Translation MA into 2nd language
Thread poster: grahamperra
grahamperra
Canada
Local time: 15:13
Mar 14

Hi,

I'm Canadian, currently completing a certificate in translation at McGill University. I am looking for a suitable professional master's in translation that is accessible cost-wise. I would like to do a master's in English, French and Spanish.

My mother tongue is English, but I speak french with perfect fluency. Given that there is no program in Canada that offers a trilingual master's degree, I am looking to the other side of the Atlantic. Unfortunately, I don't have EU citizenship and studying in either the UK or Ireland as an international student is not financially possible for me. However, studying in France or Belgium would be affordable. Given that the master's programs are all based on translation into French, I would not be Learning to translate into my mother tongue.

Could anyone tell me if this would be really unadvisable or if it doesn't matter as long as I learn to master the techniques.

Thanks,


Graham


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Mair A-W (PhD)
Germany
Local time: 21:13
Member (2016)
French to English
+ ...
not really a problem Mar 15

I am studying an MA with a UK university and there are certainly a number of students on my course who will not ultimately be translating into English.

My impression is that, as they will be translating out of English, they will see mostly the same techniques and issues raised. General issues like ethics, glossary software, etc. are universally applicable anyway. Textbooks and papers are available in a variety of languages and many of the practice exercises can be worked in either direction.

However, most of the assessed work and essays must be in/into English or the assessors are not able to judge it; there is inevitably some non-native flavour in this work which means they may find it harder to get top marks, if this is something which concerns you.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:13
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Would it not be better to just study one into-English pair? Mar 15

Mair A-W (PhD) wrote:
However, most of the assessed work and essays must be in/into English or the assessors are not able to judge it; there is inevitably some non-native flavour in this work which means they may find it harder to get top marks, if this is something which concerns you.

I'd have thought that would be an important consideration for most people, though.

My impression is that, as they will be translating out of English, they will see mostly the same techniques and issues raised. General issues like ethics, glossary software, etc. are universally applicable anyway. Textbooks and papers are available in a variety of languages and many of the practice exercises can be worked in either direction.

You're doing two languages into English: how much of an advantage do you see in doing that? If you'd chosen to only study the French-to-English pair, would that have adversely affected your ability to translate from German? Would you have been able to transfer the skills and knowledge to your other pair, or would you have been left floundering?

I'm just wondering whether Graham wouldn't be better off studying French to English in Canada (or Spanish to English is that's offered), rather than spending time and money learning how to translate from Spanish to French - both of which are foreign languages.


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Mair A-W (PhD)
Germany
Local time: 21:13
Member (2016)
French to English
+ ...
two for the price of one Mar 15

I translate from French and German because I studied both languages at degree level, have lived in France and now live in Germany. I started off in France and was translating more French, however as I'm settled in Germany (Brexit permitting...) I hope to focus increasingly on German - although I would hate to forget my French.

The MA I am doing doesn't really specify which or how many languages you study into English. Each exercise is offered in various language versions (or you find your own sources, for some). There are specialised modules for specific languages. Some people select two of these modules (e.g. Specialised German and then later Specialised French) but there are other modules you could choose from instead (subtitling, CAT tools, etc).

As I wish to focus more on German, I am currently doing the German-specific module (this covers some strategies for handling particularities of German sentence structure, modal particles, etc, as well as reinforcing what we are learning in general about translation strategies) and always select the German exercises for my other modules.

I don't know what is on offer for the course the original asker is considering. If they wish to translate from two languages, specialised modules like the one I just described could possibly be helpful. In terms of your question about translating skills and knowledge, I think a better way to look at it would be that five-sixths of the course is focused on general ideas and strategies, while the specialised modules can help look at particular language-specific issues and strategies.

Regarding the marks, fluent non-native writing can surely achieve a "good" mark, just not "excellent". It might depend if the OP cares about being able to put "MA: Distinction" on a CV. Just having an MA would mostly achieve the effect, I would think.


[Edited at 2017-03-15 14:40 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:13
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Thanks for that info Mar 15

Mair A-W (PhD) wrote:
The MA I am doing doesn't really specify which or how many languages you study into English. Each exercise is offered in various language versions (or you find your own sources, for some). There are specialised modules for specific languages. Some people select two of these modules (e.g. Specialised German and then later Specialised French) but there are other modules you could choose from instead (subtitling, CAT tools, etc).

That sounds interesting. Something I could usefully have done when I first started translating. I'm in my 60s now though, so I think this belongs in the "useful information, plus maybe a recommendation for others" folder. Thanks.


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grahamperra
Canada
Local time: 15:13
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Mar 16

Thank you both for your answers. I'm trying to get as many points of view as I can, so all opinions are welcome.

Currently, I have applied to the University of Ottawa (French to English but some Spanish courses as well).
I am also looking at the Following programs in Europe, which would be more interesting for the type of specialization I want to pursue:

Université catholique de Louvain, Université libre de Bruxelles and Université Lyon 3 (all English/Spanish into French).

I do speak French with perfect fluency. I have already done a bachelor's degree in international relations at the Université de Montréal so I certainly would be more than capable of doing one of these programs. My question was more on the lines of whether or not it would be a good move from a professional development standpoint.

Currently, I am already doing a certificate in French-English translation at McGill University in Montréal. What I also have noticed is that many of the things I learn in my French-English course are useful for English-French and vice-versa because I often remember the concepts and then simply do the reverse operation when translating in the other direction. For this reason, I can see why it would not necessarily be useless to learn to translate into your second language.


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Translation MA into 2nd language

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