Entreculturas.  Revista  de  Traducción  y  Comunicación  Intercultural
Entreculturas 12 (2022) pp. 57-68 — ISSN: 1989-5097

Career opportunities in the field of translation and interpreting, illustrated by the character of Missandei in the series Game of Thrones*

Entreculturas.  Revista  de  Traducción  y  Comunicación  Intercultural
Oportunidades profesionales en el ámbito de la traducción y la interpretación,
ejemplificadas por el personaje de Missandei en la serie Juego de Tronos
Alice Stender
Christiane Limbach
University Pablo de Olavide, Seville
Recibido: 28 de septiembre de 2021
Aceptado: 7 de diciembre de 2021
Publicado: 27 de febrero de 2022
Being an undergraduate of Translation and Interpreting Studies opens a wide field of career opportunities. However, students often do not perceive this huge variety of job perspectives but tend to think they have only a little range to choose from. In this article we will examine the different career opportunities a Translation and Interpreting undergraduate has, taking into consideration the indications of 14 prestigious universities in Spain and Germany in this field. Moreover, we will take the professional development of the Game of Thrones character Missandei as an example as she is introduced in the series as an interpreter and has a meteoric career.
KEYWORDS: translation and interpreting, career opportunities, Game of Thrones, Missandei, profession.
Graduarse en los estudios de Traducción e Interpretación abre un gran abanico de posibilidades de empleo. Sin embargo, los egresados a menudo no perciben esta enorme variedad de perspectivas laborales, sino que tienden a pensar que sólo tienen pocas opciones entre las que elegir. En este artículo examinaremos las diferentes salidas profesionales que tiene la carrera universitaria de Traducción e Interpretación teniendo en cuenta las indicaciones de 14 universidades prestigiosas en España y Alemania en este ámbito de estudios. Además, tomaremos como ejemplo el desarrollo profesional del personaje Missandei de Juego de Tronos, que entra en escena como intérprete y tiene una carrera meteórica.
PALABRAS CLAVE: traducción e interpretación, empleabilidad, Juego de Tronos, Missandei, profesión.

1. Introducción

Career opportunities for undergraduate students in the field of Translation and Interpreting will be examined in this paper, using the Game of Thrones character, Missandei, as an example. As the subjects of Humanities are being jeopardized, many students in language-related university degrees have (or believe they have) an uncertain future once they have finished their studies. We feel the need to speak out in favour of one of the degrees in the field of the Humanities which has many professional opportunities Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS).

In order to examine career opportunities, we will consider the professions that the University Pablo de Olavide of Seville mentions on its website, as well as those mentioned by 13 other prestigious Spanish and German universities (our working languages) in the Field of Translation and Interpreting. These are the following Universities:

Universities examined in this article. Source: Authors’ elaboration

Universities examined in this article. Source: Authors’ elaboration

All of these universities offer some kind of help or guidelines for students who are applying and need to know which degree is suitable for their abilities, or desires, and also for those who, once they have finished their Bachelor or Masters' Degrees, are seeking entry into a professional career.

Having examined these professions, we will then take a closer look at the Game of Thrones character, Missandei, and her career pathway in the series Game of Thrones (GOT from now on) because she first enters the scene as an interpreter, and later also represents many of the other professions that TIS students are suitable for.

2. Professions indicated by universities as suitable for Translation and Interpreting undergraduates

First of all, it should be underlined that the Bachelor’s Degree we are going to examine is the B.A. in Translation and Interpreting. However, the different courses which students have to take at universities, in order to obtain the degree of Translation and Interpreting, can prepare them to qualify for other related jobs.

For us, as lecturers at the University Pablo de Olavide of Seville, it is sometimes difficult to show the different possibilities open to a TIS student, and not all of them really involve translating or interpreting. At our university, students begin translating from their junior year, but they do not start interpreting until their fourth and last year of the degree; for some, the romantic idea of becoming an interpreter turns into a goal which, for many, is difficult to achieve. This is one of the reasons why we have decided to examine the career opportunities available to students of the Translation and Interpreting Bachelor’s Degree once they have completed their studies.

