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On accreditations and university degrees.
Thread poster: Bertha S. Deffenbaugh

Bertha S. Deffenbaugh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jan 11, 2002

Being a professional myself, and with my own degrees I must admit that ,unfortunately accreditations and university degrees sometimes mean little.

I have come across many professionals who had their diplomas nicely framed but whose knowledge left much to be desired.



I have come across translators who read only the documents to be translated, and whose literary training, for example, is null. Personally, I think to become a good translator you must be, first,[ or have been] a good reader.



It is all right with having a University Diploma or an accreditation. Who could deny that? But, we have to admit that , unfortunately, intelligence does not come in the same package.



Can we deny that we have come across brilliant people who had no university diplomas whatsoever? I think this idea that the most intelligent follow a career or that the least intelligent are those who do not study or go to university, is all wrong. As a teacher I had brilliant students who hated studying, but whose remarks everybody was interested in listening to. Why? Simple: They were brilliant. And the majority of the most outstanding personalities in the literary and artistic world are people who admit to not having even finished high school.



The person who most taught me about languages and translation back in my early years as a student was a NON professional translator, an outstanding teacher of english with no university degrees in teaching either.



Please, don\'t take me wrong, I am in no way implying that University Degrees are unimportant, but I would like us to be honest and realistic and admit that accreditations and titles are not always a guarantee.



Perhaps we should judge others and their capacity to perform a translation job not so much for their degrees or accreditations but for their actual abilities.



Days ago a read something interesting about this subject and there was a phrase that went: \"Remember that Noah\'s Arch was built by amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals\".



Regards,



Bertha



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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 03:26
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
100% agreement Jan 11, 2002

I would like to second everything you say, Bertha.



A translator must be an excellent and versatile writer to be able to recreate the style of the original in the target text. Do we respect the best writers any less if they do not a university degree in literature or creative writing? No, we judge them by their works.





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Xeniz
Spain
Local time: 10:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Qualifications/Diplomas Jan 11, 2002

If there is any country that gives overdue importance to University degrees, that has to be Spain. I have never lived in another country where the mere fact of holding a title awards you social status, intelligence, and experience. A perfect example is in English teaching, where many Spaniards with a degree en Filología have well paid teaching jobs and yet have no idea of how to speak the language.



I have also seen translations carried out by \"qualified\" translators, employed by the Xunta and other government departments (eg Turism) which are just shameful. How many of you have seen a sign on a beach in Spain saying \"Care of the Beach\", for example?



Nothing beats experience, and in general Sapnish learning is all theory and no practical.



No offence to those Spaniards who have worked hard for their degrees, and are a good translatior into the bargain.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:26
Member (2004)
English to Italian
good points... Jan 11, 2002

but Noah\'s Arch did not exist...



GG


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Rick Henry  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:26
Italian to English
+ ...
On Noah's arc... Jan 11, 2002

But boats did exist.



R.

==

Quote:


On 2002-01-11 20:11, guarnieri wrote:

but Noah\'s Arch did not exist...



GG



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Bertha S. Deffenbaugh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Noah's Arch? Quite true... Jan 11, 2002

but you got my point, didn\'t you? )))

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Tatjana Aleksic, MA  Identity Verified
English to Serbo-Croat
+ ...
If literally interpreted, your statement can convey Jan 11, 2002

a dangerous notion that amateurs can do better than professionals with degrees and accreditations, which is something I will never second. However, it is clear that nothing is ever a guarantee of competence and professionalism, not even a University degree or accreditation by a renowned institution. That goes without saying and I don\'t see the need for such a discussion.

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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 04:26
German to English
+ ...
I agree Jan 11, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-01-11 19:46, GoodWords wrote:

I would like to second everything you say, Bertha.



A translator must be an excellent and versatile writer to be able to recreate the style of the original in the target text. Do we respect the best writers any less if they do not a university degree in literature or creative writing? No, we judge them by their works.









But translators are still different from writers inasmuch as they need to have some training (even by a single mentor) with respect to professional ethics, standards, research techniques, etc.



As for \"judging them by their work\", I fully agree: that is why I have been saying all along that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and agencies should give new translators a minimum job (paid, of course), rather than sending them jumping through hoops with (unpaid) \"test translations\" of 200 to 1,000 words (or more, in some cases).

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Tatiana Neroni
English to Russian
+ ...
No education at all needed, just a lot of reading, I agree Jan 12, 2002

The best interpreter I know is my 14-year-old daughter who\'s fully bilingual (English-Russian) because of her Russian mother and her American father. She\'s read a lot, both parents have vast literary vocabularies - and as a result what I had to learn over the years in the University and practice - comes so natural to her...



It\'s amazing how quickly and easily she converts the structures of one language into another...
[addsig]


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Bertha S. Deffenbaugh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good ol' misinterpretations... Jan 12, 2002

It is obvious, T. Aleksic, that you did not understand what I wrote. I gather that either you did not want to understand or did not take the necessary time to read a simple, easy note.











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Patricia Myers
United States
Local time: 01:26
English to Catalan
+ ...
Education in Spain Jan 12, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-01-11 19:49, Xeniz wrote:

If there is any country that gives overdue importance to University degrees, that has to be Spain. I have never lived in another country where the mere fact of holding a title awards you social status, intelligence, and experience. A perfect example is in English teaching, where many Spaniards with a degree en Filología have well paid teaching jobs and yet have no idea of how to speak the language.



