Paris Gets Really Hot!

Hello everyone!

This past week has been extremely interesting in Paris! We have had the hottest weather of the year so far, which without air conditioning really feels like a whole other level of suffering compared to the heat I am used to from Pittsburgh! As a result of the heat, alongside the entire city of Paris I have been staying mostly indoors to try and stay cool. However, one really cool thing that I did on Saturday was that I went and visited one of the many famous flea markets just outside of Paris in a neighborhood called Saint-Ouen. Vendors were selling literally every item that you could ever possibly think of from stained glass bottle openers to antique grandfather clockers and pocket watches. While I didn’t end up purchasing anything myself, I thought it was a super interesting chance to take a small look into the past of the type of goods that used to be sought after commodities in France but now are simply relics of a decade past! Like, did people really need that many large manual salt and pepper grinders?!

In terms of my internship, I have been continually plugging away at my required translations, which have gotten progressively longer and more complex. One thing that I have learned about translating is direct translation is not that difficult but capturing someone’s figurative “voice” in their writing is really a skill not to be underestimated. As I am translating documents written by authors all around the world, it has been a newfound challenge to translate with the same tone as an author who may be writing from a completely different context to me!

Prior to working at BSF, I would have said that one of my professional goals would be to work in a team. On the contrary, the further along I work into my translations, I am finding that I really appreciate the special type of satisfaction you get from completing a project entirely of your own volition. Unfortunately, though, I have not had a chance to use any of my leadership skills, which are most used in group projects back in Pittsburgh. In those circumstances, I try to be intentionally direct with what I both ask of myself and other people, as I find it most productive to set clear and defined deadlines for the success of the team. What has been interesting about working at BSF is even though I have not had the opportunity to exercise my own leadership skills, I have been privileged to work near or next to multiple very different teams with their own different objectives. From what I have seem, leadership styles at BSF are more relaxed than I would have guessed, and there is constantly a constructive dialogue between project managers and other team members about the best ways to proceed towards achieving goals. It is in stark contrast to what I am used to, however my theory as to why this is the case centers on the fact that everyone working at BSF had to work extremely hard to get where they currently are, and the employees with leadership roles do an excellent job paring individuals with tasks that are specialized for them. As a result of this experience, I am realizing that there are many different styles of leadership, and even though one might work in college, it is not necessarily the most effective method for a professional environment.

In other news, I have been made aware of several international meetings that will be taking places between the different country specific teams at BSF in the coming weeks. I have been tasked with live translation during these meetings, as some teams are comprised of many Anglophones, whereas others are majority Francophones. Live translation can be very stressful, but I am hoping that when you read my next blog post I will have challenged myself and persevered in these meetings and will have some cool new stories to tell about the wonderful work my NGO is doing worldwide!

Until next week!