MI 2012, France
After completing a Master’s in Intercultural Management with a fifth year focused on a sandwich course, Elisabeth headed for Germany without knowing a single word of German. Three months after her arrival, she was offered a job in sales in a web company, while still working as a Chinese-French translator. Read this portrait of an entrepreneur who knows how to make the most of her unique profile.
I was admitted to ISIT after being awarded a science-focused high school degree. My interest in languages, and the fact that Chinese was being offered as a study language for the first time at ISIT, is what motivated me to apply (2006). ISIT offers a very diverse program that affords students the opportunity to experience a little bit of everything and to work in different fields: communication, translation, marketing, human resources—and all this in different languages. As I said, I also wanted to improve my Chinese, a language that is essential in today’s world.
What were the advantages of attending ISIT?
The awareness and understanding of other cultures that we develop at ISIT gives us the ability to adapt to any environment.
What have you done since graduating from ISIT?
- After completing a sandwich course at Lafarge as a Communications and E-marketing Officer for an ultra-high-performance concrete brand, I was offered a fixed-term contract (“CDD”). Five months later, I decided to move to Hamburg in Germany for personal reasons. I did not speak a word of German; moving to a country where I did not know the culture, the language or customs was a real challenge.
- After three months, I found a job at Jimdo, a small web company that offers a solution for creating websites without any technical knowledge (CMS). I hold a Sales Support role for France. My role involves working in sales development, customer service, translation and online marketing. Jimdo is available in 12 languages. Nearly all the international teams are based in Hamburg. We work hand-in-hand, so I am constantly immersed in a multilingual, multicultural environment.
- I have also set up as a freelance translator with a friend from the Master’s on the Intercultural Communication and Translation program at ISIT. We decided to put our heads together under the name Septentrion Traduction. I am mostly involved in business development, basically looking for clients and projects. My friend and partner, Chloe, manages the projects, translations and editing.
We complement one another in terms of our educational backgrounds: Intercultural Management for the commercial angle and Intercultural Communication and Translation for high quality translations and efficient project management. This activity also gives me the chance to keep up my level in Chinese. I currently manage Chinese-to-French translation projects for several large accounts.
We learn a substantial amount through each and every one of these projects, and one day, we are thinking of creating our own agency, especially knowing that we can count on a strong network of competent translators: our fellow Isitistes!
What is your advice to candidates?
- Come as you are! ISIT is a close-knit school that knows how to support you. The Isitistes are there to lean on and for advice throughout your studies.
- Cultivate your own personality, your differences and your strengths.
- Seek out as many international experiences as you can, both professional and personal—trips, exchanges, summer jobs, internships, apprenticeships, competitions, whatever you can.
What is your advice to future graduates?
- Give living abroad a shot! We are made to work across the globe, so dive in!
- Do what you like and what you want to do, not just what you can do.
- Look after your network and maintain those ties.
- Be confident about your future: you are the one shaping it, no one else is. Have confidence in your own ability! Do not listen to rumors or let the depressed job market get you down.
- Cultivate your curiosity, ask questions, and try new things…