Having examined the suggestions for career opportunities on the websites of the above-mentioned universities, we have produced a table (Table 2) showing the possible professions. As expected, universities agree that the most common professional opportunities are those inherent to the degree, i.e., translation and interpreting, followed by work in terminology/terminography, lexicology/lexicography, and also writing, correcting and revising texts (whether in a publishing house or in other fields), and also jobs in foreign commerce are common career prospects, as will be seen later.

Undergraduates can work as cultural and linguistic mediators and advisors and, of course, be involved in teaching in general, and language teaching, in particular. It is expected that during their Bachelor’s Degree they will be involved in working on the management of language projects and also in the management of personnel, so they can work in the field of Human Resources, and, depending also on personal abilities, in any profession related to management and consultancy. The skills (both linguistic and cultural), acquired during their degree, will enable them to carve out a future in Public Administration and even in the Diplomatic Service. Also, tourism, audiovisual translation and localization, and other tasks related to new technologies, are part of the list of possible professions, as Table 2 below shows.

Professions that Spanish and German universities with TIS consider suitable for their undergraduates. Source: Authors’ elaboration

Professions that Spanish and German universities with TIS consider suitable for their undergraduates. Source: Authors’ elaboration

The above table shows the universities whose websites we have examined. The left-hand column shows the different professions that the universities consider related to the career, and for which they believe undergraduates can apply for, after completing the degree. The other columns show that not all the universities display all the professions. However, there is a wide range of professions that all, or nearly all, of the universities consider suitable. First are the professions of Translating and Interpreting (which appear 12times each), followed by Drafting of Texts (10 times), Terminology/ Terminography and Revision of Texts (8 times each), Intercultural Mediation/ Advising and work as a Proofreader (7 times each), Publisher's Proofreader and Linguistic Mediator/ Advisor (6 times each, but only in Spanish universities), Foreign Trade and Language Teaching (6 times each). In seventh place, with five appearances each, are the professions related to Linguistic Consulting, all related to Tourism and Heritage Management, Audiovisual Translation and Videogames, Localization, International Relations (only Spanish universities), Management of linguistic projects and Teaching in general. Work related to Public Administration/ Diplomatic Corps, Lexicology and Lexicography and Document Production is also considered to be suitable for undergraduates (4 times each), as well as Human Resources Management and Public Relations (3 times each). Also, two universities (Granada and Cordoba) consider the career of Translating and Interpreting as a starting point for jobs related to Co-operation and Development. In the final place, with one example, is the University of Leipzig which says that their undergraduates would be appropriate as Computational Linguists.

3. Missandei and her professional career in the series Game of Thrones

In order to illustrate the job opportunities for students with a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation and Interpreting, we will focus on the GOT character, Missandei. She first came onto the scene in the third season (Thrones S3: Ep. 1, «Valar Dohaeris») when she appeared as a slave interpreter for the slave trader, Kraznys mo Nakloz, in Astapor. Daenerys Targaryan, the Queen, and one of the main characters of the series, travels to Astapor in order to purchase the army of the Unsullied soldiers from Kraznys mo Nakloz. When Daenerys Targaryan and Kraznys mo Nakloz meet, Kraznys speaks High Valyrian, whereas Daenerys speaks the language of the Seven Kingdoms, also known as the Common Tongue. Therefore, when we first see Missandei, she enters the scene as an interpreter who facilitates communication between Kraznys and Daenerys, so they can negotiate over the Unsullied Army.

