BA Translation courses at British universities - any opinions?
Thread poster: Iza Szczypka

Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:59
English to Polish
+ ...
Mar 29, 2004

My daughter (also a Proz.com member) has applied to six British universities for admission into their BA Translation courses (Fr>Eng), even though English is her second language (native - Polish). The problem is they all seem willing to admit her, and she can't decide which one would be the best. She needs to hone her skills in both languages further and learn the profession, of course. On paper and WWW they all seem perfect. Any word-of-the-mouth opinions? I'm not giving the uni names deliberately, not to limit your selection (well, you can exclude the Oxbridge).

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Jesús Marín Mateos  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:59
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just one... Mar 29, 2004

Dear Iza,
I don't know which ones you mean because there aren't many universities that offer Translation at a BA level, it is mainly offered for MA I thinkkkkkkk.
I have heard the London Metropolitan University does have a BA in Translation which includes 6 months working in an agency or other institution translation related. This univesity has got an agreement with the IoL and this BA counts towards the Diploma in Translation and the DPSI but I don't know how much. Anyway this is my input, if you are looking for a pretigious university this is not the one......
Good luck.
Jesus.


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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:59
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
By way of further explanation... Mar 29, 2004

Jesus Marin wrote:

...if you are looking for a pretigious university this is not the one......
Good luck.
Jesus.


Thanks, Jesus. In fact, we're not looking for a prestigious university but rather for an efficient one that offers really good quality language courses plus a sound knowledge of translating as a profession. Perhaps a bunch of well-prepared trainees you've met somehow happen to have graduated from one and the same course... or perhaps you yourself graduated not long ago and find the training you got highly adequate to the requirements of the translation market... Things of that sort.


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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:59
Italian to English
+ ...
visit the universities Mar 29, 2004

Hi Iza,
Sounds great. My only advice would be to have your daughter visit the universities (if she hasn't done so already), maybe try to get in touch with some of the students on the course she's applied for - I'm sure they'd be happy to show her around, and that way you get good and bad info direct from the students, rather than from a glossy prospectus, and we all know they can lie!!
I've recently been working with a young linguist who's applied to 6 universities and is trying to chose which one to go to. She visited one after getting an offer there and didn't like the place at all. It depends entirely on the individual, so.... there's no better way to decide than to spend a night there and try it out! She may even be able to go along to lectures etc. to see what the teaching is like. After all, university departments change in strength from year to year sometimes, so even if a course is reputed to be the best in the country, if it doesn't suit you it isn't worth putting yourself through it.

Have a good week,
Amy

[Edited at 2004-03-29 23:52]


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Evi Zierlein
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:59
English to German
+ ...
University table 2003 Mar 30, 2004

Hello Iza,

have a look at the following link http://education.guardian.co.uk/universityguide, you might be able to find a few more infos about the universities your daughter could apply to. Perhaps it helps in separating the wheat from the chaff
Good luck!


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Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:59
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Good advice Mar 30, 2004

Amy Williams wrote:

Hi Iza,
Sounds great. My only advice would be to have your daughter visit the universities (if she hasn't done so already), maybe try to get in touch with some of the students on the course she's applied for - I'm sure they'd be happy to show her around, and that way you get good and bad info direct from the students, rather than from a glossy prospectus, and we all know they can lie!!
I've recently been working with a young linguist who's applied to 6 universities and is trying to chose which one to go to. She visited one after getting an offer there and didn't like the place at all. It depends entirely on the individual, so.... there's no better way to decide than to spend a night there and try it out! She may even be able to go along to lectures etc. to see what the teaching is like. After all, university departments change in strength from year to year sometimes, so even if a course is reputed to be the best in the country, if it doesn't suit you it isn't worth putting yourself through it.

Have a good week,
Amy

[Edited at 2004-03-29 23:52]


Amy's suggestion is a good one; when you visit the university, not only do you get a feel of the place, but you sometimes also get to meet teaching staff in the department as well as current students who can really give you an insight into the course they are studying (this is if you attend the open days - which are currently running at most UK universities).
Courses can also change over the three or four years in which they are taken as staff leave or departmental requirements change.
Jesus is also correct in stating that few UK universities offer BAs in translation; in fact, the courses are very new. Perhaps, if your daughter intends to become a translator (as I assume), it's best to find out from the course administrator how successful graduates are in finding jobs and how the industry views/accepts such qualifications. The standard route is still by doing a postgrad course, either an MA or IoL DipTrans. I hope that helps and good luck to you and your daughter,
Aisha


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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:59
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to everybody Mar 30, 2004

Thanks for your advice. I agree the best solution would be to travel round the universities and see what they really are like, but I can see some practical problems:
- to travel from Poland to six UK universities you'd need far more than a week and at the moment it's a hot season at school, preparing for the final exams;
- there's a problem of ... well, it's often called "insufficient resources";
- some of the courses have been approved by UCAS only recently, so there are very few, if any, graduates (by the way, this field of study seems to be in large demand and more and more universities are opening translation courses - I don't know if it's good or bad news to us, the established ones)
It was exactly those problems that made me post the question.


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mckinnc  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:59
French to English
+ ...
Heriot Watt has a very good reputation Mar 30, 2004

I have always heard very good things about the MA Hons Languages (Translating and Interpreting) course at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh. Note that in Scotland an MA is an undergraduate degree - 4 years including, in this case, a year abroad.

You can get all the information you need at:

http://www.hw.ac.uk/prosp/ug/courses/lint.php

In the light of your later comments, I should just add this course has existed for quite some time. It was going when I first went to university (1984). So as you can see, this is not at all a new phenomenon, undergraduate courses of that type.

[Edited at 2004-03-30 11:39]


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Abigail Dahlberg
Local time: 06:59
German to English
+ ...
Agree with Colin Mar 30, 2004

As a graduate of Heriot-Watt's MA in Translating and Interpreting, I can only agree with what Colin said. I know that the programmes run by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Westminster are also well-respected and have been going for several years. Otherwise, I would echo what everyone else has said. I think that, if possible, it is important to actually get a feel for a place first if you are considering living there for three or four years.

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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:59
Italian to English
+ ...
e-mailing Mar 30, 2004

Sorry, Iza, I hadn't realised you were in Poland. I would still contact the universities and students by phone or email (the courses may be new but students on other language courses at the same institution must at least have heard about the new translation courses coming in and should be able to give you some pointers).

I'm sorry that the information I gave above is a bit redundant now!
Good luck with it all,
Amy


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