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Where can I train as a translator in one year?
Thread poster: Jonmays

Jonmays

German to English
Aug 24, 2012

Does anyone know where I can do a Master's in Translation or a postgraduate diploma in one year apart from the UK? I can only find two-year European Masters' courses. (I don't want to do interpreting)

My languages are English, French and German, and I am looking to start a course this autumn.

Surely the UK can't be the only country that does two-year Masters', can it?



[Edited at 2012-08-24 20:07 GMT]


 

Georgia Morgan  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:42
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
Distance learning Aug 24, 2012

Hi there
I live in Brazil and two years ago I did the distance learning preparation for the Institute of Linguists Diploma in Translation run by City University, London.
because I started late, I only did two thirds of the course, but I took the exam and got three Distinctions. In my pair, Portuguese to English, the teacher was excellent. I had very detailed, prompt feedback and do not think I would have done so well without having done the course. You don't have to physically be in the UK.
Hope this helps


 

Jonmays

German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks but... Aug 24, 2012

I'm not looking for a distance learning course. I want to do an on campus course outside the UK.

I'm glad you liked the IOL course.


 

ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 22:42
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
ProZ Membership Aug 25, 2012

This step is in addition to the formal training that you are talking about in your message.

You can join ProZ as a full member, and start using all the facilities ProZ has to offer, including KudoZ and all the others. I am sure this will serve as a practical training that will support your formal training. It will probably be worth the membership fee. I hope you consider it.


 

RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:42
German to English
Try DCU Aug 25, 2012

Dublin City University, e.g.

http://www.dcu.ie/prospective/deginfo.php?classname=MTS

Has a strong reputation, and I know/have employed several DCU translation graduates.

In other countries, MA/MSc courses do tend to be two-year courses, whatever the discipline.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
Try working Aug 25, 2012

If you already have a strong base in your language pair, I find the best way to train as a translator (as with most professions) is hands-on, by working.

 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:42
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes, I agree. The best thing would be to take small assignments Aug 25, 2012

and try to translate them really well, to the highest standards, unless you need the diploma for some reason, of course. If your knowledge of your source language is intermediate, let's say, I don't think you can train anywhere to become a good translator in a year. If you know all the languages really well, the best training comes from work. It might also be beneficial to spend a year in the country where your source language is spoken, or study even there.

 

polyglot45
English to French
+ ...
Disagree entirely Aug 25, 2012

It is all very well going over to translation when you have already had some work experience and have some knowledge of one or several specialist fields, for example, if you have studied law or economics and worked in a firm in a related capacity or if you are an engineer or scientist and have some language knowledge (preferably more than just "some"). It is quite another thing to jump in the deep end of the translation profession without this background and without specific training.
As an old hand, I can assure you that even one year of proper translation studies would give you more than a head's start on the wannabe and cowboy translators that grub round on the edges of the profession. Why do you think cheap rates and poor quality are increasingly becoming the norm?
If you are qualified via a reputable institution, you may also get help in starting out. Your teachers should help you find your first clients. You may even get to go on placements in firms or organisations and this may show you that being a staffer is the way to go, if only in the first instance. It could be a springboard to a job in prestigious circumstances. Even if you prefer freelancing, at least you will have mastered the basics and have a clearer idea of the areas on which you want to focus.
In my many years of experience, the best translators I have ever met came from one of two camps: either they had all the paper qualifications from good schools and universities (and natural abilities) or they were people who crossed over from other industries (and who had contacts that could enable them to get their first jobs).
By all means, try your hand, even just doing 'pro bono' work. But if you want to be at the top of the profession rather than just scraping around at the bottom, get trained. Contact the translators' association(s) in your countries. Talk to other people, not on a site like this that is open to anybody and everybody. Do it the proper way. You won't regret it.


 

Jonmays

German to English
TOPIC STARTER
One year Master's courses Aug 25, 2012

500 hits in twenty-four hours but can it really be that UK and Ireland are the only countries where you can do an MA in a year?

I like the Dublin idea, and thanks for the other suggestions.

I am ready to go abroad, as it's a long-term ambition to leave the sunny UK behind forever, so maybe I will just do another course in my chosen country to help me integrate a bit, and a UK based translation correspondence MA.

I would like to know why the UK seems to have shorter degrees than other countries in general, and yet we have such a strong academic reputation. Why does everyone else take 2 years to do an MA and what are English students missing?!


 

xxxchristela
Agree with polyglot Aug 25, 2012

And maybe this can help you:
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation/programmes/emt/universities/index_en.htm

then visit the websites.

Fyi, it took me five years (3 for the BA program, then 2 for MA, translation only, interpreting was not included).


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 03:42
Chinese to English
Not such a strong reputation Aug 26, 2012

UK MAs are not accepted by many institutions overseas. I'm not sure a Brit MA will get you anywhere in the US university system, for example. They're just a different kind of course to what you get overseas - or at least, they were. Now they're often just shorter versions of the same.

