Working With Languages, MLANG Career Talks, Cardiff University, 08.02.17
This well attended meeting took place in the Psychology building and welcomed guests from Caerleon Comprehensive – Chloë Samuels and Emma Muggleton, and the European Commission – Paul Kaye, as well as providing information from within MLANG (School of Modern Languages) itself. About 70 students listened and interacted with the presentations over two hours, prior to retiring for Wine and Nibbles.
First up was a presentation from the Caerleon Comprehensive School Language department teachers, Chloë Samuels and Emma Muggleton. Chloë is head of the German department there and Emma is overall head of Modern Languages and teaches French. The school is nestled on the outskirts of Newport and is home to over 1600 secondary pupils.
Chloë did her degree at Swansea University, spending time abroad in Berlin. Her time abroad inspired her greatly and she decided she would become a teacher of foreign languages. She spoke of the National trend of the decline in foreign languages being bucked by Caerleon Comprehensive, a testament to the success of the languages department there.
Chloë and Emma ask the question: Why Teach?
- Make a difference
- transferrable skills
- impact many lives
- opportunities to advance
- work anywhere you go
- Lifelong learning
- working with teenagers is energising
- job security
- holidays are good
- Everyday is different and you will never be bored
- Every child is different
- Autonomy in your classroom
- give back to the community – watch students grow
- Express your creativity / personality
With respect to why one should specifically teach languages, Chloë suggests:
- Passions & love of subject
- ensure students develop a love of language learning
- inspiring students – making them understand the value of language learning
- intangible rewards – seeing students achieve, laughing at the funny things they do, supporting, nurturing and helping young people grow
- Pupil development – from no knowledge to them becoming semi-fluent
- share cultural knowledge – exploring other cultures
- Trips abroad – experiencing the student reaction
- Maintain own language skills
They explore the criteria that constitute a good teacher
- Excellent language skills
- Other subject skills (2 languages often required although not always essential)
- Sense of humour
- Able to motivate learners
- IT Literacy
They talked about the PGCE teaching certificate and how university courses could be taken to qualify for this. Also mentioning the funding opportunities. More information to be seen here: http://www.getintoteaching.education.gov.uk
Both Chloë and Emma were both very inspiring young ladies and gave a valuable presentation to all of those present that would possibly be considering a career in teaching. I can definitely see why the foreign language department at Caerleon is doing so well and i am sure that their pupils are lucky to benefit from their enthusiasm about languages on a daily basis.
PAUL KAYE – EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Next up was Paul Kaye ( @PaulKayeEULangs )from the European Commission, giving a presentation on ‘Translating in the EU Institutions’. I was keen to hear from Paul Kaye in person and to get to meet him, after interviewing him for Dragon Translate a few months ago, when he gave us his views on Brexit and Translators.
Paul is a Language Officer for the European Commission, based in London. It is part of his role to engage in outreach work and that is what brings him to Cardiff University for this careers presentation. He is a self-confessed Eurocrat.
Paul studied Biology at University with a view to perhaps becoming a doctor. He managed to do an Erasmus year abroad, studying at the University of Grenoble in France. After university he spent time, teaching English, in Slovakia, where he developed a love for that country and culture and managed to learn how to speak Slovak. He worked here in journalism and as a radio DJ. After doing an MSc in Environment Policy, he became a journalist, working out of London and later Brussels. After spending 9.5 years as a journalist, Paul saw the opportunity for a career change and applied to become a translator at the EU. He passed the tests after applying and began his new role within the central institution, working initially in Brussels, before later moving out to the London office
Paul gave an interesting anecdote of the use of linguistic skills in employment, when he matched his lifelong love of football with his flair of languages, when Man United faced Slovakian opposition in the Champions League and he was recruited at Old Trafford as an interpreter, managing to meet the legend, Bobby Charlton, while ensuring that the Slovakian opposition had the best of their time in this country.
Paul detailed some history of the EU and how it is comprised of 28 different member states, with 24 official languages. As a test, he quizzed the audience on these statistics.
We then focussed on which careers are available for linguists within the EU.
There are three main ones:
- Lawyer- Linguist
Within the EU body there are over 4300 translators and over 1000 interpreters. In the official department of Translation there are over 2500 translators and support staff with 50% being based in Brussels and the other 50% in Luxembourg.
Paul mentioned how the various departments often meet up halfway between Luxembourg and Brussels for joint activities in the Belgian Ardennes.
We looked at how prolific various languages were within the EU Translation sector. For the English translation department the most work is from DE, then IT, then EL (Greek), ES, FR, PL (Polish) and HU (Hungarian).
Paul emphasised how important Language knowledge was for all language jobs, how for the C2 a perfect command of the main language was necessary with the translator having a main EU C1 source language and also a second C1 EU Source language. Initially, translation qualifications for candidates are unneeded. For Interpreting, however, at least a Conference Interpreting masters is required.
Traineeships are available at the EU and more can be discovered on the official website here
Paul Kaye’s presentation was inspiring and a career path in the EU is definitely one which I would consider. It remains to be seen the final impact of Brexit on the position of UK National translators, however, and this new policy could evaporate some of the attraction that a job in the EU might hold.
Dr Dorota Goluch
Finally in this careers presentation, Dr Dorota Goluch and her Cardiff University colleagues took to the stage to discuss the various options for further study after achieving your undergraduate degree. Dorota would present Cardiff University’s MA in Translation.
Dorota asked ‘Why study Translation at postgraduate level?’ She responded with the following criteria:
- meet people from across the world from different language cultures eg. Arabic, Chinese
- Vocational study – teaches the use of TRADOS
- Theories of Translation
- Translation Methods
- Interpreting Module
- Placement module with 35 hours of work experience
The Masters degree at Cardiff sounded very appealing but I was a bit shocked to discover that it had to be independently financed and that there are no central government funds to finance postgraduate study.
In addition to Dorota’s presentation we heard from two advocates of study abroad – in Europe, in particular at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. With Brexit looming there is a ‘do-it-while-you-can attitude to this possibility. The difference between public and private universities was explained and to be honest the financing and funding of overseas study looked appealing although I doubt that it will be a route that I will seriously consider.
This late afternoon lecture was followed by an informal wine reception in MLANG where you could follow up with direct questions to the various presenters. I found the whole session to be very useful and it certainly gave me food for thought at this stage of my degree as to what the future holds and which career paths to be considering.