Poll: How well does the educational system where you live prepare students to practice translation?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:22
Oct 3, 2017

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How well does the educational system where you live prepare students to practice translation?".

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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:22
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Other Oct 3, 2017

Why should they?


Teresa Borges
Local time: 04:22
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Adequately Oct 3, 2017

Adequately, as far as theory goes, but where theory meets practice, huge gaps appear regarding entrepreneurship, time management, marketing, customer relationships, etc., as with other courses...

[Edited at 2017-10-03 10:19 GMT]


mona elshazly  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:22
Member (2016)
Italian to Arabic
+ ...

Posted via
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A huge gap Oct 3, 2017

There is huge gap between translation efucational system and market requirements


Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:22
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I'd be surprised ... Oct 3, 2017

... if the education system in Cornwall (where I live) offered studies aimed specifcally at translation as opposed to general courses in modern languages. I'm not really sure what the poll means - higher education? secondary education? locally or nationally?


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:22
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Terribly Oct 3, 2017

I said "not very well," but in fact the system is terrible in the US. I'm out of date on the specifics, but I think it's fair to say that most of the schools that offer training in translation only offer a brief course. There just a few full-time programs.

At Georgetown University, where I taught for many years, the certificate in translation was awarded after only two semesters and the class only met twice a week for 2 hours. The bar for admission was very low. If the students got decent grades, they were entitled to the certificate, but I cringed to think how they would perform on the market. They had multiple problems.

On the other hand, simultaneous interpretation was a full-time program at Georgetown and tough to get into. When I had any of those students in my written translation classes, they were 1000% better. Most of the simultaneous students had learned their foreign languages because of a family situation or foreign residence--not through the school system.


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
I don't know Oct 3, 2017

However, based on my experience of the education area in general in Spain, I imagine it leaves quite a lot to be desired. I'm also pretty sure that Spanish translation courses are trying to prepare their students to translate into English (and possibly other languages, but English is the main gripe for me) instead of concentrating into translation into their L1. This is intrusion and market busting, and I take a dim view of it. I'm not denying that there are some capable translators out there who can translate into their L2 or L3, under certain conditions, but in general I believe that translators should stick to their mother tongue, or whatever language of which they have an appropriate, i.e. near native level command.

I translate and revise/post edit quite a lot of academic papers - mostly by university lecturers or researchers rather than students - and I'd say that the majority of them have grammar, syntax and organisational problems that wouldn't have passed muster when I was at university.

[Edited at 2017-10-03 14:54 GMT]


alexgochenour  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:22
Chinese to English
+ ...
Not just translation Oct 3, 2017

My experience is that writing and language in general are simply not a priority in America's education system. Neither, in fact, is education of any sort. But we have great football and basketball coaches!


Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:22
Member (2004)
English to French
Not well at all Oct 3, 2017

I went to University of Montreal and the focus was on theory, not practice, which is what we needed. This was back in the late nineties. The university would not listen to the students who complained years after years about useless and incompetent teachers (one in particular) who never got fired. Luckily, I found a job as a junior translator before I graduated and benefited from the guidance of seasoned translators. But with my "academic training" only, I would have failed miserably.


Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:22
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Deteriorating Oct 3, 2017

I am quite happy with the education I received, but languages seem to be falling by the wayside in the UK education system at the moment. Schools are reducing the number of languages on offer, and long-established university departments are closing at an alarming rate.


Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:22
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Terribly Oct 4, 2017

The language and translations courses in Brazil are generally lousy. I'm repeatedly surprised with the poor level and worse knowledge of both Portuguese and the foreign language the students are able to acquire after years in college. Absolutely not sufficient to become a good translator.
To make things worse, the new-generation teachers in college are now teaching the students that the language is a live organism that changes every day, that we should accept everything that is spoken by large groups as correct and acceptable, and that there are no rules and grammar is a waste of time. So there is not much hope until the outcomes of this unfortunate fashion appear and people regret it severely and start teaching the due language rules and skills again.

[Edited at 2017-10-04 01:50 GMT]


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Poll: How well does the educational system where you live prepare students to practice translation?

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