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Open Uni versus Bristol for MA Translation
Thread poster: Mithradates

Mithradates
United States
Local time: 08:56
French to English
+ ...
Mar 13

Hello -

I am considering doing an MA in Translation via distance learning and find myself torn between the programmes at the Open University and at the University of Bristol. Might someone here be able to share their own assessments of these programmes, or offer me advice on the pros / cons of one versus the other?

Thanks


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:56
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Hello - Mar 13

poissonrouge wrote:
I find myself torn between the programmes at the Open University and at the University of Bristol.


Do you mean these two?
http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/2019/arts/ma-translation/
http://www.openuniversity.edu/courses/postgraduate/qualifications/f79

Do I understand correctly that at Bristol, you pay per year and you (as a US student) would be required to do the course full-time, which means it'll cost you GBP 18.000 x 3 = GBP 54.000, and that at the Open University, you pay per module, and since three modules are compulsory, it'll cost you GBP 8.500 x 3 = GBP 25.500 for the entire course? Do I also understand correctly that cost is not an issue for you?


 

Mithradates
United States
Local time: 08:56
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Cost Mar 13

The cost is actually comparable. I am an EU citizen and hence will be paying 8300 GBP for the year at Bristol. At the Open U, it'd cost me 5100 GBP. So while there is a difference, it's not big enough for cost to be the sole differentiator. What I've love to find out about is (a) brand value of one versus the other (b) quality of one versus the other for the online MA in translation.

[Edited at 2019-03-13 13:51 GMT]


 

Marissa Aguayo Gavilano  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2016)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not quite the right amounts Mar 13

Actually, as an overseas student, at Bristol she would pay GBP 18,400 for the full program (which would need to be taken full time). They don't show payment options for part-time studies, which are paid per year. The cost for Master in Translation at the Open University is GBP 8,460 if you are outside Europe (GBP 2,820 per module).

 

Marissa Aguayo Gavilano  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2016)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Interesting Mar 13

poissonrouge wrote:

The cost is actually comparable. I am an EU citizen and hence will be paying 8300 GBP for the year at Bristol. At the Open U, it'd cost me 5100 GBP. So while there is a difference, it's not big enough for cost to be the sole differentiator. What I've love to find out about is (a) brand value of one versus the other (b) quality of one versus the other for the online MA in translation.

[Edited at 2019-03-13 13:51 GMT]


This is a topic that interests my husband as well. He's currently studying modern languages at the OU and was considering to do a masters in Translation after graduating. We didn't know Bristol also offered this program.

The OU asks you where do you currently live to show you the rates. I believe we read somewhere that you need to be living in the UK or the EU while taking the course (even if it's distance learning). Or maybe this only applies if you get a student loan? I'm not so sure.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:56
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Poisson Mar 13

poissonrouge wrote:
I am an EU citizen and hence...


Well, I recommend that you write to them and ask if you still qualify for non-international student rates, given this evening's vote (hard brexit).


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:56
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Marissa Mar 14

Marissa Aguayo Gavilano wrote:
Actually, as an overseas student, at Bristol she would pay GBP 18,400 for the full program (which would need to be taken full time).


You're right... I misread that.

You can do the Bristol masters in 1 year, 2 years or 3 years. The Open Uni masters assumes you'll study part-time, and you're allowed to take between 2 and 6 years to complete it. Both are 180 credits (i.e. 50 hours a week for 1 year, 25 hours a week for 2 years, 20 hours a week for 3 years, etc.).

I think a student translator will achieve more success in his career if he starts working for real clients before he gets his degree, and a part-time course would give you more time to do that. The adage is true that it takes a year or two build a reliable client-base.