Missandei, however, is given to Queen Daenerys as a present, and her character develops greatly throughout the GOT series. She rises, meteorically, thanks to her professional and personal commitment to her Queen. She becomes Daenerys’ confidant and performs many different tasks for her. Apart from some of the professions which are related to the new technologies, such as localization and audiovisual translation, which clearly did not yet exist in the age of GOT, we are able to see that Missandei practises all types of professions, thanks to the abilities and competences she masters as an interpreter and translator and, which, as we have seen before, are possible job opportunities indicated by universities. What exactly she does and how qualified she is for this, we will examine later. Missandei serves as a perfect example to show which different jobs a trained interpreter or translator is able to perform successfully.

Below, we will examine the different professions Missandei undertakes in the series, and give a definition of each profession, and comment on the way Translation and Interpreting students are prepared for that kind of job. However, the actions she performs cannot always be categorized into a single profession (for example, advisor and mediator), as there may be tasks that are characteristic of more than one profession. Boundaries of the different categories are not strict, but fluid. In order not to repeat the different jobs of Missandei’s performance, we will only refer once and in only one category to her actions, instead of including it in various categories. However, this categorization of Missandei’s professional work is only our proposal.

3.1. Missandei as a Liaison Interpreter, Translator and Foreign Trade Facilitator

Interpreting and translation are, as their own names indicates, are the professions that all of the universities mentioned include on their websites. Interpreting is, according to the Cambridge Dictionary (2020), «to change what someone is saying into another language», this being a definition that falls a little short; Hale (2007: 3) underlines that:

Interpreting has traditionally been regarded as a branch of Translation. A number of authors have provided different definitions of translation as a conversion process from one language to another, in either the written or the spoken mode. More specifically, interpreting refers to the translation of the spoken word and Translation to the translation of the written word. (Hale 2007: 3)

Pöchhacker (2004: 10) defines Interpreting in the following statement:

Within the conceptual structure of Translation, interpreting can be distinguished from other types of translational activity most succinctly by its immediacy: in principle, interpreting is performed ‘here and now’ for the benefit of people who want to engage in communication across barriers of language and culture. (Pöchhacker 2004: 10)

We will not go into further detail, at this point, as this would go beyond the scope of this article. However, we do keep in mind that students take different lectures and courses, during their Bachelor’s Degree, which provide them with the necessary tools to be able to practise the profession of a translator and/or an interpreter.

In the GOT series, Missandei acts as an interpreter, using different techniques and modalities. One of these modalities is consecutive interpreting, in which the interpreter orally translates the message of the speaker once they have ended the statement. In this modality, notes are usually taken, since large passages of text (up to 20 minutes) have to be reproduced. Another modality is chuchotage, or whispered interpreting, which, according to the definition of the AICE (2019) (Spanish acronym for the Association of Conference Interpreters of Spain ), is a form of simultaneous interpreting in which the interpreter takes up a position next to the receiver of the speech (normally up to three persons) and whispers «the messages of the sender to them, in real time, and without the need for technical equipment». Other modalities are simultaneous interpreting and liaison interpreting. In simultaneous interpreting, the interpreter speaks simultaneously to the speaker with only a short delay (décalage), which they need for listening, understanding, translating and formulating the text into the target-language. Liaison interpreting, also known as bilingual interpreting, refers to the interpreting act of establishing a conversation between two or more people who do not speak the same language. Here, the interpreter translates into two languages (not only their mother tongue but also the foreign language) and makes conversation between those people possible. This type of interpreting can be done consecutively and simultaneously, and we can observe in the series that Missandei changes between those two modalities, starting more than once with a consecutive liaison interpreting, and ending up with simultaneous, liaison interpreting. She does this, for example, in the third season (Thrones S3: Ep. 1, «Valar Dohaeris») when Daenerys and Kraznys negotiate the price of the Unsullied, so that the negotiation does not take too long. One of the problems of using interpreting while negotiating is that everything that is said has to be repeated and, therefore, the sessions take considerably longer than those without interpreting.

