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Online translation courses in a variety of languages: City University of London
Thread poster: Michele Johnson

Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:54
German to English
+ ...
Mar 29, 2004

I have received an overwhelming number of responses to my brief reference here
http://www.proz.com/topic/19660
to the distance learning course in translation I completed, including many requests to start a new forum topic with more information.

If you are interested in an online translation course, you might check out the City University of London's distance learning program to prepare for the Institute of Linguists' Diploma in Translation:
http://www.city.ac.uk/languages/dtdl.htm

Languages include:
English into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Arabic, Polish, Russian, Turkish, and Czech; into English from French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian.

While these courses are officially to prepare for the IOL's Diploma in Translation, it is not mandatory that you take the exam. In my opinion they are an outstanding opportunity to learn more about translation and get invaluable feedback about your work, regardless of whether you go on to do the IOL exam or not.

My experience:
I did this course in 2001. I started with one 20-credit course in Unit 1, and then did the 10-credit Unit 3 immediately before the exam. I was assigned a tutor in my country of residence (Germany) who sent me all 8 assignments by post at the beginning of the unit (in my case 4 general texts, 2 science, 2 technology; you get to pick your specialty areas). After doing the weekly translation, I emailed it to my tutor, who then printed it out, corrected it and made comments, and sent it back to me via post.

Description:
The course is very hands-on. I was given recommended reading lists about translation theory, linguistics, etc. but that was largely up to me. The core of the course involves actually doing translations, one per week.

Nuts and bolts:
The translations were relatively short (about 500 words?) but quite challenging, usually from previous IOL exams. Especially at the beginning, when I was getting the hang of annotations, I would spend at least a day on the assignment (I believe the annotations requirement has been done away with; check the candidates' manual at the IOL website). Closer to the exam, my tutor would have me start timing myself to simulate actual exam conditions: 3 hours for general texts and 2 hours for my specialized texts, limited to only my own reference materials, no internet.

The most useful part was getting the corrected translation back. It would be absolutely dissected (in a good sense!). I'm sure my tutor spent as much time correcting it as I did writing it. This really taught me to be precise, and what kind of errors I typically make to be able to better avoid them in the future. The feedback was absolutely invaluable.

We also had telephone tutorial sessions (2 in Unit 1 and 1 in Unit 3) where I would call my tutor and we would talk for 20 minutes about last week's translation, solution approaches, problem areas, etc. I think it is a good idea that the distance learning program includes this personal element. My tutor also put me into contact with a number of fellow students all over the world doing the course at the same time.

Evaluation:
Overall this was a very positive experience for me. I got much more one-on-one attention from my tutor than I expect is possible in a conventional classroom-based course. I personally don't think I would have passed the exam without it, although clearly your mileage may vary. (I know of at least 2 people who passed without taking such a course). I feel the Diploma in Translation qualification lends one a certain amount of credibility, especially for those with a background e.g. in engineering, law, etc. but no formal training in translation. However, I would recommend the City U distance program even if you are not planning on taking the IOL exam.

Costs:
20-credit module (8 translations, 2 tutorials) £215.00
10-credit module (4 translations, 1 tutorial) £129.00

The costs are minimal really, you can pay by credit card, and especially the 10-credit module is an easy way to get one's feet wet with an online translation course.

Recent postings about NYU's Translation Program might also be of interest:
http://www.proz.com/topic/19824


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 04:54
German to English
City University of London Mar 29, 2004

Thank you for the great information, Michele. Now I wonder if these courses would be feasible for someone living outside of Europe. I'll have to check into it with the university, especially regarding the tutor.

Kim


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mckinnc  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:54
French to English
+ ...
Not usually a problem being outside Europe Mar 30, 2004

I read this post with great interest, having prepared for the Diploma in Translation with a distance learning course from the University of Cardiff.

For that course, there was clearly no bar to taking part if you lived outside Europe. One student, as I recall, was based in Hong Kong.

Kim Metzger wrote:

Thank you for the great information, Michele. Now I wonder if these courses would be feasible for someone living outside of Europe. I'll have to check into it with the university, especially regarding the tutor.

Kim


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Antoine Cabrol
Local time: 10:54
English to French
+ ...
Very interesting Apr 3, 2004

It is very interesting indeed. I have sent an e-mail to them (City of London University, Language department) asking for a few details.
Their website seems to say that it is possible to follow the course without a language degree so I have asked them if my qualifications would be good enough: I do not have a language degree but have lived in England for 3 years and I do proofreading as well as a few translations through my job. Do you think there's any hope of me getting accepted?


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:54
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Outside of Europe + qualifications Apr 5, 2004

Antoine, did you get a reply back yet? I don't think there are any hard-and-fast rules for being allowed to sign up for the course. I suspect they would take *anyone*, and leave it up to the applicant to decide. I believe the IOL does have some guidelines about how much experience you should have before taking their exam- check their Dip. Trans. handbook, available at the IOL website.

Kim, I could be wrong, but I believe distance is no obstacle. A fellow student doing the course at the same time was located in Saudi Arabia. Everything is done electronically until the tutor corrects your paper, and I think airmail reaches almost everywhere these days in 7-10 days.


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:54
French to English
+ ...
Cardiff course Apr 21, 2004

I read your reply with great interest, Colin, as I am just about to start the Cardiff course and had not until now found anyone else who knew anything about it!

Has it helped you establish yourself as a translator? How are you getting on now?

Angela


Colin McKinney wrote:

I read this post with great interest, having prepared for the Diploma in Translation with a distance learning course from the University of Cardiff.

For that course, there was clearly no bar to taking part if you lived outside Europe. One student, as I recall, was based in Hong Kong.

Kim Metzger wrote:

Thank you for the great information, Michele. Now I wonder if these courses would be feasible for someone living outside of Europe. I'll have to check into it with the university, especially regarding the tutor.

Kim


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alcastillol
Local time: 11:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
Another option May 7, 2004

Hi,

I am taking a distance course from International House in Barcelona that also prepares for the Diploma in Translation. So far it has been very interesting and useful. Everything is done by email. You do not have telephone sessions, but the corrections you get from the tutor are detailed. The only thing is the language combinations, as far as I know they offer only English-Spanish, Spanish-English and French-Spanish: http://www.ihes.com/bcn/traduccion/cursogeneral.htm


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