Josephine Cassar
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:56
Member (2018)
French to English
course content Mar 14

Since your question is more about course content, I suggest looking hard at it to see what you will actually do. For my master I had to translate articles on specialist subjects (legal finance technical medical...). Learning to translate by translating. I didn't think it was anything extraordinary or unusual, then I found out that a young friend had done a master at a British uni that focussed only on theory. She didn't have to translate a single word, apart from the translation she produced for... See more
Since your question is more about course content, I suggest looking hard at it to see what you will actually do. For my master I had to translate articles on specialist subjects (legal finance technical medical...). Learning to translate by translating. I didn't think it was anything extraordinary or unusual, then I found out that a young friend had done a master at a British uni that focussed only on theory. She didn't have to translate a single word, apart from the translation she produced for her thesis. Other students didn't even do a translation for their thesis.
I'm not suggesting she can't translate - I'm a self-taught translator myself and only went to uni for the bit of paper. But her master in translation be considered an equivalent to mine, yet students at my uni got tons of hands-on practice and students at hers got none.
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Josephine Cassar
Christine Andersen
Michele Fauble
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
credentials Mar 14

Poisson, have you already got any major in a field? Biz?

 Unlike excellent "pure translators" with some theoretic background, nowadays decent specialists (programmers, designers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers, journalists, whatever) with satisfactory foreign language skills and business awareness worth weight in gold.

 While a diploma or certificate *may* be a plus, without real hands-on exp even graduating with honors neither assumes nor implies being profici
... See more
Poisson, have you already got any major in a field? Biz?

 Unlike excellent "pure translators" with some theoretic background, nowadays decent specialists (programmers, designers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers, journalists, whatever) with satisfactory foreign language skills and business awareness worth weight in gold.

 While a diploma or certificate *may* be a plus, without real hands-on exp even graduating with honors neither assumes nor implies being proficient or well-educated, let alone in the PEMT-oriented middlemen/profiteers' market.

I mean what is the purpose--showcasing? Considering the price and time, I would rather get a language certificate; a relevant IELTS/TOEFL, SAT/ACT, GMAT, or GRE should do.
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Diana Coada
Tom Stevens
 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:56
Portuguese to English
+ ...
What field is your BA in? Mar 16

I'd consider studying for two PGDips. or PGCerts. for the price of the MA - one in translation and one in another field that you'd like to specialise in, depending on your BA. I never cared for having to pay £3,000-4,000 for the privilege of writing a thesis which brings zero professional value in the long run, unless you have plans to do a PhD in the future.





[Edited at 2019-03-16 09:31 GMT]


 

Mithradates
United States
Local time: 08:56
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Background Mar 16

Thank you, all, for your responses!

So here's some more information.
- I hold a BA in Economics and French Literature, and a Masters degree in business. I have spent the past 15ish years working in the corporate world, and currently work as an executive in a tech company.
- I speak French and English as my first languages, German as a B language (lived / studied in Germany for many years), Italian as a C language.
- I'm looking into a 2nd career in translation, a
... See more
Thank you, all, for your responses!

So here's some more information.
- I hold a BA in Economics and French Literature, and a Masters degree in business. I have spent the past 15ish years working in the corporate world, and currently work as an executive in a tech company.
- I speak French and English as my first languages, German as a B language (lived / studied in Germany for many years), Italian as a C language.
- I'm looking into a 2nd career in translation, and the advice I have gathered so far is this:
1) Get a degree in translation if you can. Hence the question on Bristol vs the Open U. Not a must-have, but always a positive sign for potential employers.
2) Get certified - e.g., the ATA here in the US and / or specific certifications for court translations here.
3) Try to build some translation experience even before (1) and (2) - perhaps via volunteer work at Translators w/o Borders, or pro bono translations for NGOs.
4) Specialise in something (based on my background, I guess my specialities would be marketing, corporate strategy and technology, although what I don't know is whether these are "valuable" specialities to have."

Hope that helps provide context. As for the Bristol vs Open U debate, I'm leaning towards Bristol for now, if only because, at least outside of the UK, Bristol will have more value than the 100% distance learning uni reputation that the Open U has (even if the specific MA Translation I am looking into at Bristol is via distance learning too). Further, Bristol's been doing this degree for longer than the Open U, which leads me to infer that their course material might be superior. And third, Bristol allows one to take electives to focus on two source languages - Open U only allows one.

