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Careers in Translation and Interpreting Event, Aston University, 17.12.14

aston university

  On 17th December, with my translation (BA) colleague, Isabelle, from Cardiff University, we headed up the train tracks to the Midlands to the Careers event at Aston University. http://translation.blogs.aston.ac.uk/2014/11/18/careers-in-translation-and-interpreting/ The day’s talks promised to offer multiple perspectives on the different kinds of jobs translators and interpreters can have. The pre-event coffee room was packed and attendance was good, our namebadges reflecting attendance from across the country – many undergraduates and also school students plus a rare few older participants. The event was sponsored by the Routes Into Languages program. Head of Aston’s language department, Christina Schäffner kicked off proceedings with a short welcome and introduction and the event was rapidly underway. We would be looking at different areas of work plus ways of getting started in the profession. The first hour introduced three different professional interpreters who vary in their employment. Rekha Narula gave a great presentation on working in the public service interpreting sector. The attitude of the interpreter and the professional skills they require was very interesting. There are ethical dilemmas and the rather individual, lonely work of the public service interpreter seemed very challenging. The work sounded very rewarding and valuable to society. Cindy Schaller, a French woman interpreter, who spoke almost perfect English with hardly a detectable accent at all, spoke about conference interpreting and also how volunteering could provide valuable experience for newcomers to the industry. Cindy had done a work experience placement at the UN in Vienna and had toured Africa and a variety of other destinations, working in the voluntary sector. Cindy discussed the skills she used as a conference interpreter, from chucotage, to booth work at various levels of comfort and technology. Cindy analysed the business skills that we would require – from accounting to building a client base, to billing and working as an individual. Cindy provided some useful web references for opportunities in the voluntary sector: http://klimaforum.org http://viacampesina.org/en/ http://fsm2011.org/en/ http://www.babels.org Maisy Greenwood was next on the agenda and she had an amazing adventure tale to share with us. At university she had studied arabic in addition to Spanish and French. A job landed at her feet (or rather she had to put herself in the right place at the right time). She was recruited as an interpreter for a Saudi television documentary. For two months Maisy travelled across South America, acting as a Spanish>English>Arabic interpreter. The skills she amassed…

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Student Rep Meeting with Head of MLANG, Cardiff University, 10.12.14

MLANG, Cardiff University

On 10th December I attended a meeting with Head of MLANG School, Professor Claire Gorrara. She was giving a presentation about developments in the school and there followed a Q&A session. As student rep for first year Translation I felt that I would take this opportunity to briefly report on this meeting to the students. Claire began by stating the strategic vision for MLANG. It is: ‘Laying the foundations for learning and teaching, research and impact and international engagement within our new school’. MLANG is a new department that consolidates the teaching of foreign languages at Cardiff University. The old EUROP makes way for MLANG. Politics moves departments and the school incorporates Japanese that was previously taught at the Business School. The foreign languages taught to 4000 adult learners at Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning (LEARN) are drawn into MLANG and the new school allows for an expansion in languages, introducing Portuguese to the main degree program this year with a full degree in Mandarin Chinese (in partnership with Beijing Normal University) to follow in 2016. It was an interesting footnote for us, as translation students, that the translation department is the big success story for MLANG. Enrollment of Translation courses is massively increasing year on year and the future of this section looks very bright. The trend of students to want Translation courses means that this is a growth area and the demand will be met with supply. One of the key challenges to MLANG has been the new Languages for All (LFA) program. This has been introduced as a university-wide scheme, allowing ALL students access to free teaching of foreign languages to compliment their degree studies. The enthusiasm of students for LFA in its inaugural year has been overwhelming with over 2000 attempting to enroll for the only 900 places that were available. There are plans to increase capacity of LFA in future years. The business school will be made available for teaching after 5pm, expanding classroom space and more tutors will be brought in. At the start of the year, 54% of MLANG classes were to occur in the MLANG building. Due to this area being an amalgamated piecing together of old Victorian family houses, it has been acknowledged that it isn’t the best of spaces. Due to disability access issues, many of the classrooms towards the rear of the building have been unfit for teaching use…

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Taking Stock of Subtitling – Jorge Díaz-Cintas (UCL) – Guest Lecture Cardiff University MLANG 18.11.14

