Today’s guest post is by Kasia Pranke and it is part of the MA in Translation and Interpreting review series. If you have studied an MA in recent years and would like to share your experiences, then please get in touch. You’ll find a complete list of all the guest posts and some general guidelines here.
In 2015 I graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in Translation. With an MA in Linguistics from my home country and two thirds (at that time) of the Diploma in Translation under my belt, I was not an average intake. At that time I had been living in Belfast, Northern Ireland for a few years and with only a limited amount of continuing professional development for translators available locally, I followed the advice of some former QUB students and started attending open-to-everyone weekly seminars every Monday. I’m a lifelong learner at heart and delight in being able to listen to such speakers as Lawrence Venuti, Christiane Nord or Pilar Orero, and so I did not have to think for too long before deciding to undertake the full Masters course the following year.
It did not happen without sacrifices. I kept my freelance interpreting and translation work going, but resigned from my other training-related position. Living only five minutes from the university certainly helped in managing my schedule, but I do not need to mention that the word ‘weekend’ was non-existent in my dictionary during that year of study! Very often, to break my daily routine and to get out of my home office, I would choose the well-equipped McClay Library or the newly-opened Graduate School.
The one year programme offered a choice of various theoretical and practical modules, and only a few were obligatory.
When it comes to the practical translation workshops, I was lucky. As the only student with Polish, I benefited from 1:1 sessions with two well-experienced native linguists who tailored the sessions to suit my needs. I decided to focus my efforts in the first semester on preparation for Unit 1 of the Diploma in Translation (which I passed with Distinction) and in the second one on medical translation.
In addition to the choice of modules, the school encouraged us to enrol for language courses run by the Language Centre. Unfortunately, I could not fit anything more into my already tight schedule and did not enrol.
What I really enjoyed was all the support we received from our lecturers, whether it was for a scholarship application, writing our dissertation or using our own initiative (such as inviting the Freelance Box to deliver the MBA for translators workshop), we had a feeling that our voice was heard.
The time allowed for writing the dissertation seemed to be tight (especially for those of us who had to work as well), but I received a lot of support and was also free to choose my own topic. I decided to make use of my expertise in teaching and relate it to translator training and to reflect on the translation industry. What is more, thanks to the scholarship I obtained, I was able to visit the University of Wrocław (Poland) and The Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain), resulting in valuable interviews, which I used in my MA research.
So, overall, I feel benefited a lot from the course in terms of theoretical knowledge as well as more practical skills.
If you have any specific questions about my experience as a QUB student, please feel free to get in touch!
Kasia Pranke MA DPSI DipTrans IoLET MCIL is a Polish linguist based in Bristol (England) and she translates from English into Polish.
The source for both photos is: https://www.instagram.com/yourpolishtranslator/