 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:42
Russian to English
+ ...
Hi Jonmays. Aug 26, 2012

Jonmays wrote:

500 hits in twenty-four hours but can it really be that UK and Ireland are the only countries where you can do an MA in a year?

I like the Dublin idea, and thanks for the other suggestions.

I am ready to go abroad, as it's a long-term ambition to leave the sunny UK behind forever, so maybe I will just do another course in my chosen country to help me integrate a bit, and a UK based translation correspondence MA.

I would like to know why the UK seems to have shorter degrees than other countries in general, and yet we have such a strong academic reputation. Why does everyone else take 2 years to do an MA and what are English students missing?!



Why would you want a shorter degree -- it is not the degree that really matters in the long run, but the instruction you get at the university -- the longer the better. Also, if you are translating from German into English you should either study in a German-speaking country or in the UK, unless you want to write in AE, you can come to the US, but there aren't that many strictly translation degrees here -- mostly some other degrees related to linguistics.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Qualifications in your specialisations are important, too Aug 26, 2012

Jonmays wrote:
I am ready to go abroad, as it's a long-term ambition to leave the sunny UK behind forever, so maybe I will just do another course in my chosen country to help me integrate a bit, and a UK based translation correspondence MA.

I think that might be a much better bet for you than spending another year in the UK. A qualification in your specialisation field(s) in French or German, coupled with "living the life" of a foreign culture, would be very useful. As you say, you can do a distance-learning MA.

I would like to know why the UK seems to have shorter degrees than other countries in general, and yet we have such a strong academic reputation. Why does everyone else take 2 years to do an MA and what are English students missing?!

I'm not sure, but I believe these courses are very intensive and highly practical. You are bound to miss out on some of the theoretical discussion, so it depends on how important you see that. Personally, I was disgusted with my son's French university, where he spent one year with about 15 hours of highly theoretical lectures per week, some "recommended reading" and absolutely no practical training in anything relating to physics for engineers. A complete waste of a year.


 

nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:42
English to French
+ ...
Bologna process on higher education Aug 26, 2012

See http://www.enqa.eu/bologna_overview.lasso

European countries have decided to harmonise their various university degrees, as a result a European MA/MS is now a 2-year cursus, with a system of credits for the examination. To some extent (depending on subjects and avaibility) you can do a semester in one country and the next semester in another country.

Some universities still have their own "old" version of their traditionnal degrees (diplomas, certificates, DESS in France, etc. ), but these have no recognition or equivalent rating in other countries.
It is important if you decide to go furtherwith another university, for a Phd for instance.

I completely agree with polyglot45. You need a very serious background to make a good living as a translator.

Forget about starting a course THIS autumn. You have to register with the university before July, at least in France.

[Edited at 2012-08-26 10:11 GMT]


 

RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:42
German to English
Better than no postgrad study! Aug 26, 2012

I agree entirely with polyglot45 that, if you don't have postgraduate qualifications and real-life experience from a subject area, then even a one-year translation MA is probably going to help you. I myself studied something different at postrgraduate level and then worked in that area for some time before moving into translation, and I really don't think I've missed not having a translation degree - it certainly hasn't stopped me getting right to the pinnacle of the profession.

But, if you basically want to go straight from university to working as a translator, then I think you have two alternatives: 1) get a translation MA; 2) learn on-the-job with a translation company that is willing to train you in the fundamentals (we're currently doing this ourselves for somebody with a BA in translation/applied languages).

As far as the degree itself is concerned, the UK/Irish one-year MAs certainly tend to be lighter on the theory than their continental European counterparts, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Probably a majority of translation degree courses in the DACH countries are, in my experience, pretty crap in any case, and it's simply not possible to argue that two years produce a better result than one year (the "Bologna" process relates to the equivalence of qualifications, incidentally, not the length of study).

Then there are specialised one-year MA courses, such as the MA in Legal Translation at City University in London (which I teach part of myself). This course is "blended learning", i.e. a mixture of distance and campus learning. But it's also pretty difficult for candidates to secure a place if all they have is a BA.

One bit of warning about studying in e.g. one of the DACH countries: if you study for a translation MA here, you'll also spend a lot of your time learning (and being examined on) translation into what is your foreign language, but most of the student's native language (i.e. German). Unfortunately, our experience at least shows that native English speakers who study translation at German universities tend to be pretty mediocre at translating into both their native language and their foreign language. A similar situation to e.g. Geneva, where I understand there's a separate track for English native speakers (as opposed to the French native speakers), does not, I think, exist at any of the German-speaking universities.

Feel free to write to me privately if you want to discuss this further.

Robin

[Edited at 2012-08-26 12:57 GMT]


 
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