The role of the interpreter is perhaps what Missandei is best known for in the series, it is her exemplary role. As we have already mentioned above, Missandei first appears performing a bilateral consecutive interpretation in this negotiation. It is therefore a bilateral interpretation in the field of business because an economic transaction is negotiated. Missandei serves as a link between the two speakers of different languages (High Valyrian and the Common Tongue), and different backgrounds, and facilitates communication between them. The most outstanding feature here is the bi-directionality, which means she is not only interpreting into her mother tongue, as is the case in simultaneous and consecutive interpreting, but also into the foreign language, as we mentioned above. Moreover, Missandei here, same as with any interpreter and translator, is not only translating between different languages, but also between different cultures. She is also acting as a (inter)cultural mediator (we will return to that later, in section 3.6). For a deeper analysis of Missandei’s liaison interpreting, and for an evaluation of her performance which also can be used for didactic purposes, see Limbach and Stender (2018). We also see Missandei in the second and third episodes as an interpreter when the purchase contract is agreed.

This leads us to the conclusion that she is also involved in foreign trade, as she is an essential part of the negotiation. It may be an interesting fact that, lately, more and more undergraduate students of Translation and Interpreting achieve prestigious scholarships which were previously reserved for undergraduate students in degrees more related to marketing or economics, as stated by Aguayo (2013). Maybe this can be explained with the competences and skills that Translation and Interpreting students acquire, during their studies, and which they become increasingly known for.

Throughout the series, Missandei also acts as an interpreter on other occasions, for example in the fourth season (Thrones S4: Ep. 6, «The Laws of Gods and Men»), when she facilitates communication between a Meereen subject and Queen Daenerys. In this scene, a Meereen peasant, and Daenerys' subject, informs his Queen that one of her dragons has killed one of his goats. As he does not have many goats, and he and his family depend on them, Queen Daenerys promises to compensate him three times more for his loss. Here, Missandei also performs liaison interpreting, first consecutive, and then simultaneous, switching from one modality to another which, as we have already mentioned, she does occasionally. This is no longer in the commercial field but is now in the public/political/administrative area. During the fourth season (Thrones S4: Ep. 3, «Breaker of Chains»), the governors of the city of Meereen send for Daenerys in response to the siege of Daenerys' troops, and Missandei acts as an interpreter when she translates the insults of the sole champion. Missandei uses the third person singular in her interpretation, as she normally does. She chooses her words carefully as she has to repeat the vulgar words that the sole champion uses for Daenerys and her retinue (Thrones S4: Ep. 3, «Breaker of Chains»).

3.2. Missandei as a Public Relations / International Relations Manager

Another career path proposed by the universities of Comillas, Hildesheim and the SDI in Munich, is that of Public Relations, which Merriam-Webster dictionary online (n.d.) defines as: «the business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm, or institut ion». Here we are including International Relations, as Public Relations and International Relations are closely related and not always easy to differentiate. We consider that in GOT almost all relations are international, as we see the Iron Islands, Westeros, Winterfell, the Seven Kingdoms, Dorne, Westeros, etc., as individual countries. The Public/ International Relations sector is also an area with a very high employability rate for undergraduates in Translation and Interpreting.

Throughout the series, Missandei not only acts as an interpreter but also begins to introduce Queen Daenerys on many occasions. She informs those present about who Daenerys is, names her titles, and the actions for which the Queen is known. Thus, in the last episode of the third season, Missandei informs the freed slaves of Meereen who Daenerys is, what are her aims, and promotes the good will and kindness of their possible new leader, if the people of Meereen accept Daenerys as such. In the fourth season (Thrones S4: Ep. 6, «The Laws of Gods and Men»), Missandei introduces the subjects of Meereen to her Queen, when they come to see Daenerys during private audiences.

