and I found these different aspects extremely fascinating and enriching.
From a linguistic point of view, I must say that the most difficult thing was speaking and understanding German on a daily basis when formally contacting clients, as German is not my mother tongue. Despite this, after several weeks I had already made significant progress, so that, at the end of my placement, I understood all the requests from clients, I was able to develop my formal German (both when speaking and when writing) and I knew how to express myself more eloquently!
Finally, I am extremely grateful to the entire SemioticTransfer team, who largely contributed to my personal development during this placement. It was a unique experience which I would do again without the slightest hesitation as I learnt an enormous amount of positive lessons for the future.
Jeanne, 24, Belgian, Junior Language Manager
Employee testimonial Michaela
After earning my translation degree, I was faced with the decision of which professional path to take. I was looking for an enriching position in the language industry. This is exactly what I found during an internship as a Language Manager with SemioticTransfer.
Although my profession involves numerous tasks, my job can be summed up with one word: COMMUNICATION. Every day I am in touch with many different communication partners from various fields.
The communication process begins with the client, who articulates their wishes to me. My job, simply stated, consists of fulfilling these wishes with the help of our specialist translators, proofreaders, desktop publisher, copywriters, etc. In order to complete their task, each of them needs information and instructions from me. Should the client require a certified copy, an apostille or a legalisation for a certain country, then further communication partners such as a notary, a passport or patent office or consulate may become involved. These too have to be provided with the relevant information in order to satisfy the client’s needs.
Finally, I’d like to highlight the essential communication between my colleagues and management which is flawless at all times. I can always count on their support, even when we sometimes communicate with each across continents.
All of the aforementioned communication partners have different concerns, interests and individual communication needs. A good Language Manager should therefore try to put themselves in the position of their communication partner. In order to further develop this skill, I have been offered the opportunity to continue my collaboration with SemioticTransfer after the completion of my internship.
Michaela, austrian, Language Manager and Proofeader
Employee testimonial Lukas
As a full-time student of Industrial Engineering & Management, SemioticTransfer was able to offer me flexible working hours with a lot of individual responsibility and independence. At that time I was responsible for online marketing and first level IT support. That was the beginning of a long working relationship.
SemioticTransfer AG operates a decentralised organisation, which allows the company to respond flexibly to global influences. In addition to the intercultural exchange with our offices in Mexico and Bangkok, as well as project managers in Holland and Brazil, I find the company’s strategic decision making process that involves the employees are very interesting. Some of the theories that I had studied throughout my degree, I recognised at SemioticTransfer AG practically applied. Upon completion of my studies, my role expanded and now involves also business administration. Today I find satisfaction in applying myself to the fields of process optimisation and quality management. SemioticTransfer AG took my interests and strengths into consideration and created additional opportunities for me. This motivates me and it gives me enjoyment in my work every day.
I think it is great how the SemioticTransfer AG team supports each other and promotes the company. The harmony among the staff is very good. Since I come from the technical and economic field, I was able to learn much more than just about languages from my co-workers. Such as that a translation is not simply a translation, but attention must also be paid to the linguistic and cultural practices of the target country.
Or do you know what is meant by transcreation or terminology management?
SemioticTransfer AG has broadened my horizons – professionally and interculturally.
Lukas, industrial engineer, IT and prozess manager
Employee testimonial Tamara
My cooperation with Semiotic Transfer dates back to the company’s foundation; initially I was a freelance Portuguese translator for our Brazilian branch. After six months this became a full-time position as translator and proofreader. Another six months saw me promoted to Language Management and, thanks to internal development and career advancement opportunities, I have been working as Senior Language Manager since 2005.
Today, after six months’ maternity leave, I am working part-time and primarily as a lector. Working with languages is very exciting and diverse. Languages evolve and move with the times and as a result, one learns new things every day.
In our work we are constantly dealing with new technologies resulting from ongoing improvements in text and image processing software. In addition, there are always new software tools for administration and CAT processes released into the market. These challenges are quite rewarding and the continuous technological advances in these areas are extremely interesting. Our work day is never boring…
What I like most about the cooperation with Semiotic Transfer are the excellent team spirit, communication with people from all over the world and the continuous and close exchange with management. This makes me feel like a contributor to the company’s success and motivates me to be more proactive.
Tamara, Senior Language Manager and proofreader
My internship with SemioticTransfer AG in Baden
Since a semester of work experience is integral to my Translation degree at Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), I was looking for a company in which I could develop professionally – and learn a lot more besides. I found exactly what I was looking for at SemioticTransfer AG: varied work and very interesting tasks.
