Sunday, 11 November 2012


Unlike UK-based institutes, translation Studies, as an academic disciplinary study, is not popular with US-based institutes. There are very few institutes which provide certificate and degree courses in translation. For the convenience of those interested in doing courses in translation, I have prepared the following list of such courses on offer at US universities. As you would see in this list, there are only two universities – Binghamton and Kent State – which offer PhD in Translation Studies. Moreover, the translation courses offered at other institutes largely concentrate on professional side of translation, providing certificates in specific languages to translators. As we all would agree, in the globalised world of today, translation of technical as well as literary work without question is of profound importance. The universities in the US, thus, should pay attention to this pressing need, and offer more BS, MA, and PhD programmes in translation.

Note: All links are clickable.

American University:

Binghamton University:

Taught Courses:              

Research Degree:           

Brown University:

Georgia State University:             

Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics with Concentration in Bible Translation:

The MA is offered in collaboration with SBTS.

Kent State University:



Marygrove College:

Montclair State University:

Monterey Institute of International Studies, Middlebury College:

Degree Programmes:

Dual Degree Programmes:

Short Courses:

New York University:


Of the above courses, the following are either offered both online and onsite or exclusively online.

Marygrove College:


Monterey Institute of International Studies, Middlebury College:

Short Courses:

 New York University:


The University of Texas at Brownsville:



Friday, 19 October 2012

The Lingua File: Can An Interpreter Be Honest?

The Lingua File: Can An Interpreter Be Honest?: What is the purpose of an interpreter? Quite simply to convert what is being said from one language into another. If the source lies, so mus...

I have just read this post on a blog, and, finding the topic interesting and thought-provoking, wanted to share it with you.


Sunday, 30 September 2012

Newbie Translators and Voluntary Work

Thanks to the virtual world of the Internet, more and more people are becoming aware of the freelance translating business. This statement may sound strange to the readers from the USA, Europe, and Australia, where it is commonplace to be familiar with translation (especially technical, or non-literary, translation) as a business. But, believe me, this is not the case with some other parts of the world. Take the example of Pakistan, my homeland. You would hardly find more than 200 translators (this rough estimate is the result of my observation, not the finding of a formal study), and, most of the people who you would talk to about freelance translating, translation agencies, translation tools, etc. would have absolutely no idea what you were referring to. However, through word of mouth, public knowledge of freelance industry is increasing in Pakistani, though quite slowly. But, it is also true that, in other parts of the region, such as India and China, people are fast becoming aware of translation industry and freelance translating, the result of which is the rapid emergence of translation agencies as well as in-house and freelance translators in these countries.

What is easily inferable from this situation is that competition among translators is also growing high. There are many LSPs which clearly mention certain years of experience in the criteria they set for the selection of translators and interpreters. Although, this is not the case with all LSPs, but it also goes without saying that most of them would prefer translators who hold some experience in the field to those who have no such experience. This makes it hard for a newbie translator to grab a job. What to do? My simple suggestion is that, instead of only looking for paid translation work, novice translators should also be ready to work as a voluntary translator. There are a number of non-profit organisations which constantly need help from voluntary translators. Working for them, you would not only gain experience in the field, but also work for the betterment of humanity.

Although, a simple search on a search engine would come up with many such opportunities (you may search through some organizations whose website links and pages appears on the search engine to see which one suits you the best to render your voluntary translation services to), but I would advise you to check each with caution, and sign up only for reliable organisations. The one that I would recommend you with confidence is Translators without Borders. The following is their mission statement:

Access to information is critical.
Language barriers cost lives.
Aid groups working in crisis-situations face a mission-critical challenge in
disseminating knowledge in the language of those that who need it.
Translators without Borders facilitates the transfer of knowledge from one
language to another by creating and managing a community of NGOs who need
translations and professional, vetted translators who volunteer their time to help.
Through the sophisticated Translators without Borders platform, important aid
groups easily connect directly with professional translators, breaking down the
barriers of language and building up the transfer of information
to those who need it, one brick at a time.

Their application form for registering as a voluntary translator can be accessed here

A great feature of TWB is that they provide FREE training to potential translators as well. This training is provided in languages for which availability of translators is a rarity.  So far, they provide training in the languages spoken in Kenya. Here is what they say about it:

Trainees must have a very good command of English and excellent command of Kiswahili and/or the native language (any of the 42 languages spoken in Kenya). Good candidates would be Kiswahili graduates, health librarians, community health workers, peer educators, hospital interpreters, and so forth. Trainees must be available to attend the initial training in our center for around 1 week and must be able to spend at least 4 hours per week to do their homework after the initial training.

If anyone of you falls under the criteria set by them, you can access the application form here

In the following, I am sharing another link to an informative discussion on ProZ on the subject under consideration.

Working as a translator volunteer would give a novice translator good hands-on experience, and would also increase their ‘visibility’ in translation community.

Do you have any other voluntary work suggestion for a newbie? Please share it with others in the comments box below.

Good luck!

P.S. I have come across a good online source of information for newbie translators, which I would like to share with you.