Meet Madison, a student from Louisiana Tech University who is doing an internship in the TCLOC program at Strasbourg University.

Elham Mehrzadkia: Hello Madison and welcome to Strasbourg. I know that it’s the first time that you travel to France and to this beautiful city.

Madison Brown: Hello, yes. It is my first visit, and I love it.

EM: Can you please introduce yourself?

MB:My name is Madison Brown. I’m an undergraduate student at Louisiana Tech University located in Louisiana, United States. I started as an intern with the TCLoc program in December of 2021. I was offered this opportunity through my Academic Advisor at Louisiana Tech, because of my education and experience in technical writing. As an intern, I help edit and review the content produced on the TCLoc website, and I produce content such as interviews and blog posts.

About her professional  background

EM:Can you tell us more about your professional background?

MB:As a technical writer, I have had the opportunity to intern with an IT company in the summer. The company is known as General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT), and I’ve interned with them for the past two summers. During those internships, I mainly created process documents and instructional material on how to solve different IT related issues. Over the last academic year, I have worked at Louisiana Tech University’s Center for Health and Medical Communication (CHMC). Through the center I work closely with community organizations to fulfill documentation needs such as developing surveys, conducting usability tests, and creating terminology style guides. Aside from those positions, I’m also currently pursuing a master’s alongside my undergraduate degree as I’m in my final year at Louisiana Tech.

About Madison and her internship in Tcloc

EM:Was it difficult to find an internship in TCLoc? How did you find it?

MB:I was offered this opportunity, the internship with the University of Strasbourg and, more specifically, the TCLoc program, through Louisiana Tech. At the time, I was not actively seeking out an internship but my professor, Dr. Kirk St. Amant, presented this opportunity to me and asked my thoughts on it. And I said yes, because I have a philosophy that when an opportunity presents itself, you say yes. You never know where an opportunity, particularly an unexpected one, will lead you in life.

EM:Do you have any professional experience in translation and localization?

MB: My experience is primarily in technical writing as it is my concentration for my English degree, and the field that I’m pursuing for my master’s. While I don’t have formal training within translation and localization, I have worked on projects in which translation and localization were prioritized during the drafting and editing stages of various documents. Since my experience is primarily in drafting and formatting documents, I have used the help of audience members and translators to better localize and translate documents as needed. As a technical writer, my main focus is on the usability of a document or graphic and how I can improve the user’s experience. My priorities during the writing process include clarifying the purpose of the document, adjusting the language to best suit a specific audience, defining unfamiliar concepts or terms, answering questions that may arise from audience members, formatting the document for consistency, and editing the document for errors or to make the content more concise. However, when writing for new or unfamiliar audiences, I think it is crucial to seek feedback from individuals within the target audience and even translators if more than one language is involved.

About the benefit of doing an internship in Tcloc

EM:What do you expect to gain from this internship?

MB: I’m hoping to expand on my current knowledge. Most of my experience, as I mentioned, is in usability and user experience. So, I don’t really have that localization perspective, but it has been very interesting to learn more about the field. I enjoy exploring how one can better produce, translate, and adapt materials for audiences of different cultures, languages,  and expectations. I think that’s absolutely fascinating and very important. Gathering an understanding in that field has been very eye-opening. I also hope to continue exploring the area of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I’ve been offered the opportunity to take an online SEO course through TCLoc and the university.  The course covered how to improve a website’s organic traffic and ranking on search engines. Ranking refers to where one’s website would appear on a page after completing a search. For instance, would the website appear on the first or second page of a Google search and would the website be located (or ranked) at the top, middle, or bottom of the page. Learning about SEO has been very, very different from what I’m used to, but also very interesting.

EM: What do you plan on doing with your professional experience ?

MB:In the immediate future, I plan on working for GDIT full-time as a technical writer while pursuing my master’s. Within my personal interests, I would like to continue my understanding, research, and familiarization with SEO, localization, and translation. Academically speaking, I would also like to continue to stay connected with the university even after my internship ends this July. After completing my master’s, I’d like to pursue a course or program with the University of Strasbourg. 

EM:The TCLoc team hopes you enjoy your time in Strasbourg, and we greatly appreciate your time. 

MB: Thank you!

If you’d like to know more about the TCLoc program and the opportunities it has to offer, click here.

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