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Thursday, 14 February 2013

Do we need a Translation degree to work ?...THE CANADIAN CONTEXT.

Response to a colleague on a professional forum on LINKED IN

Here is what I said: 
(http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem)

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Canada has a long tradition in translation practice and training alike. The Federal Governmnet's Translation Bureau is the largest recruiter in the country. To be recruited you need  to have a BA in Translation (compulsory). Why? that is because the 4 yrs training at the university folows a rigorous and practical process. In Canada , you may either take a 'coop BA' model  which includes paid internship for about 3 yrs, or take a traditional BA course with contents on linguistics, translation theory and practice as well as translation technologies but no field work. So, students gain experience in the field ( companies , agencies) and get paid for it.

A second point I would like to refer to is the importance of taking degrees or getting further professional development. I personally see resistance against this as degrading our professional status as social actors. Why shouldn't we have the same professional status like other traditional and old professions like medicine or law?. Doctors themselves started their practice (in ancient times) learning by doing (hit and miss principle), but they developed as professions over time and were institutionalized via education and training (social and political recognition). Why us translators need to be always timid and lacking self esteem to make our voices heard in the community? we are doing the same social jobs like doctors and lawyers or engineers...So, getting disciplinary knowledge and be informed is important for our lifelong learning and social status.

Our social contribution needs to be recognized. We are: transferring what is not known to be known via language, creating powerful relations between nations and people via putting them together via linguistic communication...building knowledge heritage..ect. This is serious and it is not only about doing the business of doing Excellent translations and keeping clients...this is good , but its is not the end of the story...we need to look at our profession from various angles.We need education at higher level as well as doing' the artisanal job'. All professions undergo similar processes: from learning by doing (artisan way) to theorizing and institutionalizing the profession...to GAINING SOCIAL RECOGNITION AND RESPECT. We cannot stay invisible and act and carry on acting behind the scene all the time. We need to act . We need to gain a type of metalanguage to talk about our work and profession that we could well enhance within professional or academic training contexts ...and - most of all- in participating to conferences and symposiums about translation...like we do in here in LINKED IN as an online community.
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