Let’s be honest, after completing a four-year undergraduate language degree (and spending the previous 15ish years in education), the last thing you probably want to do is go back into education.
That’s how I felt at least. I had just graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in German with Dutch and decided I wanted to be a translator. I started to look for jobs in translation, but it seemed as though they all required an MA, so I did some research into Translation MA courses.
After an overview of the initial results in part 1, in parts 2 and 3 we focused on comments made about the main survey questions.
Specifically in part 2 we examined whether the respondents were thinking of doing any of the four surveyed qualifications (MA/MSc, Diploma in Translation, ATA certification and ITI exam) and which of these four they thought was better.
In part 3 we looked at responses to three questions: Which of the four qualifications are more highly regarded by translators (1), by agencies (2) and by direct clients (3).
This fourth and final part of the results includes some general comments made at the end of the survey and also some insights given under the specific questions that I didn’t manage to fit into the previous three parts of the results as they are more wide-ranging.
This article by Gwenydd Jones looks at the pros and cons of doing an MA in Translation Studies. It’ll help you think ahead and figure out whether doing an MA is the right choice for you.
With the cost of university study continually rising, you’re probably asking yourself whether doing an MA in translation studies is worth the investment. The answer will depend on your own circumstances and goals, as this article will explain. By the end, you should have a better idea of whether or not doing an MA in translation studies is worth it for you.
You’ve probably found your way to this article by googling to find the pros and cons of doing an MA in translation studies compared to the other options available for training and qualifying as a translator.
This is the third and penultimate part of the results of the translation qualifications survey, which focused on the DipTrans, MA/MSc, MITI exam and ATA certification.
In Part 1, we looked at the graphs and pie charts resulting from the survey. However, as I decided to reopen the survey to gain more responses, you’ll find all the definitive graphs and pie charts in Part 2 and in this post.
In Part 2, we examined the results of the first survey questions in more detail as well as some of the comments made to explain respondents’ choices.
In this Part 3, we’ll look at the comments for the last three questions: Which of the four qualifications surveyed are more highly regarded by translators (1), by agencies (2) and by direct clients (3).
Back in February last year, I asked you all to answer some questions about translation qualifications in a survey. I kept extending the deadline because I was hoping for more responses. And then when I should have being doing a write-up of the results, Brexit and the UK general election, family issues and the ever-present threat of the climate emergency filled my head and my spare time leaving me with no energy or enthusiasm for the blog.
Now that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, my work has all but come to a halt so at least I can finally get around to thanking everyone who took part in the survey and giving you the results.
As there were only 59 respondents and I imagine this post might make some colleagues want to give their views, I have reopened the survey and will continue accepting responses until the end of July 2020.
It’s not really like me at all. I’m generally a doer, rather than a talker. But when I graduated with my French Studies BA in July 2007, I applied to do a comparative literature masters at UCL the following year and then, when that came around, I deferred another year, then eventually pulled out completely. Then I signed up for the DipTrans preparation course at Westminster, went to a couple of classes, got scared out of my wits at how inexperienced I was, and gave up. Then I just talked about my longing to do a translation MA for years. The problem was, it was never “the right time”.
After completing my BA degree in German & Spanish with the Open University, I had an idea that I wanted to be a translator but didn’t really know how to become one. I looked online and saw that anyone can call themselves a translator, so ideally a qualification would benefit me. I began hunting online at universities that offer MAs in Translation. Lo and behold, my old university was just about to start an MA in Translation and it would be their first intake of students.
I read about the course on the website – full time study would take just short of 2 years and part time study, up to 6 years. The course was split into 3 modules (more on this later). I knew how the OU worked and so I took the plunge and registered for the first module L801 starting February 2017 ending September 2017. The language combinations are German, Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin Chinese or Arabic combined with English. You don’t have to be a native English speaker to be on the course!
This is the Bristol MA’s USP. For a start, it’s entirely based on distance learning. All teaching is on-line: there’s never any need to visit the campus. This is of course invaluable for anyone who has other commitments to juggle, as I did at the time (I graduated in 2015). What’s more, the course can be completed either in one year full-time, or over two to three years part-time, starting in either September or January.
I received my M.A. in Translation (Spanish concentration) from Kent State University’s Institute for Applied Linguistics in 2013, and I have been working as a freelance translator and editor since graduation. I entered the master’s program directly from my undergraduate studies with significant interest in translation but very little knowledge of the industry, and right away I recognized that the program was exactly what I was looking for. I was selected for a graduate assistantship, which involves teaching undergraduate language or translation-related courses. I taught two undergraduate Spanish courses per semester my first year, and I taught a hybrid Spanish course and worked in the language lab my second year. Since I did not have another job while being enrolled in the program, this allowed me to pay for my degree, and it also created opportunities for teaching after graduation.
Today’s MA course review has been written by my fellow ITI Wessex member Sue Fortescue. For more information on MA courses and links to other reviews, see the European MA and the non-European MA pages on this blog.
Please get in touch if you completed your MA recently and would like to take part in this series. You’ll find more information about writing for this blog here.
If you would like to help with me this MA review project, please read this post.
I came to translation quite late in life, and was 67 when I started the MA. I spent the first part of my career as an English Language teacher (in Italy, Nepal and the UK) and the second part as an IT Manager (in Belgium and the US). My first degree was in Italian & French, and I also have an MA in Linguistics & English Language Teaching (from the University of Leeds) and an MSc in Knowledge-Based Systems from Heriot-Watt University.