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Poll: Do you think that the translator teaching/training in your country is good?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Sep 12, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you think that the translator teaching/training in your country is good?".

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Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:30
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Don't know... Sep 12, 2014

I wouldn't really know, having rolled into translation from a previous career, with some training in the UK but none in my own country (The Netherlands).

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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 12:30
Turkish to English
+ ...
Other Sep 12, 2014

As somebody who is essentially a self taught translator (apart from the time I spent studying foreign languages at secondary school in the 1970's when this was very much translation based) I do not know.

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Elizabeth Joy Pitt de Morales  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:30
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
From what i've seen so far... Sep 12, 2014

...the translator training program at the Universidad de Málaga where my son is beginning his studies in a couple of weeks seems to have been well thought out.

Since I came into translation as a linguist, I'm looking forward to having the chance to read some of the assigned texts to see what new things I can learn.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Sep 12, 2014

Self-taught, so I don't know. Nevertheless, I assume it will be focused on CAT and technological aspects and I do know that many Spanish speakers are translating into English, which I don't really approve of.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 10:30
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Sep 12, 2014

I have no idea as I have been living abroad for almost 30 years. I presume that, as with a lot of other university courses, some are very good, while others are very bad. I must say however that I had the great pleasure of working with two excellent young translators who had recently graduated from Portuguese universities (Lisbon and Oporto).

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:30
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Sep 12, 2014

I used to be familiar with the schools in the United States, but I'm out of date.

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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:30
English to Polish
Other Sep 12, 2014

I have no idea.

But if it's like many other uni courses, then it probably doesn't prepare for the practical side of the profession, just theory. It is, however, just a guess.


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Carmen Swanwick-Roa  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:30
Member (2014)
Spanish to English
+ ...
To an extent Sep 12, 2014

I graduated from my MA in translation studies last year. We focused a lot on CAT, not just CAT tools but MT, speech recognition tools and other technology which could help a freelancer in their work. We even did mock projects, with one student acting as PM and the others acting as translators, preparing invoices, POs, sending Trados packages and so on. It was great to see the practical side of translation and it made the real-world workflow appear much less daunting.

In my opinion there was a bit too much emphasis on translation theory. While this was interesting and useful for the purposes of seeing translation and language from different perspectives, I felt that this time could have been better used actually translating and getting feedback on the quality of our work.

Although we had a lot of speakers come in and tell us about the translation industry and their role within it, most of my cohort felt like we didn't really know how to break into the industry and in which areas we should specialise. (Although it does like this is a general concern of new translators and graduates worldwide.)

I thoroughly enjoyed my MA and have no doubt that my translation skills improved immensely because of it. It prepared me for real-world translation processes to an extent, although we didn't really learn how to actually get the work in the first place. I don't think translation courses can be said to be fully successful until they produce good translators who are completely ready to enter the industry, which a lot of us were not.

I think it would be really helpful to have a sort of mentoring system, pairing up newbie translators with experienced translators working in the same language pairs. It would be good for the industry as a whole to have fewer confused newbies floating around offering tiny rates just to get any work at all, like a lot of translation graduates at the beginning of their career.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:30
Russian to English
+ ...
It's very hard to teach translation and interpreting per se Sep 12, 2014

How do you teach it? It is not the type of thing you could really TEACH, perhaps just help people with certain problems they might encounter in the profession. It is not like cooking, tool making, baking, cleaning, operating a computer--etc. It is more like writing and painting.

There are some courses in the US, but not too many. There are many very interesting seminars here, though. Seminars are really more suitable for translators, than courses, in my opinion.

[Edited at 2014-09-12 10:44 GMT]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
My thoughts too Sep 12, 2014

M. Anna Kańduła wrote:

I have no idea.

But if it's like many other uni courses, then it probably doesn't prepare for the practical side of the profession, just theory. It is, however, just a guess.


I don't care how good a young translator's training is, if they have no experience in another professional field, they're not truly equipped to face the challenges of real world translating.

A degree (and some practical experience) in some other field such as medicine, manufacturing, marketing, political science, etc., etc., etc. should be a prerequisite to earning a degree in translation. Otherwise, all they have is a degree or training to do guesswork.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 19:30
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
In Japan? Sep 12, 2014

I have no idea. Is there such a thing?

I would suggest trial by fire? After 30+ years I can say that I was able to tread the coals without any burns, but I get burned by some dubious customers occasionally.


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Gallagy
Ireland
Local time: 10:30
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
yes, to a point Sep 12, 2014

I have personal experience as I returned to university in 2008 to complete a MA in Translation.

In general I agree with many of the points raised by Carmen.

The course (EU-approved) was very good, broken into different modules such as terminology/corpus linguistics/writing skills+ grammar/technology/history/subtitling/localisation/theory and we had tutorial groups in our own language pairs (where everyone was encouraged to work ONLY into their mother tongue) in different fields such as medical/finance/general though the literary French>English that I thoroughly enjoyed was being dropped after that year ("since there is so little work in literary translation"). We had many assignments and projects to do in all these modules along with a final dissertation.

Personally, I thought there was too much emphasis on Theory (including having to earn at least 60% on the Theory thesis to be allowed continue for the MA) and would have preferred more time spent on practical issues. (like how to GET work and rates etc)
But, overall, it was very worthwhile. The majority on the course were recent language graduates, mostly from Ireland/UK/France/Spain/Germany with one each from Romania/Martinique. However, there were also some of us who had been around the block a few times and had done lots of other things.

I know that some of those on the course with me didn't make enough money freelancing so have gone into teaching instead. Some are working as in-house translators, including for major multi-nationals or working in business using language skills in a more general way. Two Germans are project managers. Some continued in academia working towards a Ph.D. Two went on to work for the EU and to my knowledge only three or four of us are actually working as freelancers.


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Hege Jakobsen Lepri  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:30
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Other... Sep 12, 2014

... still trying to figure out what "my country" means in this context.

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Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:30
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Slid into translation from teaching Sep 12, 2014

Never took a translation course at university.
Looked at some online courses, which tended to be heavy on theory and short on practice.

Otherwise, I have no idea how translation is taught here or anywhere.

I would like to point out that since colleges/universities vary so widely in the US that even if I had an opinion on colleges in my state, I would not extrapolate that data to apply to the entire country.


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