As for the tasks of representation, typical of a person who is working in Public Relations, we can see Missandei on several occasions as a companion to Queen Daenerys, for example in the reopening of the combat arenas (Thrones S5: Ep. 9, «The Dance of Dragons»). Here she sits at Daenerys’ left, together with Tyrion, who has the honor to sit on the Queen’s right, directly next to the Meereenese nobleman, Hizdahr zo Loraq, with whom Daenerys has married for political reasons. Missandei is also present when her Queen receives the Second Sons (Thrones S3: Ep. 8, «Second Sons»). Later, in the seventh season (Thrones S7: Ep. 1, «Dragonstone»), Missandei is part of the welcoming committee, together with the ‘Hand of the Queen’, Tyrion Lannister, when they receive Jon Snow, who has come to see Daenerys. In this scene, Daenerys is not even there, and leaves the task of representing her and receiving the state visit, in Tyrion’s and Missandei’s hands. Tyrion presents Missandei, with the following words: «Missandei is the Queen’s most trusted advisor». Whereas Missandei fulfils her task and says: «Welcome to Dragonstone. Our Queen knows this is a long journey. She appreciates the effort you have made on her behalf». We can observe here that Missandei acts on the same level as Tyrion, who is a member of a very important and wealthy family (the Lannisters), and the brother of Queen Cersei, although he has betrayed Cercei. Thus, from Season Three to Season Seven, Missandei had an outstanding career.

3.3. Missandei as a Diplomat /Public Administration Manager

Closely related to the previously mentioned professions of public and international relations is the Diplomatic Service, which the universities of Cordoba, Granada, Salamanca, Bonn and Saarland consider suitable for undergraduates. Here, we use the words of Maurois, a French writer of the 20th century, which are also echoed by the Spanish Association of Diplomats (n.d.) when he states: being a diplomat «is the art of exposing hostility with courtesy, indifference with interest, and friendship with prudence». Diplomats must be experts in International Relations and represent their State, or organization, before others.

TIS students study various theories in relation to this, throughout their Bachelor’s Degree in Translation and Interpreting, which makes them perfect for this type of professional activity. Having knowledge of, for example, Grice's Maxims (1975) or Brown and Levinson’s Politeness Theory (1987), means that they are taught on how to behave in (almost) any situation or, at least, they are aware of the fact that each situation requires a specific behaviour. The acquisition of this knowledge means that they could work in the diplomatic services, as well as in the field of public administration.

In GOT we find several scenes in which Missandei acts as a diplomat or a public administration manager. Missandei shows a great capacity to relate well to other dignitaries (Ser Jorah Mormont, Ser Barristan Selmy, Grey Worm as the Commander of the Unsullied, Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, etc.). Her diplomatic personality, which is also strong, lets her enter the most intimate circle of Queen Daenerys. So, in the fifth season, Missandei forms part of Daenerys Council in Meereen. Together with Ser Jorah Mormont and Ser Barristan Selmy, she stands beside her Queen when Daenerys holds court. Missandei even governs the city of Meereen, at the end of the fifth season (Thrones S5: Ep. 10, «Mother’s Mercy»), together with Tyrion Lannister and Grey Worm, during Daenerys’ absence. During a Council meeting of these three, Missandei even expresses an opinion which contradicts that of Tyrion. This shows that Missandei understands the situation and has her own opinion, which she is allowed to express. She is perfectly suitable for this kind of responsibility, and she has the respect of the other Council members. Missandei knows how to act, how to express an opinion, by using the adequate register as a diplomatic or public administrator. In short, she has the necessary knowledge, competence and skills which enable her to do this kind of job, and others around her also know it.

3.4. Missandei as an intercultural advisor/counsellor

Missandei, as well as an undergraduate of Translation and Interpreting, is also perfect for mediation work, because of her previously mentioned characteristics, her diplomacy and her temperament. Although these can be characteristics of any person who has not necessarily studied Translation and Interpreting, there is one competence which Missandei has, and which makes her a good advisor and/or consultant, the importance of knowing the culture and customs of other countries. Ignoring these customs or ways of thinking can lead to serious misunderstandings. This is a fact that our students know very well, as in the Translation and Interpreting Bachelor’s Degree, a very important focus is placed on acquiring intercultural competences. Nowadays, intercultural competence is becoming more and more important in a global world where international relations are essential. Therefore, one could say that intercultural competence is related to all the professions we examine in this section, beginning with the profession of an interpreter/translator in the widest sense, through the professions of foreign trade, public relations manager, administration manager, mediator/ advisor, counsellor, of course, diplomat and international relations manager.

