The Other Side

Now that I’m in my fourth (and last) year of university, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m going to do afterwards. Start sending CVs? A Master? Here or abroad? To be honest, I haven’t decided yet but if I have enough money I’d like to do a Master degree abroad. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about today.

What I know is that I want to do everything. Yes, everything. I’d like to be able to translate properly all kind of texts, from literature to scientific or legal, dubbing and subtitling, etc. and also interpreting. And I’ve realized that my degree is sort of failing at making that possible for me, especially when it comes to interpreting.

As I said before, I’m in my fourth year of my degree, called Translation and Interpreting, so it would be logical to think that I have a good knowledge on both branches, wouldn’t it? Well, the only thing I’ve done on interpreting was one course last year during the second semester. Just that. The rest of the courses I’ve taken during those past three years were focused on translation. We also have language courses: Catalan and Spanish as our mother tongue, English as our main language to translate from and a third language of our choice to learn from start (in my case Japanese). Well, even my Japanese courses are focused on translation. This means we do a lot of reading and writing, less listening and we barely practice speaking.

In my opinion, this shouldn’t be like this. What about the students who want to study Interpreting more than Translation? I know some people that knew from the beginning that they wanted to become interpreters. Sure, when they get to fourth year, they can choose the Interpreting path. But one year (and a one-semester course) is not enough to make you a good interpreter. I understand that you can’t teach everything in four years but to neglect Interpreting until the end of the third year is unbelievable and unacceptable. Interpreting is as important as translation and, I’d dare to say, far more difficult.

Moreover, some of the aspects you work on while studying Interpreting, such as oral expression or the ability to talk in public, are useful not only in our future job as interpreters (and even as translators) but also in our day-to-day life.

In conclusion, I’m really disappointed on the fact that my university (or faculty, maybe) plays down the importance of a job that has one the most important roles in a world with more than 6000 living languages like ours.

Clàudia

P.S. You. Yes, you who have reached the end of this post. I’d like you to share your opinion on this matter and, specially if you’re a Translation student from a different university, I’d love to know if it happens the same in yours or if you have a better Interpreting programme than mine. So don’t be shy and leave me a comment, I don’t bite!

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