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Thread poster: Alison Woods
MA in Translation and Interpretation at the University of Westminster vs Leeds vs Manchester
Alison Woods

Local time: 21:39
Spanish to English
Jan 18, 2009

Hello!

I was wondering if anyone had studied at any of these universities and what they thought of them. Also, does anyone know about their reputations? Thank you!


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Stephen Gobin
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:39
German to English
+ ...
University of Westminster Jan 18, 2009

I studied for the MA in Technical and Specialised Translation at the University of Westminster on a part-time basis. I don't know anything about Leeds or Manchester, but I found the course at Westminster to be an excellent initial form of training to become a professional translator. I deliberately chose elective modules with a vocational (read "practical") bias and the types of documents we had to translate in every module, be it elective or compulsory, were all highly representative of the kind work that is out there for commercial translators. The lecturers I had were all practising translators and some were also involved in research work. If you have an interest in literary translation, Westminster is not your ideal place. When I was there, elective modules in literary translation were on offer in the course prospectus, but they didn't run because of a lack of student numbers. All in all, a very good university if it's commercial translation that interests you most and being in London means that there is a wealth of other libraries and facilities right on your doorstep to help you in your translation research work.

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mattsmith
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:39
German to English
+ ...
It depends what you're after Jan 19, 2009

The University of Westminster is a former polytechnic which means the courses there are very vocationally oriented and practical with a view to "skilling you up" in translation computer packages etc. The courses at Manchester and Leeds are likely to focus on the academic discipline of translation and the linguistic side of things and might offer a subsidiary course in translation technology at best. The atmosphere at these universities is much more studious and academic than it is at Westminster.

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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:39
French to English
+ ...
not sure Jan 19, 2009


robertsmith wrote:

The University of Westminster is a former polytechnic which means the courses there are very vocationally oriented and practical with a view to "skilling you up" in translation computer packages etc. The courses at Manchester and Leeds are likely to focus on the academic discipline of translation and the linguistic side of things and might offer a subsidiary course in translation technology at best. The atmosphere at these universities is much more studious and academic than it is at Westminster.


I'd wait for more information about Leeds before making a decision - I've done a Trados course there, and they had a very well-equipped translation technology suite. They seemed serious about making sure their students had experience with the technology. I don't know anything about their translation teaching though.


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H King  Identity Verified

Local time: 02:39
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Manchester - v. theoretical Jan 19, 2009

I was offered a place on the Translation Studies MA course at Manchester, but turned it down in favour of the Translating course at Salford. And was glad I did - the titles say it all really! The Manchester course (as I understood it from people who went there) is very theoretical, and has little bearing on the practical and, in particular, business side of translating. Personally, if what you want is to work as a translator afterwards, I would recommend a course that is as practical and business-oriented as possible.

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Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:39
Italian to English
+ ...
MA in Translation - Swansea Jan 19, 2009

I did an MA in Translation with Language Technology at Swansea University 3 years ago and can highly recommend it. We used a range of CAT tools, including TRADOS and Deja Vu, with a varied choice of modules, including interpreting, and very helpful staff. Translation work covered everything, from literary to legal. Most of us were able to move into our chosen fields as far as I know.

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RobinB  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:39
German to English
"Academic discipline"? Jan 19, 2009


robertsmith wrote: The courses at Manchester and Leeds are likely to focus on the academic discipline of translation and the linguistic side of things


Provided that you believe that there is such a thing as an "academic discipline" of translation in the first place, of course. But in fact Leeds is heavily translation technology-driven, and I understand pretty light on the actual practice of translating. And Manchester (ex-UMIST) really is more geared towards theories, so is more of academic interest to anybody actually wanting to pursue a career as a translator (rather than as, say, a researcher or a lecturer).


The atmosphere at these universities is much more studious and academic than it is at Westminster.


Yeah, right. The fact that Westminster is a former poly is wholly irrelevant and doesn't reflect in the slightest on its "atmosphere".

I'm sure that the Westminster courses are among the best in the UK and that Alison would benefit greatly from studying there.

Robin


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Stephen Gobin
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:39
German to English
+ ...
Right of reply Jan 19, 2009

I feel that Robert Smith's entry deserves a reply because whether intended or not it is disparaging of the University of Westminster. It uses that old nutshell of "Polytechnic versus University" and all that this implies in terms of status. The translation course at Westminster covers a whole lot more than "skilling you up in translation computer packages" (in fact, when I was there, this was an elective module - not compulsory). Translation theory and/or branches of linguistics could also be taken as elective modules, but this theoretical side could not be totally avoided as it formed a core part of the MA Translation Project, which everyone had to do unless they opted to do a research thesis instead. Quite what "much more studious and academic than it is at Westminster" means, I'm not sure.