We have already seen that the Translation and Interpreting Bachelor’s Degree may be the first step towards a diplomatic career (as the universities of Cordoba, Granada, Salamanca and Saarland consider) and undergraduates are able to work in the field of strategic management. Nevertheless, according to our records, they can also work as an advisor in all sorts of contexts, which are closely related to the afore-mentioned diplomatic service. Regarding Table 2 in section 2, it is only the Spanish universities of Cordoba, Granada, Malaga, Pablo de Olavide and Salamanca which count «Advisor» among the professional job opportunities. The definition of advisor (also adviser) offered by the Cambridge Dictionary (n.d.) is: «Someone whose job it is to give advice about a subject». However, we believe that there is another profession which Missandei performs, and which is not in the lists of the universities we have examined. This is the profession of Counsellor, which is «someone who is trained to listen to people and give them advice about their problems» (Cambridge Dictionary, n.d.).

As we have already mentioned in section 3.3, Missandei forms part of Daenerys’ Council, she is present at meetings and has her place beside her Queen. However, in the GOT series, there is another scene, in which Daenerys asks Missandei for advice on a question of state, and Missandei helps her to decide on the most favourable strategy (Thrones S5: Ep. 5, «Kill the Boy»). This is clearly the definition of a counsellor’s task, although Missandei, at first, modestly points out that she may not be fit for the task, Daenerys assures her that she is, as a matter of fact. Missandei is just as fit as anybody else the Queen trusts. Daenerys underlines that Missandei knows why she is there and knows the consequences, «if this all falls apart». Therefore, she asks Missandei again for her counsel. Missandei, with her knowledge of the Queen's aims, her background and the current circumstances, is capable of analysing the situation in order to give advice to her Queen. Just as an undergraduate student and future translator and/or interpreter is capable of analysing a situation, in order to deliver a translation/interpretation which perfectly fits the clients’ needs and wishes, and is capable of making decisions, Missandei is thus a competent advisor or counsellor.

Later, in the seventh season (Thrones S7: Ep. 1, «Dragonstone»), Missandei, as a member of the Council, shows her competence for analysing a situation and giving advice once again when she discusses war strategies in Daenerys’ Council meeting. She is also part of the delegation that meets with Cersei Lannister, when a white walker is taken to Cersei in Season 7 (Thrones S7: Ep. 7, «The Dragon and the Wolf»). Here she fulfils her duties as an international/public relations manager and diplomat.

3.5. Missandei as a language teacher and linguistic advisor

Another profession mentioned by many of the Spanish universities on our list (Granada, Cordoba, Malaga, Comillas and Pablo de Olavide), is that of Language Teacher. Oddly enough, the only German universities that consider this profession appropriate for undergraduates are Germersheim and the SDI in Munich. In our opinion, however, becoming a language teacher is suitable for several reasons. Firstly, undergraduate students have profound knowledge of their working languages, and secondly, because of the application of translation to language teaching. Also, in many companies, there is a need for linguistic advisors, or we could also say cultural mediators, and undergraduates of Translation and Interpreting know about the problems that may arise because of linguistic or cultural misunderstandings. Take as an example the creation of a brand name and all the linguistic implications, because, among many other things, it has to be, as Kotler (1992: 303) states, easy to «pronounce, recognize and remember». Also, Román (1998) investigates the use of commercial names and highlights the importance of linguistic knowledge. Moreover, the name chosen must be verified to ensure that it does not have a different, and sometimes offensive, meaning in another language and culture (see for example names of car models which have to be changed in some countries because of their meaning or the associations which arise) 1. As we have already mentioned (see section 3.4), intercultural competence is also deeply related to this profession.