I have also seen translations carried out by \"qualified\" translators, employed by the Xunta and other government departments (eg Turism) which are just shameful. How many of you have seen a sign on a beach in Spain saying \"Care of the Beach\", for example?



Nothing beats experience, and in general Sapnish learning is all theory and no practical.



No offence to those Spaniards who have worked hard for their degrees, and are a good translatior into the bargain.





You are right, in Spain having a degree is very important but I don\'t agree with you with respect to the translation issue. It\'s true that there are very bad translations out there but I can assure you they haven\'t been done by professionals. But it\'s not as bad in Spain as it is in the USA. Here I have seen the worst translations ever. Just unbelievable. Everywhere I go every Spanish translation is just awful, and I\'m not talking about stores or small places, I\'m talking about banks, government offices, etc.



The way you make it sound is as if it\'s easy to get a degree in Spain but you are wrong. It\'s one of the most difficult places to get a degree. If Spain places a lot of value in having a university degree it is for a reason. I don\'t think having a college degree makes you intelligent but it obviously shows you are hard working. High school in Spain is not easy and if you manage to pass and go to college it shows that you truly are qualified. In the USA, for example, people graduate from high school with having completed the level of school work I did in middle school. In the USA you can pick the level of difficulty of your classes whereas in Spain you just take what the government requires and everybody takes courses of the same level of difficulty and if the student is unable to complete the coursework he or she is unable to graduate. (My observation is based on my own experience in school).



I agree that experience is important but I think education is a must.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-01-12 04:18 ]

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Brenda Wong, M.A. (Translation & Interpretation)  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:26
Member (2002)
English to Chinese
+ ...
To have or not to have, that is the question Jan 12, 2002

As a professional translator/interpreter with a Translation & Interpretation degree myself, I tend to agree and disagree with the original author. It is absolutely true that a degree or accreditation (by degree or accreditation, I mean translation/interpretation related degrees or accreditations) does not guarantee quality. I have met a lot of excellent colleagues with no degree or accreditation. However, the catch is these colleagues are often times with lots of experience.

Let\'s take a lawyer as an example. An eloquent, smart, analytical person who wants to become a lawyer still has to go to law school. But why? Wouldn\'t it be sufficient for that person to start right away (since he has all the qualities to become one)? It is true that one of the reasons to attend law schools is to study the never-ending laws and become familiar with them. But I think an even more important reason is to provide adequate trainings for this person to be prepared or maybe even well-prepared as he or she enters this profession. It also gives the public a peace of mind knowing that this person has trainings. They don\'t have to worry as to whether the person defending me is an amateur or not. The same stays true for our profession. There are, in my opinion, a lot of amateurs in our profession. Receving proper training (or even obtaining a degree or accreditation)is some form of assurance to the outside world that there is a very big possibility that he or she knows what translation/interpretation (especially good translation/interpretation)means. Also, it teaches the public that our profession is not one that anyone who happens to know or speak two or more languages can be a translator/interpreter. It makes the public respects us and also realizes that being a translator/interpreter is not as easy as they think!


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Alan Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:26
German to English
Oh no! Jan 12, 2002

This is the type of discussion I usually try to avoid, but not this time. You see, I\'m one of those that are the target of the \"professional\'s\" slagging matches. I have no degrees whatsoever. I have studied mechanicial engineering and materials, and geotechnics, at two technical colleges in Germany (which is really cheap, obviously). I also served a three year apprenticeship and am a fully indentured, skilled tradesman. Despite being this stupid, I am a halfway successful translator and interpreter. In the past, I often had proofreading jobs from one or two of my regular agencies (I now have the assignments instead) because the translator couldn\'t get it right. Just today, I have read questions from someone posing as a German - English translator, in quite bad English. So, I\'m pretty sick of being put down as some kind of amateur interloper. I have lived in Germany for almost twenty five years - of course, that doesn\'t mean I can understand the language. I arrived in Germany in 1978 with the British Army; by 1981, I was also employed as a translator and interpreter (until I left in 1986). Yet I cannot acquire admission to professional bodies becuase I do not have a degree. I hear so much about unqualified amateurs on this and other forums; well, if you had seen some of the things that I have seen over the years, you too would laugh at a university qualification - it means nothing in my opinion.



Thanks Bertha, for bringing this up - I let off some steam, and the next modification for ProZ will be to disbar anybody without a university qualification


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Martina Ley
Local time: 10:26
German to Czech
+ ...
No degree - no solid foundation Jan 12, 2002

On 2002-01-11 19:49, Xeniz wrote:



I agree that experience is important but I think education is a must.



I believe, having acquired a university degree or an accreditation is a proof of such crucial character qualities like responsibility, endurance, planning capacity, stress handling etc. which I would never like to miss when chosing a translator. I would always prefer graduates to non-graduates.

My university studies have been the best and the most solid basis to build my experience upon. Without a degree it is just like building a house omitting a foundation.



Martina


[addsig]


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Bertha S. Deffenbaugh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, Jan 12, 2002

Point well made, Alan.



I think a very good or excellent translation can only be done by an intelligent and highly educated individual, and attaining education is a lifetime process that begins in early childhood. Whether during that education process, an individual attends University or not, does not seem to be extremely relevant. Because it is the lifetime education that does the good job, not the degree. Of course that if a highly educated and intelligent individual decides to get a degree, then he will become a highly intelligent educated individual WITH a degree.





BSD


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