Is a British MA recognized in France?
Thread poster: Caro L
Caro L
Local time: 20:56
French to English
Dec 20, 2006

I'm hoping to train to be a freelance translator and would appreciate the opinion of anyone with experience of the translation market in France.
I am British with a university degree (International Management and French), English mother tongue and have lived for in France the last 10 years.
I aim to become a freelance translator, and would like to know whether a British MA in Translating is likely to be recognized by outsourcers in France. Either UWE by distance learning, or University of London Institute in Paris. Would Institute of Linbguists Diploma be preferable? French Master degrees local to me require French mother tongue and a second foreign language, so are not an option.
Many thanks in advance for your help.
Caroline


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 20:56
French to English
+ ...
Maybe, but is it worth it? Dec 20, 2006

Caroline,

If you've lived here for 10 years you should be well aware that the French will recognise or not recognise any document they feel like recognising on any given day

However, I think a more important question is whether the MA will ever pay back the time and cost involved in getting it. Remember that the time is time you could spend on translating where you would be earning money instead of spending it.

I don't have an advanced degree and I turn work away as I don't have time to do it all. Every translator I've met is in the same situation. Maybe I could charge more if I had an advanced degree but I doubt it - nobody has ever asked me if I have one.

I wouldn't be so rude as to guess your age in a public forum but, assuming you weren't a child prodigy and you spent that 10 years in France after you graduated, you have aproximately 30 years of career ahead of you. How big a chunk of that do you want to spend on getting an MA? If it takes you 3 years, you have to boost your rates by 10% just to win back the time and (wild guess) another 10% to win back the cost. Do you think an MA will increase your billing by 20%? I don't (but others may disagree).

I actually have two bachelors degrees, both in my subject areas (engineering and IT). I took the second one because I wanted to, not because I thought it would help my career in any way (I was already an IT director when I finished it). If you WANT to take an MA then, by all means, go for it but be realistic about the finances of the situation.

Terry.


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Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 21:56
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Probably yes Dec 20, 2006

I believe MAs and other university degrees are generally acknowledged across the EU, so it doesn't no matter in which country you have graduated.

[Edited at 2006-12-20 18:01]


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
theoretically yes Dec 20, 2006

Caro L wrote:

I'm hoping to train to be a freelance translator and would appreciate the opinion of anyone with experience of the translation market in France.
I am British with a university degree (International Management and French), English mother tongue and have lived for in France the last 10 years.
I aim to become a freelance translator, and would like to know whether a British MA in Translating is likely to be recognized by outsourcers in France. Either UWE by distance learning, or University of London Institute in Paris. Would Institute of Linbguists Diploma be preferable? French Master degrees local to me require French mother tongue and a second foreign language, so are not an option.
Many thanks in advance for your help.
Caroline


In theory yes, in the European Higher Education Area, all EU qualifications are supposed to be mutually recognised, and this is facilitated by the ECU credits system.

However, in reality:

1. you won't only work for FR companies
2. agencies/companies are entitled to decide what is/not an acceptable qualification, irrespective of whether it is recognised in a country or not


The IOL is a fast-track qualification that is quite widely recognised. Doing a Master's is also good, even though it's no guarantee of getting work, no more than the IOL.


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:56
Member (2004)
German to English
IOL Dec 21, 2006

I agree with the other comments. The IoL Diploma is much more efficient in terms of investment in versus benefits after. You can start earning money whilst doing the distance learning course and is widely recognised aroundthe world.
Hope that helps.
Gillian


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:56
French to English
+ ...
As much practice as possible Dec 21, 2006

The result you want is to get lots of practice in translation and to make sure you are good at it, before launching yourself onto the market - an MA won't necessarily give you more of this than a course leading to the IoL Diploma would. The DipTrans is a fairly rigorous test (the pass rate is much lower than for most MAs) and, as Gillian says, is widely recognised.

Best of luck, and happy Christmas!

[Edited at 2006-12-21 12:17]


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Veronica Coquard
France
Local time: 20:56
French to English
I agree with Terry Dec 21, 2006

Terry Richards wrote:

...If you've lived here for 10 years you should be well aware that the French will recognise or not recognise any document they feel like recognising on any given day

However, I think a more important question is whether the MA will ever pay back the time and cost involved in getting it. Remember that the time is time you could spend on translating where you would be earning money instead of spending it.

I don't have an advanced degree and I turn work away as I don't have time to do it all. Every translator I've met is in the same situation. Maybe I could charge more if I had an advanced degree but I doubt it - nobody has ever asked me if I have one.

...I actually have two bachelors degrees, both in my subject areas ...


I recognise myself so much here, I just had to throw in my two cents' worth!

I've lived here for nearly ten years too, and also studied two fields that have, well, not much to do with translation... unless you count the fact that I had to speak darned good French to get my BTS. I still consider myself a beginner in the translation world, too (just went official at the end of November after much prolonged mulling-over of the administrative choices), so I have yet to establish a world-wide network, but I am already getting work on a local level without giving it too much effort. On the other hand, I have a full-time job, too, so I'm not dependant on my translation work to live.

Like many newbies, I have a wonderful mentor (30 years' experience in French-to-German and a member of this site) who shared the following information with me: she doesn't remember ever having a problem getting work, whereas the only degree she has ever acquired is a simple French BTS in secretarial work. Her professional experience, linguistic abilities and businesss prowess spoke for themselves, and her translation reputation went from there. I don't want to make it sound easy: she works sixteen-hour days and has an associative and political career to boot.

However, I am of like mind with Terry. I think that degrees in translation, like in so many other lines of work in the private sector, are little more than superfluous when it comes to getting hired. You will have to prove your abilities in the beginning, with or without a French degree.

In any case, I wish you the best of luck, and hope to come across you again.

As for Terry, if you are overwhelmed with work, I'd be glad to help out!


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Caro L
Local time: 20:56
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Dec 22, 2006

Thanks everyone, for your very useful opinions.

This forum has certainly given me much food for thought, and I shall be spending the Christmas and New Year holidays mulling it over, and doing lots of translation practice, of course!

I'm actually doing a "Bilan de Compétences" (careers advice based skills assessment) at the moment to investigate future career possiblities, and as part of this need to do some surveys with freelance translators. This is probably very cheeky, but is there anyone out there based in France who would be willing for me to ask them a few questions about their work and how they started out? It could be done by phone or e-mail.

I wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy and profitable New Year!


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 20:56
French to English
+ ...
A bit surprised Dec 22, 2006

I'm a bit surprised how many people agreed with me

I expected my statements would be a bit more controversial than that

I think Inkling raised a good point, I have a mentor too and she has been *far* more valuable to me than any paper qualification.

Happy holidays to all,

Terry.


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