In GOT, Missandei not only advises Daenerys on matters of state, as we pointed out in 3.4, but, in addition, she is also involved in linguistic and intercultural counselling and language teaching. She is the one who teaches English to Grey Worm (Thrones S4: Ep. 3, «Breaker of Chains»). On another occasion, we see Missandei helping Daenerys to improve her pronunciation in Dothraki (Thrones S3: Ep. 8, «Second Sons»). In this scene, Daenerys is taking a bath and Missandei is with her. Missandei states that she can speak 19 languages, and we get the impression that she has a very high level in every single one of them. It is at this moment that she corrects Daenerys’ pronunciation of the word Athjahakar with a great deal of tact.

She also acts as a linguistic and intercultural advisor (mediator). We can see her at the end of season three when she explains the meaning of mytha (Thrones S3: Ep. 10, «Mytha»). When the freed slaves and citizens of Meereen open the city gates, they come out and greet Daenerys with only one word: mytha. Daenerys does not know what it means, and it is Missandei who explains: «It is old Ghiscari, khaleesi. It means ‘mother’».

On another occasion, Missandei stands by her Queen when Daenerys meets Melisandre, the Red Priestess (Thrones S7: Ep. 2, «Stormborn»). Melisandre tells Daenerys about the prophecy of the promised prince. Daenerys points out that she is not a prince. At this moment, Missandei speaks and explains that the word azor ahai has not been translated correctly, as it marks no gender in High Valyrian. Thus, it could also mean «princess» and for this reason, the prophecy could refer to Daenerys.

3.6. Missandei as (intercultural) mediator

The tasks of advice and mediation are closely related, and the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR, 2020) also refers to the profession of interpreter in the terms of mediators. Many of the universities we have consulted consider these to be two different professions, and we have found examples where there is mediation, either linguistic or intercultural (see also Linguistic Advisor, 3.5). In commercial law, a mediator is a person who brings different parties together for the purpose of concluding, or improving, a mediation agreement.

Based on this definition, Missandei is clearly a mediator. Kraznys, in the scene in which he presents the army of the Unsullied, insults Daenerys and her companion on several occasions, and Missandei is in the difficult situation of having to modify the rude and vulgar speech for her client (at the same time her owner), so that the conversation, or in this case, the negotiation, continues. She sums up Kraznys' insults to Queen Daenerys, as she mediates between the two parties and tries to ensure that the possible deal is not broken (for further information see Limbach and Stender, 2018).

The same as an undergraduate of Translation and Interpreting, she is perfect for mediation work because of her personal characteristics that we mentioned before. Her diplomacy and her temperament make her perfect for the position. Some of these features can be learned in TIS: the importance of knowing the culture and the customs of the other country. Ignoring these customs, or ways of thinking, can lead to serious misunderstandings, and this is a fact that our students know very well.

As we have already pointed out, the position of intercultural advisor could also be called intercultural mediator. We consider both words to be synonymous in our research. Thus, the scenes examined in section 3.5 could also be enlisted here, under the aspect of intercultural mediator. Yet some competences fit into various job descriptions. Thus, another scene from GOT, in which Missandei acts as an intercultural mediator (or advisor), is when she explains the origin of the names of the Unsullied. In their education and training, the Unsullied learn not to be valued as individuals, but to be treated as mere war machines. This is why all of the Unsullied have names of some kind of vermin. In Daenerys’ culture, this would not be possible, because each individual is treated as a person and is given a beautiful name, in order to celebrate the person as a human being with their own rights. Therefore, Daenerys does not understand the name of Grey Worm and looks bewildered when he tells her his name. Missandei, acting as intercultural mediator for her Queen, explains to her this cultural characteristic of the Unsullied.

