Good day! Good day! Bonjour! Buongiorno! 你们 好 Nǐmenhǎo! До́брый день! Buenos dias! Those who speak foreign languages have a clear advantage in our globalized world. However, it is hardly possible to have a perfect command of every language. When people from different nations negotiate with one another – for example at political meetings, business talks and conferences – they are mostly dependent on interpreters. They have such a perfect command of one or more foreign languages that they are able to translate speeches and conversations almost simultaneously .
When it comes to transferring factual texts, novels, radio plays and poems from one language to another, however, the skills of translators are required. They not only have excellent language skills, but are also familiar with literary stylistic devices and textual criteria .
Translation and interpreting: an overview of the courses
Since the individual tasks of interpreters and translators require different skills , the range of courses in the field of translation and interpreting is also very differentiated. The individual universities and technical colleges offer various courses of study , such as
- Specialized interpreting for authorities and courts
- Specialized translation for business and technology or
- Language, culture, translation
Even if the focus of the individual courses may be very different, the focus is always on one or two selected foreign languages. At some universities, students have the opportunity to take part in a so-called propaedeutic course before they actually begin their studies . These are one or two pre-semesters in which the students can expand and refine their foreign language skills in advance. The preparatory courses facilitate successful studies without delay. The actual course mainly consists of language practice and exercises in translation as well as seminars and lectures in the fields of translation, linguistics and cultural studies .
According to ehuacom, the students learn which problems can arise when translating and deal intensively with the formal structure of the foreign languages they have chosen. They also get sociological , cultural, political and economic background knowledge about the individual countries .
In many courses of study with a focus on interpreting or specialist translation, there is the option of choosing a subject- specific supplementary subject , for example from the fields of economics , law or politics . Prospective interpreters also receive an introduction to the various interpreting techniques. In addition, computer-aided translation is becoming increasingly important.
Some graduates start their careers directly after completing their bachelor’s degree. For management positions, however, employers usually require a master’s degree. The master’s programs also offer the opportunity to specialize further. Depending on the university, there are different courses in the master’s program such as “conference interpreting” or “literary translation” .
Studying translation and interpreting: requirements
If you want to become an interpreter or translator, you should above all have a good feeling for the language . A perfect command of the German language is mandatory. In addition, applicants should also have a knowledge of the language they wish to study. The requirements for admission differ in this regard from university to university.
In some cases, a good knowledge of school is sufficient to start your studies. On the other hand, some universities require proof of appropriate language skills in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference (GER). They often require level B2 for English , while level B1 is often sufficient for French, Spanish or Russian. As already mentioned, some universities offer applicants the opportunity to acquire the necessary language skills in a preparatory course.
After graduation: opportunities for translators and interpreters
The job description for translators and interpreters is relatively clear. Many graduates work in interpreting or translation offices or work in large companies, publishers, administrations or authorities.
Your area of work depends on the focus of your studies. Those who have concentrated on “specialist interpreting for authorities and courts” during their studies work primarily as an interpreter for the police or in courts. Those who specialize in literary translation, on the other hand, translate novels and poetry into German. (Literary) translators are either permanently employed by a publisher or take on assignments from various employers as freelancers . In fact, a large proportion of the translators and interpreters work freelance.
In addition to the actual area of responsibility, non-specialist fields are also possible. Graduates can be found in project management , marketing , advertising or tourism . Master’s graduates are also free to do a doctorate and embark on an academic career.
A stay abroad during your studies: a must!
A stay abroad is compulsory for students specializing in translation and interpreting. At some universities, periods of study at a foreign university are firmly integrated into the course . After all, it is only during a long period of time that you develop a real feeling for the local language among native speakers. In addition, you will acquire intercultural competencies and soft skills such as assertiveness and flexibility during your time abroad. Qualities that are becoming more and more important in professional life.