The University of Westminster/Polytechnic of Central London has a very long history of offering courses in applied languages at both under and postgraduate level, as does Heriot Watt (Edinburgh).


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Delminda
English to Portuguese
MA in Applied Translation Studies at London Metropolitan University Jan 20, 2009

Hello
I am thinking of applying to do the MA in Applied Translation Studies at London Metropolitan University, UK. http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/pgprospectus/courses/applied-translation-studies.cfm
I would like to hear from others who did this MA.
I would really appreciate if anyone who has done the MA in Applied Translation Studies at London Metropolitan University could share their experience.

Thank you!


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mattsmith
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:39
German to English
+ ...
I came across wrongly Jan 20, 2009

I studied at Manchester University and then completed my translation course at UCL. Irrespective of the differences between the courses on offer, and that is something which requires research and, if necessary, for the prospective student to visit each university and each department and to speak to the course tutors, the atmosphere at these universities differs widely. I found, for instance, the quality of the academic teaching staff to be higher at UCL than it was at Manchester. I also found the students to be generally more academically motivated, although the atmosphere was far less 'fun' at UCL than it was at Manchester.

I also worked briefly at the University of Westminster and I got the overall impression that the atmosphere was more practical and career / skills focused. At UCL, little importance was attached to the area of practical translation skills (translation IT packages etc.), or to the professional side of translation, it was much more focused on literary translation and translation theories. I believe it is a similar scenario with the MA offered by Manchester university. IF you don't intend to translate books, learning about these practical skills is very important (e.g. if you are considering a career in commercial translation, esp. technical or legal, or in software localisation or project management). As such I wasn't trying to make condescending statements about the former polytechnics.


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Marta Fernandez-Suarez  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:39
English to Spanish
a bit more info Jan 22, 2009

Hi

I did the MA Bilingual Translation at Westminster, so I can't say much about the MA combining both Translation and Interpreting on offer in this university. Some of my colleagues did decide to combine my MA with a course to prepare for an IoL diploma (DipTrans or DPSI).

All in all, studying there (and my hard work, of course ) led me to a better job, so, in that aspect, I was very happy I did it. As far as teaching went, it was overall good and all my translation teachers for the compulsory subjects (English-Spanish) were excellent, not liking so much one elective module I took.

I have found a related link in ProZ to this http://www.proz.com/forum/interpreting/109523-interpreting_training_in_the_uk.html


........................


Regarding the "reputation" bit, I guess you mean their place on the league tables. I agree with post http://www.proz.com/forum/professional_development/123808-masters_in_southern_england.html?float=true that the league tables do not seem very useful for Translation or Interpreting. Have a look at that link also for info on other possible universities you did not mention in the title.

A university can excel on a particular subject and yet not be at the top of the league tables. In my case for example, the university where I studied my BA (then UNL, now part of London Metropolitan) was not at the top of the league tables and not at all on some of the leagues tables, yet it won two prices for their English and French degrees when I was there, their library resources were very impressive (with one of the best indexing I have ever seen), and the course organisers and teachers of these two degrees more than deserved the prices awarded. Overall (and this is my personal opinion) I preferred the teaching at UNL to the teaching at Westminster.

OTHER LINKS

On league tables in the UK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_tables_of_British_universities

Newsweek top 100 in the World list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_100_Global_Universities (only Manchester appears from the ones you mention)

Leeds and Manchester are on this list: http://www.topuniversities.com/worlduniversityrankings/results/2008/subject_rankings/arts_humanities/

Here http://extras.timesonline.co.uk/tol_gug/gooduniversityguide.php, you can see that Leeds is at 31, Manchester is at no. 92, Westminster is at number 101

Another general list: http://www.webometrics.info/top500_europe.asp

That is, the results can differ a lot depending who gives them and few lists offer a filtering/search by subject, and when they do, the nearest you seem to get to Translation or Interpreting is "Modern Languages"...

............

+Not sure about this, but maybe the Press Office of the Universities you are interested in applying to, might be able to send you a Media references received list.