3.7. Missandei as a Human Resources Manager

Another profession that an undergraduate could take on, according to the universities of Cordoba, Granada and the SDI in Munich, is that of human resources management, which the Cambridge Dictionary (n.d.) defines as follows:

the activity of managing a company’s employees, for example, by employing new workers, training them, managing their employment records, and helping them with problems.

In GOT we find Missandei acting as a professional CEO, and we could give her the title «Chief Executive Officer of the Daenerys' Kingdom Company», if we view Daenerys' kingdom as a company of the modern world. She gathers together the officers of the Unsullied because the Queen wants to talk to them (Thrones S5: Ep. 5, «Kissed by fire»). Missandei is in charge of the army and carries out Daenerys’ orders. During the series, Missandei continues in her role as a Human Resources Manager and as a channel of communication between the Queen and the Unsullied. For example, in the seventh season (Thrones S7: Ep. 4, «The Spoils of War») Missandei informs the Queen of the absence of news from her army.

Missandei also cares for Grey Worm, when he is injured by the Sons of the Harpy in one of their attacks. The Sons of the Harpy want to remove Daenerys from the throne and Ser Barristan and Grey Worm are fighting for their Queen. While Grey Worm is badly injured, Ser Barristan fights bravely, killing a great number of the enemy, but in the end dies of his mortal wounds (Thrones S5: Ep. 4, «Sons of the Harpy»). From that moment on, Missandei sits by Grey Worm’s bed in order to care for him. Although the two of them are slowly developing feelings for each other, nobody but the two of them know this. Officially, Missandei is keeping him company. Therefore, this can be considered as taking care of the «employees» of «Queen Daenerys’ Kingdom Company».

A variety of competences a CEO needs, like for example being able to organise workflows, to make decisions, to take initiative, to work in teams, to organise their time, etc. is something our undergradutate students have to learn: they have to organize themselves throughout their academic career, executing translations and other projects in class, organizing themselves in groups, preparing for presentations, meeting deadlines, etc.

4. Conclusions

After the initial research that led us to draw up a list of career opportunities at Translation and Interpreting, we have been able to confirm that Missandei, as an interpreter, fits perfectly as an undergraduate profile. Moreover, the authors of this section, as university lecturers of various interpreting courses, believe that our students, depending on their profile and interests, can practice these professions perfectly well, albeit in a somewhat more modern environment.

Missandei changes between different modalities of interpretation. Sometimes, she has switched from bilateral consecutive interpreting to bilateral simultaneous interpreting, in order to lighten communication and save time. She masters both modes perfectly and also adapts to the context of the communicative situation, not least with her polite form of expressing ideas, and with the adequate register and jargon, whether it is in the business world or in the public arena.

As we have seen, Missandei also demonstrates great skill in international relations and public relations. This is in addition to acting as a language teacher. Also, let us not forget the fact that she speaks 19 languages, and also knows the particularities of the different cultures that are essential to being able to practice any of the professions we refer to here. She masters intercultural skills with perfection.

We also consider that the character of Missandei could help students and undergraduates to not only see the one most obvious career opportunity, but to focus on the greater variety of job opportunities available to them. We focused on the jobs which Missandei executes in GOT, however, as we said at the beginning, there are even more job opportunities when we take into account the technical equipment that translators and interpreters need (laptop, Wi-Fi, interpreting cabins, etc.). Jobs such as, subtitler, dubber, localizer, simultaneous or consecutive interpreter at large events, have to be added. Moreover, when it comes to job opportunities, which include writing, we can add jobs such as revision, correction and writing of texts, as well as all kinds of translation (literature, technical, medical, etc.).

Not all the universities consider the same professional fields as applicable, nonetheless, our belief is that studying TIS will enable the students to be open minded and prepared for any work that is related to the professions listed in Table 2. Naturally, not all students can work in all of the above fields, as much depends on the character, tastes and talents of each individual, but the career offers students the necessary tools to apply to a wide range of jobs.


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* Both authors participated equally in the elaboration of this paper.

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Entreculturas. Revista de Traducción y Comunicación Intercultural