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Poll: In your country, is translation considered one of the most respectable fields of study?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

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Local time: 04:21
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Apr 13, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "In your country, is translation considered one of the most respectable fields of study?".

This poll was originally submitted by samah A. fattah. View the poll results »



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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:21
Member (2008)
English to Italian
no Apr 13, 2016

No. In Italy translation is something "cool" for a young man/woman... just like a hobby that allows you to go to the pub and get some pints.
Field of study? Do you have to study to become a translator? you know a bit of a language, you went abroad when you were 15 and BUM! you are a translator.

Definitely not in Italy.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Snap! Apr 13, 2016

Gianluca Marras wrote:

No. In Italy translation is something "cool" for a young man/woman... just like a hobby that allows you to go to the pub and get some pints.
Field of study? Do you have to study to become a translator? you know a bit of a language, you went abroad when you were 15 and BUM! you are a translator.

Definitely not in Italy.


Ditto in the UK


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Apr 13, 2016

I can't speak for my country, which is full of halfwits and run by thieving hypocrites, but only for myself. My perception is that people who know me respect and value my work, and in general appreciate the value of translation.

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Justin Peterson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:21
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
Almost unheard of Apr 13, 2016

Translation, as a field of study, is almost unknown in the US. Few universities even offer studies in the field.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:21
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Hmm, yes and no Apr 13, 2016

A typical conversation in the world of this intrepid translator. Read on...

"Oh, you're a translator then?" asks the unsuspecting wannabe translator.
"Yep. Been doing it 30+ years, my little Chickadee." says he glowing with confidence.
"So, you translate literature then?" says she dewy-eyed, just waiting for the moment to be taken off her feet gently wrapped in his strong, reassuring arms.
"Well, not exactly. I'm a tech translator. I translate manuals for industry. Industrial automation, automobiles, industrial robots, and stuff like that. It's really interesting, you know. Would you like to hold hands with me as we watch a machining center cut an engine block amidst a sunset of splashing lubricating oil?" He purrs with the glint of hope in his eyes.

So far so good.

"Oh, dear!" She lets out abruptly and with obvious disappoint. "I just remembered I have an appointment for a lobotomy. Toodle-oo." This is followed by a deathly silence as she skips gleefully into the dark of night, never to return again.
He sighs deeply yet again as he reaches for the nearest bottle to find solace in a slug of cheap gin.

Excerpt from "The Trials and Tribulations of a Disrespected and Downtrodden Translator"

To be continued ...

So, the answer is "No"
And, judging from the trend of ever downward spiraling rates, a resounding "No!"


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:21
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Apr 13, 2016

In the US, when I tell people I'm a translator, they seem to respect the profession, though most of them have no idea what it entails.

But that wasn't really the question, was it?

As a field of study? In the academic world, where I worked for many years, translation studies are sort of an afterthought, not even a step-child. Except in the few schools that offer a degree in translation, the courses are given by adjunct faculty (who get little money and no respect) or else by regular faculty who teach literature or linguistics but have no hands-on experience. ("Hands-on" is a dirty word in academia.) Furthermore. it's assumed that one semester is enough to "learn the ropes" if the student is bilingual.


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Elizabeth Joy Pitt de Morales  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:21
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
You've said... Apr 13, 2016

the first part so much more politely than I would have, so I think I'll just agree with it all and add nothing more.


neilmac wrote:

I can't speak for my country, which is full of halfwits and run by thieving hypocrites, but only for myself. My perception is that people who know me respect and value my work, and in general appreciate the value of translation.


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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:21
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
No, Apr 13, 2016

and this leading question could not have come from the part of the world where I live.

When I was a student, the option of translation studies or the like did not exist, and even today only very few schools offer such courses.

I don't think a lot of young people are interested in this field, but that does not mean it is not respected.
If fact, when I tell people I am translator specializing in medicine and law they think I am a real brainy


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Francesca Grandinetti
Italy
Local time: 13:21
German to Italian
+ ...
Same Apr 13, 2016

neilmac wrote:

I can't speak for my country, which is full of halfwits and run by thieving hypocrites, but only for myself. My perception is that people who know me respect and value my work, and in general appreciate the value of translation.


Ditto.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 12:21
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No Apr 13, 2016

In Portugal (and in Belgium, a country I know quite well) the status of translation as a field of study has been improving over the years but it hasn’t the same standing as medicine, law, engineering or architecture…

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:21
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
No Apr 13, 2016

But some languages attract more respect than others, not always for valid reasons. When I tell someone I translate from Russian, they reply "Gosh, that must be a terribly difficult language". But they only think this because of the Cyrillic alphabet. Actually it took me about a week to learn that, and from then on it's much like any language, with its own difficult and easy aspects, but the only way I'd say it is harder than French or German is that there are not so many recognizable words in it (there are still quite a few though).

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Rocio Barrientos  Identity Verified
Bolivia
Local time: 08:21
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Please I would like to hear from the "yes" colleagues.... Apr 13, 2016

and where they are from... in order to consider moving

(just kidding)


Have a wonderful day



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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:21
Member
Italian to English
Surprised at all the negativity Apr 13, 2016

To be honest I'm surprised at all the negativity. No-one is going to respect our profession if we don't respect it ourselves. I've had nothing but positive reactions from others.

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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:21
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
No! Apr 13, 2016

The typical parents' line is "He/she is no good at numbers, so he/she could study languages". BTW, I think that translation as a field of study is nonsense. You just need a special mindset to be a translator, and to become one, it is more useful to study a field in which you will translate.

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