is grad school the way to go? confused student.
Thread poster: christinekang

South Korea
Jan 28, 2015

I am currently majoring (undergrad) in Translation and Interpretation in a fairly okay university in South Korea. I am debating weather I should go back to the states (I am an American citizen) for grad school to continue in translation and interpretation or if i should just start work.

Would it be better to go to Grad school? Or would going straigh into the work field a better option?

I would like to add that the area of translation I would love to go into is the field of film/movie translation.

Also I am at a native English level near native Spanish, Korean, and Portugese level.

[Edited at 2015-01-28 12:27 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-01-28 12:47 GMT]


ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:16
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Graduate School Jan 28, 2015

I believe this is an excellent question. I would definitely go to graduate school first before starting to work. Graduate school is a specialization. The key point here is to choose a field that you would really like to study. It is not a matter of which field is popular or which field makes more money at all. It is only a matter of which field is your strength.

I have an engineering background. I did my undergraduate in Turkey, and my graduate in the States. If I had a chance to do it all over again, I would not change a thing. I would still go to graduate school, and I would do it in the States. Graduate school gives you a perspective that you would not gain by working. Therefore, you should go for it.

People might tell you that you can always go to graduate school later on if you decide you need it. Well, not quite true. The reason is that you would have to adapt to a whole new environment all over again, and this is not easy. The time is now. You do not want to regret it later on. I say that graduate school is the way to go. Best of luck.


LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:16
Russian to English
+ ...
Well, there are not too many translation or interpreting graduate degree programs Jan 28, 2015

in the US. The schools are quite expensive, but you could always get a scholarship or a loan if you are a US citizen. I would definitely go to graduate school, but not necessarily in the translation, not to mention interpreting, field. Linguistics, literature, economy, computer science, film.

[Edited at 2015-01-28 09:25 GMT]


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:16
Member (2007)
+ ...
Translating or Interpreting? Jan 28, 2015

christinekang wrote:
I am currently majoring (undergrad) in Translation and Interpretation in a fairly okay university in South Korea. I am debating weather I should go back to the states (I am an american citizen) for grad school to continue in translation and interpretation or if i should just start work.

Which do you aim to go into in the long run? That's one decision you really need to take now. I think it would be (relatively) pointless to carry on doing exactly what you're doing now, but at a higher level. I don't know anything about interpreting (apart from a few very stressful hours before I decided it really wasn't for me) but I wouldn't have thought you'd need further specific translation education. I suspect that would be flogging a dead horse, though you may want well to continue studying your source language - that can never be anything other than a work in progress.

But, assuming you want to go into translating (as that's what I know about), what can you offer clients? Don't do courses just for the piece of paper and the line in your CV - they aren't THAT important as a translator, though they can make the early years easier. You should be studying to provide extra value for your potential clients, and what they need is skills and expertise, not bits of paper. Clearly you have the knowledge of how to do the job, though you may still be lacking in entrepreneurial skills if your course is very theoretical, so maybe that's something to study, briefly.

What would your specialisations be? Maybe they aren't so important in your language pair(s) as in French to English, but I suspect it will still be very important for you to specialise if you're ever going to command high rates and have a real career, as opposed to getting some jobs. Maybe you should study whatever subject interests you most, as Atil suggests, in either or both languages. I don't really know, but I suspect that doing that in your source language might be best, as you may find it far easier to research equivalent terms in English, based on the amount of material available online.

As to where you should study, I think that's down to you and your future plans, and where the best course is to be found. If you aren't really keen to study more at the moment, perhaps you should see if you can make a go of it as a generalist, planning to specialise as you go. It may not be the best way to go, but it might work for you.


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