Bon-ton, courtesy, good manners, social convention. No matter what you call savoir vivre, the message is clear. It is about adequate appearance and behaviour in a certain place. How not to commit a faux pas in a translation agency and make a good, not only first, impression?

In translation, savoir vivre means knowledge about life. A statement genius in its simplicity and, at first glance, nothing difficult. However, despite the knowledge of generally accepted rules of behaviour, it is easy to forget about something or subconsciously not realise the mistake one has made.

We dedicate this post to trainees and interns who will one day set foot in a translation agency, marketing agency or tax office. Due to the universality of these tips, they will also be useful on other levels, e.g. during the first weeks in a new job. Here are some hints.


The topic of clothes, brings back to me a statement often repeated from parents or teachers… school is not a fashion show. Of course, the internship is not a school or university, but it is the first connection with the potential workplace. As a result, the dress code should be appropriate. Balance is the key word – of course, that could be casual outfits or casual-formal sets. Subject to the following few details.

Due to the pandemic, keeping distance requirements has caused that our clients cannot be met in person at the office. However, this should not make us forget about the people who create this place. In respect for them and the comfort of their work, we should think about making sure our dress is not “racy” or distracting. Although we are not obligated to wear suits, let us not fall into any extremes: strapless blouses, baggy hoodies or shorts are better left in the closet. Of course, do not forget to keep your clothes neat and tidy. Also when it comes to shoes; in this situation it is recommended to reserve flip-flops, sandals or extravagant shoes for other occasions than the translation office, and muddy mountain boots are not the best choice either.


Mind your good manners. An obvious point that does not hurt to remind. Specifically about being respectful to everyone. As in any workplace, your supervisor’s orders are obligatory and the intern is also affected by this issue. It is important to carry out duties assigned by employees with care and listen to their directions.

However, there is no need to be afraid. After all, he/she will not be left with the task without a manual, which is instructions on what to do and how to do it. As they say, if you do not ask you will not find out, so remember that in case of any doubts you can always count on help and the issue explained once again.

However, it is impossible to successively gain knowledge without order in the workplace. This is a great reason to remove all distractions from our field of vision, and leave on the desk only what is necessary for work. Chaos is distracting and can make it difficult to find the files we are looking for. Accurately describing folders and planning tasks step-by-step will avoid the possibility of misplaced materials and save us valuable time.

The trainee’s point of view

What to expect? What do the responsibilities actually look like? I am coming with the answers. One of them is to carry out tasks from project managers which aim at improving their job performance. This refers verifying source texts or editing them, or contacting translators and translation agencies, both by phone or e-mail.

Using office equipment, sending parcels or mail are everyday activities, the knowledge of which will be useful in private and professional life after the end of the internship.

An unquestionable advantage of the internship is the work on translating practice texts. From the perspective of a philology student, access to documents such as certified and specialist translations is invaluable. Additionally, it gives an opportunity to learn about legal and technical documents in other languages , which would be a challenge to access on your own.

A translation agency is not only about foreign languages and text localization; it will not let us forget about an impeccable knowledge of our native language. After all, Polish is a difficult language, and in order to speak properly in a foreign language, it is obligatory to become familiar with the native one first. The best method of learning is meticulous exercises. In improving this and creative-writing skills, blog entries help, which are an obligatory item on the trainee’s task list. Considering interesting topics offers you an opportunity to test yourself. This does not only concern the issue of creativity or an out-of-the-box approach to the topic, but additionally the development of editing skills.

An internship is a mine of knowledge and it is up to the intern how much he or she wants to get out of it. It’s not worth wasting such an opportunity, but absorb as much knowledge as possible, especially in topics related to the field of study.

(To complete the answer to the question: what are the duties of a trainee? I myself have not learnt them all yet. Although I started my adventure not long ago, I have already managed to learn a lot. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to seeing what new things will happen to me during this adventure!).

(translation M.Z.)

Pomożemy w tłumaczeniu.Zadzwoń