I went to Kleiningersheim, near Stuttgart in South West Germany, where I did an internship with the company CEPA Europe.
My YARP topic looked at the translation of regional crime fiction from English into German. This was a text-based project, which I approached from a more linguistic perspective, using elements of translation theory.
What motivations did you have for writing your year abroad research project?
One of my motivations for doing a more text-based project was that I knew I was going to be working full time, so practically I was aware that I would not be able to dedicate time during the working day to carry out interviews or questionnaires. Also, the issue of translation interests me and how you transfer ideas across language and cultural barriers, especially when they are rooted in one particular culture, as is the case with regional aspect of crime fiction. Translation and translation theory is actually something I have been able to develop further this year in Southampton.
How and when did you collect your data?
My data came from three regional crime novels in English and their translations in German. I was able to use a local library and the internet to get hold of the books and then collecting my data just involved reading. I did this mostly in the evenings or at weekends.
What were the main challenges you faced during your project? More importantly, how did you overcome them?
My main challenge was time management. I think quite often with research projects there is a period where you are not quite sure where you are going with it. However, I allowed this period to go on too long without actually doing the research. Once I started noting down ideas and issues from the books, I was able to see more clearly what I should write. However leaving this a bit too late, meant that I had to put in a lot more time towards the end, whilst also working full time.
What was the most positive experience you had whilst conducting your research?
The feeling of achievement after having written 6,000 words of my own research in German.
What skills did you learn during your research? How do you think these might help you in the workplace?
I learnt how to construct a research project, analyse a range of data and put it together in a coherent format. I think being able to express your ideas and present information through writing is a valuable skill in the workplace. Also having the experience of going to find out my own information shows and also improved my independent learning skills, which are needed in many jobs. It furthermore raised my awareness of issues in translation, and therefore gave me a higher intercultural awareness and competence, which is an asset in the workplace, especially if you are working internationally.
If you could give just one piece of advice to someone about to undertake similar research, what would it be?
Go for it, don’t get discouraged when you can’t see where it’s going and waste your time. Instead just try other ways of looking at the issue and get on with the research, because you’ll only be able to analyse your topic and write up your project once it is done!