I especially appreciated the opportunity to work with technical texts which required some basic research in order to translate them, e.g. medical, legal and scientific texts. This was extremely satisfying. Tackling a new translation on an unfamiliar subject was very exciting and I gained a lot of knowledge on hitherto unfamiliar subjects. This diversity of subject matter helped clarify one's areas of specialism. In addition, the fact that we were also encouraged to find our own texts was challenging. Although I have not done as much translation work as I would wish since completing the course, the benefits in terms of increased linguistic understanding have been considerable. I would recommend the course to anyone with a real interest in language.
As a mature student with a long career in education, the thing I found most useful and which has contributed significantly to my subsequent career development, was the language technology module. Learning to use different types of software, improving my IT skills and generally increasing my confidence in working with technology has led me into a new career in digitisation. I now work freelance in the digitisation of language learning materials, while I continue to work in education.
Frances Richardson, MATLT (S)
The MA helped develop my interest in the field of Language Technology and provided a secure base for my PhD studies.
Gareth Watkins, MATLT (S)
I got a job as junior project manager in a translation agency starting as soon as the course finished, and have remained employed at same agency since, having been promoted to senior project manager. I am the senior project manager in the agency but also take on translation and revision when feasible. I work with CAT tools on a daily basis and am also involved in business development. I have also done a few teaching and interpreting assignments.
The MA was key to me securing my job and in terms of helping me during the job, of course I am a better translator having done it, but the technology side of it has been the most useful part as I was familiar with the CAT tools I was expected to use and also aspects of terminology management.
Kate Figueredo, MATLT (S)
When I started my job as a translator I was glad I had used CAT tools so much as it put me ahead of the game. I absolutely love translating and on the course translating was a team thing and we all analysed and picked apart the text and discussed it. However, I found real-life in-house translation so boring and was definitely not prepared for the tedium. I was part of a team, but it was frowned upon if we talked too much, even if it was about the work. It was all about how quickly you translated and therefore how much money you could earn for the company.
I still translate from time to time if I want to do the job or as favours to friends or acquaintances and I enjoy translating that way. The flexibility of freelancing suits me now I have a family and school holidays. I would never go back to in-house translating.
Victoria Hill, MATLT (S)
Because of the links between the MA programme and a local translation company I was able to secure a role within the industry within a few months of completing my Masters. For the first two years I was mainly project managing with some translation tasks. For the last three years I have been involved in company management and HR in particular. The best things were the opportunity to learn how to translate professionally using relevant technology and also relevant theory.
The course was extremely important in helping me start my career as I would not have been able to get into the industry without it. After five years in the industry I would say that the technology aspects are becoming more and more important and will continue to do so as well as gaining as much practical experience of translating as possible.
Emma Roome, MATLT (S)
I had a placement at a translation agency in Belgium for eight months: Primarily revision/proofreading work but translation work also. I found the placement myself which was unpaid. Shortly after finishing, I set up as a freelance translator in Britain, working for the company I had done the placement with, as well as a couple of others. I have been working constantly as a freelance translator ever since, although I now live in Germany instead.
Terminology was useful, however it mostly involved working with bilingual glossaries and creating termbases of CAT tools, without going into a great amount of depth. The research skills are however essential for translation. Research skills, eye for detail (proofreading - following a specific style guide [in my case New Hart’s Rules]) and willingness to do dive into new fields where needed (again, research skills and eye for detail) are I believe the primary skills needed to be a translator, other than the basic language skills of course.
The introduction to the CAT tools was incredibly useful; many translators I come across have no idea how to use them and their work quality and consistency can be hampered as a result. Being able to troubleshoot is also essential when working freelance (even just having the ability to search for an error using a search engine will get you a long way). The advanced translation modules were very useful, though there is still a large jump between the level of the advanced translation modules and real-world work. I would advise anyone wanting to be a translator to seek an in-house placement/internship/traineeship first. Having to deal with poorly phrased/grammatically incorrect texts with little to no context is difficult to simulate but a common part of translating.
Nicholas Dobson, MATLT (S)
More from our students. . . .
'It was an amazing experience both personaly and professionally. All the different modules (translation, interpreting, translation theory) really helped me pass the national exam required to become an English teacher in France. But I think the most important thing is not what the professional outcome of my degree was but the human experience itself. The people I met there (especially Andrew Rothwell and Nigel Addinall) literaly changed my life and I will always be grateful for that.'
'Even though I had been teaching French to A level for many years, I found it to be an excellent opportunity to improve my overall language skills as well as the fantastic experience in learning CAT tools. I thoroughly enjoyed the course (I was challenged but I loved it!) and it gave me tremendous confidence and renewed enthusiasm for language learning. The interpreting course was especially useful.
'I had wanted to carry on with a PhD but, at the time of graduation, subtitling translation was not offered in the department and this is where I wanted to develop my skills. As it has been five years since graduation I am not sure if it is too late to pursue this.
'I think the programme now has more links with industry and I think I would have valued that opportunity. It was easier for younger students to find translation posts but, as a mature student, I found it difficult and would have valued some help in looking at possible translation careers. I regret not going into a translation post after the MA - an excellent teaching opportunity came along and I took it - however, I missed out on the opportunity of using my skills.'