[Edited at 2009-01-22 22:41 GMT]


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mattsmith
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:39
German to English
+ ...
Without wanting to be pedantic...... Jan 23, 2009

Manchester University is actually 27th on the list. Manchester Met is 92nd! I felt I had to point that out as a graduate of Manchester University! LOL

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Marta Fernandez-Suarez  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:39
English to Spanish
right Jan 25, 2009

Hi

sorry, that is right. My mistake. Indeed at 27. As it is more than 24 hrs after posting it, I can't edit it. So thanks to point this out, and for pointing out that there is not just one university in Manchester.

The list seems to suggest there is just one university in Marchester (it only proofs the point I was trying to make, that these lists are not that reliable or clear, let alone consistant)




[Edited at 2009-01-25 14:12 GMT]


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Sarah Wood  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:39
French to English
Manchester/Leeds/London - decisions decisions! Jan 26, 2009

Hi,

I did translation modules at Manchester when I studied French there - it was a while ago now but I can remember that they were very thorough to say the least! I absolutely loved the University and the city. I now live in Leeds, which is also a great city, but I haven't studied here so I can't vouch for the Uni. Having said that I'd love to study in London - what a great choice you have!

My advice would be to visit each one and get a feel for the Universities and the places in general. First impressions and instincts are often right and visiting each one is a good excuse to travel!

xx
Sarah


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Charles Rothwell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:39
Member (2007)
German to English
MA in Applied Translation Studies - University of Leeds Feb 14, 2009

I did this course as a mature student and on a full-time basis last academic year (2007 - 08) and graduated "with Merit" December 2008. Like most university courses, it will depend what you are looking for and who you are! The main things I would say are:

1) the course is VERY geared towards training people as 'PROJECT MANAGERS' in agencies and heading into such posts upon graduation (as the vast amjority did). (If, like me, you were thinking more of an MA as a route into FREELANCING with no PM prior employment, I should study your options carefully).

2) the course is VERY heavily geared towards 'CAT' ('Computer Assisted Translation'), which accounts for 45 of the 180 total credits required (or, to put it another way, four hours of CAT every week for the entire course - with, of course, students having to spend MUCH longer doing projects, assignments etc. in addition to the actual classroom-based lessons).

3) The CAT component provides an introduction to MOST of the leading systems: SDL TRADOS, Worddfast, OmegaT, Deja Vu, STAR Transit, Passolo (and yet other systems as well - I cannot recall them any more without looking through my notes!). (The course organisers emphasise that one does NOT need high level IT skills beforehand to take/pass the course (and I am the living proof of that!), BUT one does need to be aware of the amount of IT-based work which taking the Leeds course entails (and which distinguishes it, I know, from MAs in Translation at other British universities, to graduates of which I have spoken since completing my course). (Another point to bear in mind is that most of the systems (TRADOS, Deja Vu, STAR etc.) are only accessible through the IT Suite of the Centre for Translation Studies, so you will need to spend a lot (far more than I had expected) of time on-campus). (Many of the other modules offered are also computer-centred, ('Corporate Linguisitcs', 'Introduction to Machine Translation' etc.) - so there is no getting away from the e-world at Leeds!

4) (As one would expect) the vast majority of the students are in their mid-20s / early-30s (but there were a few 'oldies' like me as well). Students are from all over Europe (Greece, Spain, Portugal, Poland etc.) AND, especially, CHINA (Beijing and Shanghai). (Leeds has close lnks with the 'top' university in China which trains the country's INTERPRETERS (and Leeds is one the leading centres in the UK for training people in this specialist field, of course - students for Translating and Interpreting share some lessons/modules).

5) LANGUAGES represented when I took the course were French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Greek, German, Arablic, Japanese, Chinese and Russian. Students usually take TWO languages - a translation module in each language (or from English, of course, for EFL speakers).

6) The final assessment modules consist of EITHER a long dissertation (taken virtually exclusively by those intending to go on to take a Ph.D/get involved in linguistic research) OR two long (c. 4,000 words each) Extended Translations. (I enjoyed this part of the course - it brings together well what you have learnt in all of the preceding parts of the course and provides a good 'simulation' for working as a translator full-time afterwards).

7) If you are looking for a strong student social life, Leeds is very famous for being able to provide this in abundance (although Manchester and London are hardly for hermits, of course, either!)

Hope this is of some use. Please get back to me (e.g. off-forum) if I can provide any other info.

GOOD LUCK whatever your final chice!


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MA in Translation and Interpretation at the University of Westminster vs Leeds vs Manchester







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