My name is Pierre; I graduated from the Master Traduction Spécialisée Multilingue (TSM) at Université de Lille 3 and currently work as a freelance translator from English and Russian to French.
The translation industry is unique and gathers professionals from a broad range of diverse career paths. With all its features, there is no doubt that we can describe it as a multi-faceted sector.
In this review I will show how the TSM Master’s programme at Lille focuses on this particular reality by thoroughly preparing students to enter the market right after their graduation.
The TSM Master’s Programme: an answer to the versatile translation world
In the framework of the TSM MA, students naturally learn everything about the art of translation, but they also benefit from comprehensive courses in diverse subjects, such as project management, translation memory, terminology management and localization.
Throughout the first year, students build a solid range of skills in translation that they are led to use in real-life complex translation projects during the second year of the programme. In this exercise, they are required to meet a deadline, search for specific resources, follow style guides, client’s terminology and instructions. They interact extensively with tutors and other students prior, during and after project completion just as established translators interact with clients and colleagues. Performing projects in market conditions allows students to benefit from comprehensive know-how once they start translating in the professional world.
The specificities of software and website translation are broadly tackled in the localization module. Throughout the two-year programme, students also learn how to use the main CAT tools in the market, such as SDL Trados Studio and memoQ. They become proficient in using Wordbee, a program designed for project managers and freelance translators, not to mention SDL Multiterm for terminology management. Other systems and all formats daily used by professionals in the translation industry are also scrupulously studied, granting every student an in-depth knowledge in IT linked to translation.
Thanks to the Project Management course of the TSM MA at Lille, students become familiar with the sector’s inner workings and learn to manage projects from A to Z in terms of time, budget, resources, communication, etc.
The study of machine translation and the training on post-editing offered by the MA undoubtedly adds another string to the bow of the future professional translator. Students have the opportunity to try systems used in various institutions, such as the machine translation software developed by the European Commission or the one developed by Systran. They also take the test to obtain the SDL Certification in post-editing.
The MA programme also includes an extensive course on Corpora, where students learn how to use corpora management software such as BootCaT. The comparative grammar courses tackle grammar systems in the source and target languages, enabling students to pass from one to another, avoiding common errors and using translation tricks.
The Master also offers interpreting and subtitling modules—a chance perhaps to find your true passion—along with courses in a third language. Students also benefit from courses in European economics, translation sciences and various interesting modules throughout the two years of the MA.
Now, let’s focus on the second aspect that I consider decisive in my current career: the professional approach of the Master’s programme.
All lecturers have vast experience in their area of expertise. Translators for more than twenty years, managers of their own companies, authors of major publications…, they all have a great deal to teach you.
As a consequence, all courses are given in accordance with market trends, evolution, and facts. What you learn and do during the Master’s Degree is what the sector will expect you to know and do after you graduate. This allowed me to be fully prepared to handle the reality of the job today, as the professional mindset is already acquired through the TSM MA market-oriented approach.
The two internships, one of two months at the end of the first year and one of six months at the end of the second year, largely contribute to integrating students in the professional world, and many of them are offered permanent positions in their hosting company after completing their internship. It is also very common for tutors to take current and former students under their wing in the framework of internships within their own companies, making it even easier to enter the market.
You need visibility to establish partnerships and working relationships. Well aware of this requirement, the TSM MA helps students to build a broad professional network.
Thanks to the partnerships established between the TSM MA at Lille and major players in the industry, we had many possibilities to improve our networking skills by attending a great variety of events.
For instance, as the MA is a member of the EMT network, students are offered the chance to visit the European Commission’s in-house translation service (DG for translation). We also discovered a promising way to tackle machine (automatic) translation with collaborators from Systran during their visit to our university.
Various conferences and events are organized by the university or companies throughout the two MA years. The current programme includes conferences tackling ergonomics in translation, literary translation, one-day training at the SFT (Société française des traducteurs) for future freelance translators and other training days on corpora use and translation quality. In addition to all these events, students in the second year of the Master’s programme participate in a one-week journey to Dublin, where they visit several key figures in the sector.
Another example of the great emphasis placed on professionally empowering students lies in the newly established partnership between the TSM MA and the University’s Library of Antiquity Sciences. Through this association, students can participate and complete translations published on the Internet with their name. This shows the Master’s commitment to considering students as real professionals in the making.
I could not end this section without mentioning the TSM Association through which students organize various events and work as a team on different projects.
In conclusion, I can say that what I learned in the Master of Arts in Specialized Multilingual Translation allows me today to offer a broad range of interesting services to my clients. I rely on decisive management and linguistic knowledge and skills acquired through a complete programme tackling every aspect of the industry.
Pierre Leroy is a freelance translator from English and Russian to French. He is genuinely interested in marketing translation, which involves linguistic knowledge applied with style. As Sciences have always amazed him, he also intends to specialize in this domain and learn something new every day. He also sees localization as challenging and looks forward to gaining experience in this particular task.
This guest post is part of the MA Review Series on this blog. Please contact me (Nikki Graham) if you would like to write about your own MA experience. You can find more details and a list of all the guest posts here.