Jorge Díaz-Cintas

Sponsored by Tesserae, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, this event at Cardiff University brought in world expert in subtitling, Jorge Díaz-Cintas, from UCL, for a guest lecture on ‘Taking Stock In Subtitling’. Subtitling is a growing area of research and also a growing employment area for Translation graduates. The lecture was well-supported by undergraduate and post-graduate students, many department teachers, the professional translator community and also members of the public. Jorge led out by defining subtitling as a form of REWRITING as opposed to the REVOICING of dubbing, interpreting, voiceover and narration. Subtitling has a very significant role in accessibility, with subtitles being made for disabled people, be they hard of hearing / deaf or partially-sighted / blind (Audio description & Audio subtitling) The rapid development in technology in recent years has seen a huge growth in the need for subtitling. Its diversity and range has multiplied with the advent of new technologies and has moved from television to the internet. The volunteer community of subtitlers translate and adapt uploaded videos on youtube and other internet video platforms, sometimes, as in the case of new TV series, beating the professional subtitling community in the race for reaching an audience. These new subtitlers can redefine norms in the world of translation, for example, usurping traditional translation methods for Mandarin or Arabic and using trendy vernacular tongues. Jorge demonstrated some of the professional subtitling computer tools such as Wincaps, and talked of the complexity of organising multiple subtitling in a range of foreign languages. If ‘spotting’ (where subtitles come in and fade out in a video frame) is made uniform across all subtitling languages, what sort of problems can arise? A German translator needs far more space in their translation than other European languages as their words are longer and also the sentences are structured with the verb part-separating to feature at the end of a sentence. A subtitler has to take into account of average reading speeds and faces the challenge of condensing material due to space restraints. Jorge showed how the software aids in these factors. For those interested in subtitling and getting involved in this profession, a number of websites were mentioned: http://esist.org/ http://avteurope.eu/ http://subtitlers.org.uk/ http://clipfair.net http://videolectures.net http://ted.com http://www.eu-bridge.eu/ http://www.sumat-project.eu/ Some of these sites are at the cutting edge of subtitling technology, incorporating the latest developments in the field of machine translation. Jorge left us to ponder…

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Review: The New Cold War – by Edward Lucas

The New Cold War by Edward Lucas My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book is a study of Russia in the post-communist era. It documents the rise of Vladimir Putin and identifies the ‘new cold war’ that envelopes Russia’s relations with the outside world. I found the book to be detailed with information and I was surprised by many of the features of the new Russia. I hadn’t realised that under Putin the Russian economy had been growing really well nor had I an appreciation of his soaring approval rating with his people. The Russian dominance of the energy market, in particular, gas, is quite daunting. I really enjoyed the chapter that focussed on the actual way this energy market is structured. The new Cold War won’t necessarily be fought in terms of military might and arms races. The Russian military strength is very dilapidated and they spend 25 times less on their military budget than the US. The new war will be fought in the markets with hard-hitting Kremlin-supported oligarch cash and the high profits from the energy market. I was surprised at the overall effect how that, since 1989, Russia has reverted back to its old Iron Curtain Soviet ways, despite me imagining that it was all freedom and capitalism there now. ‘Sovereign Democracy’ has quite different values to the political system we understand. The author has done his best in this book to explain what makes Russia tick and how we can possibly overcome a dark new era of global hostilities. View all my reviews

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Review: The New Cold War

The New Cold War by Edward Lucas My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book is a study of Russia in the post-communist era. It documents the rise of Vladimir Putin and identifies the ‘new cold war’ that envelopes Russia’s relations with the outside world. I found the book to be detailed with information and I was surprised by many of the features of the new Russia. I hadn’t realised that under Putin the Russian economy had been growing really well nor had I an appreciation of his soaring approval rating with his people. The Russian dominance of the energy market, in particular, gas, is quite daunting. I really enjoyed the chapter that focussed on the actual way this energy market is structured. The new Cold War won’t necessarily be fought in terms of military might and arms races. The Russian military strength is very dilapidated and they spend 25 times less on their military budget than the US. The new war will be fought in the markets with hard-hitting Kremlin-supported oligarch cash and the high profits from the energy market. I was surprised at the overall effect how that, since 1989, Russia has reverted back to its old Iron Curtain Soviet ways, despite me imagining that it was all freedom and capitalism there now. ‘Sovereign Democracy’ has quite different values to the political system we understand. The author has done his best in this book to explain what makes Russia tick and how we can possibly overcome a dark new era of global hostilities. View all my reviews

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Review: To Have and Have Not – by Ernest Hemingway

To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway My rating: 4 of 5 stars This Hemingway adventure is set in Cuba and involves a wily sailor who is involved in the murky smuggling business between Havana and his home port in Florida. Harry Morgan is a man in conflict with his morals. He is a family man, fully supportive of his wife and daughters and he aims to put food on his table. But, how he does this, is with a selfish immoral attitude. After a chartered fishing expedition goes wrong and his client fails to pay, Harry is left to make up his income in any way possible. The dark episodes in the story are sudden and explosive and the murky world of criminals, murder, revolutionaries, smuggling and rummy alcoholics jumps out of the pages at you with venom. There is a contrasting world of high society where things aren’t so desperate, but equally there are sinister undertones here too. The main tale ends in tragedy though one can tell that Harry has been riding his luck for a while. To Have And To Have Not is a vivid tale and makes one question morals. Harry, the antihero, goes from bad to worse, yet, as a reader you are always looking our for him and hoping he gets through and achieves salvation. View all my reviews

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