Christopher Madison, T&I ’19

Bilingual Language Services, Peru

My time with Bilingual Language Services came after a difficult first year of graduate study at MIIS. I had long been looking forward to getting my Master’s Degree in Translation & Interpretation (Spanish), but found during the course of my first year that I was struggling with the coursework; note-taking, research skills, and concentration are all important for succeeding in the various modes taught in the program, but acquiring these is more difficult when you find yourself struggling to understand your non-native language. And so, when it came time to apply for summer internships, I knew I wanted to spend some time working in Latin America, in order to give myself the opportunity to hear as much Spanish as possible.

Myself with classmate Martha Duran, in the interpreting booths, morning of the 1st Foro Internacional de Facilitación Turística conference, sponsored by Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism.

During the course of the summer, my internship at BLS allowed me to visit a country I’d never been to before, to surround myself with people who are native speakers of my language of interest, to learn how to work more efficiently as a translator (since my classmate and colleague Martha Duran spent some time helping me increase my proficiency with Computer Assisted Translation tools), and to observe professional interpreters working in simultaneous mode. Other tasks of mine while at Bilingual Language Services have included preparation of translation tests for potential new candidates, quality control for the over-the-phone interpreter department, and conducting hiring searches for new translators and interpreters.

Among my deliverables, you will find photos of myself with my colleagues and new friends at a series of bilingual or multilingual conferences in Lima. These events dealt with subject matter ranging from tourism and the cruise-ship industry, urology, and youth business engagement; one was attended by the Vice President of Peru. Each occasion gave me a chance to observe professional interpreters working simultaneously, and to consider how I might make enough progress in order to take on that sort of work myself someday. T&I students from the Spanish department at MIIS should be aware that getting to see these events (and participating in the interpretation, even) is a very positive experience.

Now in the month of September, I’ve decided to stay on with BLS in a part-time capacity, while taking classes at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas, in order to better prepare for my return to the second year of the T&I program at MIIS. Bilingual Language Services has been more than a positive professional experience for me, as I’ve also had the chance to make some good friends there. My supervisors —David, Kate, Rebecca, — have all been very supportive of me, as they know that learning a second language and training to work as an interpreter and/or translator can be difficult. I believe they have been pleased with the quality of my work, are invested in my professional success, and will continue to encourage me as I spend the next year here.

I’d like to express my gratitude to all those who oversee Immersive Professional Learning on behalf of MIIS students for their financial support of my first few months here in Peru. The award I received was meaningful for me, and it has helped me bridge the gap between my first year at MIIS and my time here in Peru, as I continue learning Spanish, meeting new people, and developing the professional skills I will need to succeed.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

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