Guest blog: Interning at Collins Language

Guest blog: Interning at Collins Language

This article was written by Claire Grant from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, published on 26th April 2012 and has been read 2747 times.

After winning a Third Year Abroad competition, I started my internship with the languages division of HarperCollins Publishers in Glasgow on 5th March 2012. I graduated from Heriot-Watt University in June 2011 with a degree in Languages: Interpreting and Translating (French and Spanish) and was keen to put my linguistic skills to use.
As several of my previous professional experiences both prior to and post graduation were in public sector environments, I was also looking forward to working in a more fast-paced, private sector workplace. Furthermore, publishing was completely new to me and this internship was a great opportunity for me to gain an insight into the industry.

During my first week, I was invited to attend several meetings in order to get an overview of how the business works, the roles and responsibilities of each team, and what the current projects and priorities were. Several key team members also took the time to discuss their roles in particular with me which was a great opportunity for me to ask questions and find out about the various career paths into publishing. For example, I had a meeting with the Operations Manager who spoke to me about the steps, processes and various workflows involved in getting a Collins dictionary product from the idea stage onto the shelves. I also met with a member of the editorial team who told me more about investigating product ideas, commissioning and creating book proposals for editorial meetings. Another very interesting meeting was with the programme team in which I was taught about the printing process and the various types of printing available, such as 2-colour and 4-colour. This was an aspect of publishing which I hadn’t previously considered and it was very interesting to find out about the details and intricacies of it all. Overall these meetings were a wonderful insight to the business, and I found that they complemented each other very well, as I felt well-informed of the whole editorial process from start to finish.

During my 4 weeks there I worked with the Asset Development Team which deals with the specific content of the Collins Language range. This was a great opportunity for me to use my French, Italian and Spanish language skills, although I was also able to work with other products in different languages, such as Ukrainian, Romanian and Chinese. I worked on a variety of projects during my internship, such as the expansion of the Collins online multi-lingual database, the creation of a new Ukrainian dictionary series and also on Collins highly-respected Cobuild dictionary range which specialises in English products for foreign speakers. In order to work on these projects, I was taught how to use Collins’ in-house editorial systems and XML, which I think I picked up quite quickly and will serve me well in future. As I came to the end of my internship, I was asked to continue working for the Asset Development Team on a freelance basis which I am really looking forward to.

Overall, my internship with Collins Language was an enriching experience which has taught me a great deal about business, language and the publishing industry as a whole. I was very impressed by the company’s approach to language-learning and amazed at the vast range of products which are on offer for linguists of all ages and abilities. Many thanks to Third Year Abroad and Collins Language for this wonderful opportunity.

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