Translation postgraduate courses in London - opinions?
Thread poster: Przemyslaw Podmostko

Przemyslaw Podmostko  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:46
English to Polish
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Feb 29, 2008

Hi all!

This year I'm embarking to continue my studies and obtain my MA degree. I've found:

1) Westminster University - Translation and Interpreting / Bilingual Translation
2) University College London - MA in Translation Theory and Practice
3) Goldsmiths University of London - MA in Applied Linguistics: Sociocultural Approaches (I'm not sure whether they have anything more, couldn't get through by phone)
4) Imperial College London (there's a course of translation for graduates of technical faculties, which I'm not, but not sure about translation courses as such)

I'd like to know your opinion about the courses from the field of translation that are offered in London.

Also how do see the fact how these schools were rated in the Times's UK's best universities ranking for 2007 (http://extras.timesonline.co.uk/gug/gooduniversityguide.php)? Respectively: 91, 6, 52, 3.

And one more question. If you, provided you got you BA in Translation, were to go for an MA course would you:
1) Choose a course on Translation/Interpreting solely?
2) Choose a course on linguistics or cross-cultural communication or other relevant subject with elements of Translations and Interpreting in order to have broader perspective, gain more skills from neighbouring fields as well (like for example the one offered by the Goldsmiths)?

Thank you very much in advance for any input!

Przemyslaw Podmostko


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tom_michell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:46
Spanish to English
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Times ratings not particularly relevant to translation Feb 29, 2008

Przemyslaw Podmostko wrote:

Also how do see the fact how these schools were rated in the Times's UK's best universities ranking for 2007 (http://extras.timesonline.co.uk/gug/gooduniversityguide.php)? Respectively: 91, 6, 52, 3.



I wouldn't read too much into this guide when looking at a translation postgrad course. It assesses the universities as a whole across the full range of their activity, from undergraduate courses to research. UCL and Imperial are major universities and far bigger organisations than, for example, Westminster so will do better in overall rankings.

Smaller universities cannot match their quality across the board, however they do tend to have niches in which they are highly regarded. Imperial's reputation is built on science and engineering but it does not automatically follow that their humanities courses are of the same quality. It is a question of researching the particular subject you are interested in.


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
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Swedish to English
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Difficult choice but worth it Mar 1, 2008

I know nothing about the Goldsmiths course, but I know people who have been on the Westminster course and speak well of it. I also have personal experience -- a few years ago, I did an MA in Translation Studies at UCL (similar to the one you mention) and then went on to do the Imperial M.Sc course in translation.

They are all good courses, and provides a solid foundation for working as a translator, though with the proviso that they cover what you might call the strategy, rather than the day-to-day tactics of translation. So they will give you a solid grounding in topics such as linguistics, translation theory, translation technology, revision, proofreading, creating your own website etc, but may not go into nitty-gritty detail about how to prepare an invoice.

Perhaps the single most valuable thing I got from these courses was translation practice. We had to translate short texts which were then marked by experienced professional translators. So by the end of the course you have a pretty good idea about whether your work was good enough to survive in the commercial marketplace.

In short, as a late converter to translation, I found that these courses gave my translation career a flying start.


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Przemyslaw Podmostko  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:46
English to Polish
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TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Mar 2, 2008

Both those comments are appreciated Anyone else?

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Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:46
Member (2007)
German to English
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depends on your future plans Mar 2, 2008

I don't know what your future plans are, but if you are thinking of carrying on with a PhD, I would definitely go for UCL. Professor Theo Hermans is one of the leading scholars in Translation Studies.


[Edited at 2008-03-02 23:24]

[Edited at 2008-03-02 23:25]


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Stephen Gobin
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:46
German to English
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University of Westminster Mar 4, 2008

I studied the MA "Technical and Specialised Translation" (German and French into English only) course at the University of Westminster. The course I did was extremely practical, taught by translators of long standing, and was highly representative of the kind of translation work that is out there in the big wide world. The types of text we had were broadly divided into what was called "technical" (medical, engineering, etc.) and "institutional" (contracts, EU, tourism, journalism, press releases, etc.). The great thing about doing these texts is that you are in a position to start deciding which areas appeal to you the most and would like to concentrate on in a professional capacity. The course had other modules, including one on developing professional skills for the workplace.

The course was excellent in my view and a good preparation for working life as a translator, whether in-house or freelance. If you're looking for a course with a more academic/research based bias then I don't think it would be your best choice.


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mattsmith
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:46
German to English
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I studied the course at UCL ... May 22, 2008

It is a much more academic and theoretical course than the one described above at the University of Westminster or the course at Imperial which sounds similar to Westminster. You learn all about translation theorists and share some courses with the MA comparative literature classes. There are also language classes but you have to be able to translate well into and out of your chosen language because this is what you are tested on in the final exam. When I did the UCL course 3 years ago, there was an option available which students on the UCL course were able to join at Imperial College on translation tools. From what I saw, their translation MA course had a very techy and scientific approach and focused heavily on translation technology. The quality of the teaching at UCL was high but UCL isn't such a friendly university and I thought the atmosphere on the course at Imperial was much more positive and friendly with much more socialising. At UCL, maybe it was just my year, but although the course was interesting, everyone turned up to the lectures and promptly vanished when they finished and I didn't have such a sociable time.

[Edited at 2008-05-22 14:24]


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