DipTrans or MA/Msc?
Thread poster: Wiola Piotrowska

Wiola Piotrowska  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:22
English to Polish
Jul 4

Hi, I would like to work as a freelance translator English to Polish. I have worked with banking and finance translations, sight translations and interpreting (inc insurance, wealth etc) for few years working in personal and business banking roles and dealing with Polish customers. My experience also covers some freelance translations on irregular basis, for small construction companies, individual clients and texts on the DipTrans preparation course (general, and specialised: law, technology, business, science, social science, literature etc).
As mentioned, I am now on DipTrans preparation course. Reading about it, I can say it is hard to pass all 3 modules in 1 year. That's why I am now thinking about another way of obtaining an recognised official qualifications that would help me getting into the role of freelance translator as a main job:)
I have found few 1 year full time MA / MSC or PGDip programmes. Below, there is a list of those I am considering now.

My question is - which qualification is better / higher / in your opinion - MA / Msc / PGDip or Diploma in Translation?

I have already Master of Science Information (University of Warsaw).
And there are programmes I am looking at:

1 Specialised Translation (Scientific, Technical and Medical) MSc - UCL (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/centras/study/postgraduate-taught/specialised-translation-scientific-technical-medical-msc)

2 MA Translation London Metropolitan University http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/translation---ma/

3 Specialised Translation at Roehampton University https://www.roehampton.ac.uk/postgraduate-courses/specialised-translation/


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:22
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Different goals, and both needed in the long run Jul 4

To me, the DipTrans is more about proving your abilities (even if you learn things at a preparation course), whereas a MA programme would help you learn a lot, much of it in fact very useful at a DipTrans test.

I earned my DipTrans six years before I was awarded my BA in Translation, and I can say that I learned such a huge amount and variety of things I had not known during my DipTrans exam! The DipTrans you can earn by means of experience and a bit of instinct (I had been a translator for 17 years back then), while a MA in your pocket will give you a lot more as a translator.

In your situation, I would definitely go for the MA, and give the DipTrans just a try to better gauge how prepared you are for the test.


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Alicja Deluga
United Kingdom
English to Polish
I agree with the previous respondent Jul 4

Hello,

I am currently writing my MA dissertation on translation. I had one course that was supposed to prepare me for the DipTrans exam. However, all of my tutors recommended us to gain some experience and do it at least five years after finishing the degree. They also stressed that it requires the translator to be familiarized with extremely specialized vocabulary. As I am still new to the translation business, I would honestly say that most of the DipTrans texts are nothing but a nightmare. Anyway, it is an advantage to have the exam passed.
When it comes to the MA studies, I can fully recommend taking a translation programme. I believe that you will enrich your knowledge and it will be beneficial for your career. It also involves a lot of practice.

All the best and good luck!


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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:22
Member
French to English
+ ...
Depends on what you want to get out of the qualification Jul 4

Before I started out as a translator, I applied to do an MA in Translation at Leeds and was offered a place, but then a job opportunity came up and I took that instead. So instead of the MA, I decided to do the DipTrans and studied for it in my free time. I then took a second DipTrans in another language combination a few years later, once I had some freelance experience under my belt.

I don't regret my decision, as my qualifications were perfectly sufficient for the career I wanted. But since then, a lot of new masters courses have come along, and translation technology has developed a lot. The DipTrans obviously focuses on translation only, whereas a masters course can teach you a lot of other things such as specialised translation, multiple language combinations, translation technology, etc. I can't comment specifically on the courses you're interested in as I haven't done them and don't have the time now to look at the details, but I'm sure they all offer different things which might (or might not!) be valuable to you.

In terms of level, I've a feeling they're both the same (Level 7 on the NQF framework), although I haven't looked at it lately so I may be wrong there. In any case, I don't think there would be much difference in that regard.

Of course, a masters is a much bigger commitment in terms of both time and money. So I think your choice will depend on whether you just want proof of general/semi-specialised translation ability, or a qualification that also covers other aspects of the profession, and how much time and money you're willing to invest.

Whatever you decide, good luck!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:22
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Another factor to consider Jul 5

If you ever decided to go the academic route for your professional life, a MA in the UK has good chances of being recognised in the credit count you need in order to begin a career in research with other European universities and achieve a PhD in the long run.

So, again in this case, I would go for the MA as the main goal, and take de DipTrans whenever you feel confident to do it (or after your prep course). It would do no harm if, in your selection of a MA, you considered whether the MA you choose will be recognised automatically by European universities.


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Wiola Piotrowska  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:22
English to Polish
TOPIC STARTER
Alicja, can I ask where do you do your MA? Jul 5

Alicja Deluga wrote:

Hello,

I am currently writing my MA dissertation on translation. I had one course that was supposed to prepare me for the DipTrans exam. However, all of my tutors recommended us to gain some experience and do it at least five years after finishing the degree. They also stressed that it requires the translator to be familiarized with extremely specialized vocabulary. As I am still new to the translation business, I would honestly say that most of the DipTrans texts are nothing but a nightmare. Anyway, it is an advantage to have the exam passed.
When it comes to the MA studies, I can fully recommend taking a translation programme. I believe that you will enrich your knowledge and it will be beneficial for your career. It also involves a lot of practice.

All the best and good luck!


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Wiola Piotrowska  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:22
English to Polish
TOPIC STARTER
thank you for your comments Jul 5

Thank you for each comment and information - very useful and good know opinion of experienced translators

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