TSM Master’s Programme – A Judicious Balance between Academic Knowledge and Practical Skills

Today’s guest post, the last one in 2015, and the 11th in the ongoing MA review series, is by Nicolas Montagne on the Master’s programme traduction spécialisée multilingue : technologies et gestion de projets at Université de Lille 3.

If you completed your MA relatively recently and would like to write a review for this blog of your course and how it has shaped your career, you’ll find more information and a complete list of all past guest posts here.

TSMThe TSM Master’s programme was created about 10 years ago in Lille in northern France. Even though it is quite new in the French academic landscape, this dynamic programme has gradually been making a name for itself.

Some words about my background: after a one-year Erasmus exchange in Germany during which I completed a bachelor’s degree in applied languages, I moved back to France.

I had always loved reading and writing, and I was very keen on foreign languages so I knew I wanted to study linguistics and translation. However, after an unfortunate experience in Lyon partly due to health issues, I did not know where I wanted to continue studying or what programme would suit me. I was a bit “lost in translation” back then…

I had kept in touch with former teachers and they told me about a translation programme in Lille which, according to them, would definitely suit me. It was a two-year selective programme focusing on academic knowledge, but also offering a very pragmatic approach to translation, localisation and project management. So why not give it a try? I eventually enrolled on the TSM Master’s programme and discovered its many aspects.

During the first year, students develop their translation skills with exercises in various fields, such as law, IT, and biology. They discover many other translation-related activities, such as video subtitling, translating video games, which is so cool, and they are also introduced to project management and to the use of corpora in the translation process. Some lecturers are involved in major research on this topic. Other classes are dedicated to more theoretical aspects of translation and linguistics: translation studies, documentary research, economics of languages in Europe, etc.

Throughout the programme, a strong emphasis is placed on acquiring IT skills: students get to know how to deal with various data formats such as html, xml, xhtml and learn to use several CAT tools— translation memory-based software—and SaaS. With IT and new technologies increasingly present in our modern working environment, I firmly think this emphasis is a real asset for students!

The second year is pretty intense, and aims to introduce students to more concrete aspects of the industry. Many courses, such as project management, localization, machine translation + post-editing, are taught by professionals with their own companies. Students keep developing their IT skills and learn how to use desktop publishing and localisation software. Several collaborative exercises, including translation projects, engage students and train them to work as a team to complete real-life projects with specific requirements: deadlines, quality assessment and interactive follow-up.

Students are required to complete internships, either in France or abroad, at the end of each year: two months or more in the first year and six months in the second.

What I especially liked about this programme is that it is not just about learning to translate. It is a rewarding and enlightening experience driven by a dynamic teaching team that regularly sets up events around translation: conferences, exhibitions, visit by the DG for Translation (the European Commission’s in-house translation service) and by the headquarters of prominent translation and localisation companies in Ireland…

Last, but not least, most students find a job immediately after graduating! I and a friend of mine from the programme had the opportunity to do our end-of-studies internship at SDL France from March to September 2015 and we were offered full-time positions, which we accepted, directly after that! We have been working there for about 3 months now.

For all these reasons, and even though there were many times when I felt discouraged and tired, I would definitely recommend this programme as I think it is a good basis for a career in the ever-growing translation industry. It is also very dear to me.

Nicolas MontagneI was born and raised in Arras, northern France. After high school, it took me some time to find my way. Back then I really liked drawing, so I first studied computer graphics. However, I soon realised this was definitely not my thing. Besides, I realised that I really missed learning foreign languages.

I had always loved reading and writing, so I eventually decided to study linguistics and enrolled in a degree in applied languages at Université de Lille 3. I completed the bachelor’s degree during an Erasmus exchange in Germany between October 2012 and August 2013. I then moved back to France to enrol in a Master’s degree in translation.

After an unfortunate experience in Lyon partly due to health issues, I came back to Lille and discovered the Master’s programme “traduction spécialisée multilingue : technologies et gestion de projets“ at Université de Lille 3. I graduated in September 2015 after a six-month internship at SDL France and accepted a full-time position as a translator.

I currently live in the Parisian suburbs. I read many novels – I love fantasy and detective stories – and I listen to the news in English, German and French as often as possible. I think interpreting (difficult as it may be) is fascinating and I wish I could someday work as an interpreter as well.

I have also started learning Chinese, not only because it is completely new to me, but also because I think Asia and most particularly China are riveting regions of the world.

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