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Master's in USA
Thread poster: claudiazan
English to Italian
+ ...
Aug 19, 2004

from a professional point of view which kind of Master's would be suitable for a translator? A Master's in English Literature or a Master's in Comparative Language? Please tell me about your own experience as translators with a Master's.

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Sara Freitas
Local time: 15:10
French to English
I think it depends on your prior experience/degrees... Aug 19, 2004

Dear Claudia,

I have a B.A. in French and an M.A. in English Language and Linguistics from a U.S. university. I don't think the M.A. alone would necessarily hold up as a good translating qualification. However, the combination of the two degrees, study abroad in France, my work experience, and living in other countries have served me well so far as a French to English translator.

Having said that, I was recently looking into some online certificate coursework to round out my training, especially regarding more practical translation issues. Lifelong learning is also important even after you finish your degree!

I think you need to examine why you would like to earn a Master's degree in the first place and go from there. I was originally trained as a language teacher, but at the time it was important to me to have the Master's in an "academic" field that was of personal interest to me and to do the professional qualification separately, which is why I did not do, for example, an M.Ed. degree at the time.

Is there a field you would like to specialize in? If so, you might consider an advanced degree in that area and then seek a separate professional qualification later.

There are many ways to go about it and I am sure that our colleagues will have their own stories to share on the matter. I think the important thing is to examine your motivations (direct access to the profession vs. personal enrichment, etc.) and then establish short-term and long-term plans to help you reach your goals.

Good luck!


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:10
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
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It also depends on where you're going Aug 19, 2004

which is a question only you can answer.

I'm personally not in favor of "contorting the future" in the sense of getting people to commit themselves to something that might tend to paint them into a corner instead of broadening their horizons.

As you probably have already noticed, anyway, specialized Translation and Interpretation courses in the US are rare. A great deal of our American members are language and literature majors or linguistics post-grads, but that's no reason to bar a Master's degree holder in law from translating.

Combinations in educational background are really very variable. This is a bit like choosing a life partner. What discipline would you rather wake up in the morning with that will keep a smile on your face and your creative juices flowing? The reason I ask this question is, you'll probably stand a better chance holding on in a field you like than staying in a field you chose because of professional constraints.

Another thing to watch out for (and often a great source of gratification) are the possibilities of integrating translation-related electives into that field, given that it is something that holds your interest.

[Edited at 2004-08-19 12:46]

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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:10
English to Russian
+ ...
Check Monterey School of Translation Aug 19, 2004

I put the name of the school from memory, but you can easily find it through Google. I believe they offer MA in translation.

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Carley Hydusik  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:10
Russian to English
+ ...
Could it be Europe? Aug 19, 2004

I would highly recommend a translation program as opposed to Comparative Literature or English unless you want to be a literary translator. If you want to work as a translator, most of the things you will wind up translating will be technical (even if they are not in the traditionally "technical" sense, i.e. science and technology. It could be law, finance, advertising... all of these things are highly specific with their own special "sub-languages".) Translation degree programs teach you how to deal with such specific texts and how to approach all kinds of different texts.

The problem is if you have to have a course in the US. The Monterey Institute of International Studies does not offer Italian. I did some searching and I didn't find any full translation programs in the US or Canada for people with mother tongue Italian. There are a few individual courses here and there. McGill University in Montreal has Italian if you can also offer French, but again, it is probably out of Italian only. NYU offers a Certificate in Translation, but again, no Italian. They do offer something called "General Translation", though. I don't know what that entails. If you want to check it out, try the link:;jsessionid=QONJ3UIFM3M3RAD0SM5SFEQ?certId=157

There are, however, quite a few in the UK (and in Italy, of course!) I found a link to many different programs in the UK. Bath, Bradford, Heriot-Watt and Westminster all seem to be highly respected.

Best wishes!

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