I felt very much at home over the 6 months. The young and dynamic team offered me a warm welcome. Members of the SemioticTransfer AG team can be found all around the world – not just in the office in Baden. Vaneska is based in Holland, while Eva and Tamara live in sunny Brazil and Mariana enjoys the delights of France. Yet one thing unites us: Skype!
In my first month, I was fortunate to receive my detailed induction from Sara, another intern. She helped me a great deal and was happy to go over the various Language Assistant tasks again when needed. This was really great. However, when Sara left us to write her master’s thesis, I was not left to fend for myself. My trusty colleague Michaela, who I sat next to, also had to deal with my teething troubles. But it wasn’t just her who was tormented by my barrage of questions; Vaneska, Eva and Tamara also regularly took a hit. Of course I have exaggerated a little for this post, but only to show what an amazing and supportive atmosphere there was in our team. Mutual support underpins our fantastic team!
I have really enjoyed my time with SemioticTransfer AG. I had the opportunity to learn something new every day. I was able to develop my skills and see how my future may soon look. My heartfelt thanks for this opportunity go to Dr Arno Giovannini, who made it possible for me to take this short break from my studies.
Alessandra, student ZHAW, Swiss, trainee for Junior Language Manager
My Experience at SemioticTransfer AG
I arrived in Baden by train. The office was supposed to be five minutes away from the train station, but I had been walking for at least 20 minutes. I realized that I had probably gotten lost. Fortunately I had arrived before the time of my scheduled meeting, as the possibility of getting lost in a new city had occurred to me.
All of a sudden, I saw the yellow building with the words “Merker-Areal” and happily set off to find the office. After I had found it, I climbed the stairs and walked on in, greeting those present as I did so. Michaela and Lukas had already been at work for a while, as had Mr. Giovannini, who was waiting for me in his office.
It was a really pleasant first meeting, and the relaxed atmosphere helped me to get over the nervousness that affects everyone on the first day of a new job.
My work place was spacious and comfortable, the importance of which shouldn’t be underestimated, as I would be spending my full workdays there. I was given time to get settled, and it was explained to me right away what I would be doing. My “warm-up” was intense and helpful, and in no time flat, almost without my even noticing, I was in the middle of the scrum, like a rugby player, side by side with my new colleagues.
My colleagues are not only professional and capable but also helped and supported me from the first day. They showed me from the start that we work together and are in no way competitors. In the same spirit, Mr. Giovannini, whom we call Arno, always knew how to take our opinions into account while at the same time remaining the clear leader of our group.
Thanks to this job, I have had the chance to put into daily practice all the knowledge of languages that I acquired during my studies. Every day I learned something new with respect to linguistic, administrative and regulatory, economic and commercial as well as cultural matters. Through this job, I was immediately positioned in the front row of performers. I couldn’t do anything other than give my best to reach the goal, when it involved my personal goal as well as the company’s goal.
For personal and professional reasons, the time has come to take my leave of this training experience, even if it’s just a matter of a temporary goodbye rather than a final farewell.
Sara, age 24, Italian, Junior Language Manager
My Internship at SemioticTransfer AG
The internship is a valuable training experience, giving interns an opportunity to figure out if the work is something they want to do long-term. An internship is of course a matter of a mutual understanding. On the one hand, the company has to guarantee working conditions that will allow an intern to realize real professional growth. On the other hand, the intern has to show conscientiousness and reliability.
At SemioticTransfer AG this is possible. Mr. Giovannini shares his knowledge, but he doesn’t impose it. I found that conditions at the office did indeed foster my skills. From the start I had a mentor, who helped me in the early stages of the job and with whose help I was able to find all the information that I needed in the short-term. When I had more specific and targeted questions, though, I could unreservedly approach any of my colleagues, whose help was immensely valuable. They were invariably able to provide advice that went well beyond a simple answer to my questions.
The days were long but nevertheless flew by. Fortunately I never became bored, and sometimes I didn’t even notice that it was already the afternoon.
I had the opportunity to learn not only the company’s established procedures but also to extend my knowledge, together with the others, to new areas and to exchange thoughts and opinions in this regard.
During my last month on the job, when I already had things under control, I had the opportunity to act as a mentor for a new intern. This was a very interesting task. I knew how to help her, because I saw that she had the same questions and initial difficulties that I had had at the same stage.
Thanks to this internship, I learned a profession. On a personal level, though, I learned much more. In particular, I learned different ways of managing stressful situations. The constant contact with clients always requires dealing with people and managing deadlines. You have to do all that you can to completely satisfy the clients while at the same time ensuring the quality of the service. For this reason, you always have to be ready to find a solution, even when the problem seems unsolvable. Sometimes you’re starting from scratch, but you have to follow the road from start to finish.
Sara, age 24, Italian, Junior Language Manager