Both courses offer a mix of translation theory (25%), lots of practice in general and specialised translation (50-60%), and some electives focused on practical skills such as CAT skills or a run-down on the translation industry (15-25%), so I find that this part isn't quite the differentiator. As I mentioned earlier, the cost of either programme is not a prohibitive factor, and in fact, the costs of both programmes are quite comparable for now (though, as some have said here, that might change once we have more clarity on the Brexit timeline - i.e. my EU citizenship may no longer allow me to pay the same fees as UK students at some point).

Eager to hear from anyone who may have feedback either on the next steps I am considering (degree, certifications, volunteer translations etc) or on my choice of Bristol versus Open U.
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Kate Chaffer
Italy
Local time: 17:56
Member (2009)
Italian to English
US residence? Mar 18

poissonrouge wrote:

- i.e. my EU citizenship may no longer allow me to pay the same fees as UK students at some point).



It's not your EU citizenship alone that entitles you to pay EU fees. See:

https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Fees-and-Money/England-fee-status#layer-6082

3. EU nationals, and family

In order to qualify for 'home' fees under this category, you must meet all of the following criteria:

(a) on the first day of an academic year of your course, you must be:

an EU national; or
the relevant family member of a non-UK EU national, and that non-UK EU national is in the UK as a self sufficient person, student, or worker; or
the relevant family member of a UK national;

and

(b) you must have been ordinarily resident in the EEA and/or Switzerland and/or the overseas territories for the three years before the first day of the first academic year of the course (if you do not meet this requirement, see the Special Provision below); and

(c) the main purpose of your residence in the EEA/Switzerland/overseas territories residence area must not have been to receive full-time education during any part of the three-year period (if you do not meet this requirement, see the Special Provision below).

If you are resident in the US, this might change things considerably financially.


Eliza Hall
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
image or exp Mar 18

 Considering your 15+yrs background and a recent multi-million cheating and bribery scandal in "elite" universities, I still cannot see why you allegedly can't translate at least in your fields--you need:
(1) more exp -or- (2) just a certificate?

 While volunteering is fine sometimes, but why working for grant-eaters (NGOs) pro bono? They can afford paying good rates and paid me well on time.

  You're right that diversification is a must nowadays, yet it may go far beyond just two options, let alone translating (editing, proofreading, rewriting, copywriting, transcreating...) or even interpreting (simultaneous, consecutive, elbow...)

 Provided you've got enough biz exp, how about playing big--starting your own company and sub/contract many other freelancers, who are struggling to improve their professional skills?

Cheers

[Edited at 2019-03-18 20:50 GMT]


 

Eliza Hall
United States
Local time: 11:56
Member (2018)
French to English
+ ...
French or Swiss universities? Mar 18

Kate Chaffer wrote:

It's not your EU citizenship alone that entitles you to pay EU fees. ...In order to qualify for 'home' fees under this category...

(b) you must have been ordinarily resident in the EEA and/or Switzerland and/or the overseas territories for the three years before the first day of the first academic year of the course (if you do not meet this requirement, see the Special Provision below)... If you are resident in the US, this might change things considerably financially.


Bingo. OP, it sounds like you can't get EU fees for studies in the UK. Have you looked into doing a master's in translation at a French or Swiss university? For domestic courses (i.e. degrees aimed at French or Swiss people, as opposed to ones targeting primarily foreign students), they don't charge higher fees depending on citizenship or residence.

Here's an MA in translation at the U of Geneva: https://www.unige.ch/fti/fr/enseignements/ma-traduction/

Also have a look at French universities. They often have "enseignement à distance" options where you would only need to go to France once or twice, for exams, and you can do the rest at home. You could also look into French-speaking Belgian universities (about which I know nothing).


 

Mithradates
United States
Local time: 08:56
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Home fees Mar 18

Very interesting, thank you. Looks like I will indeed not be eligible for home fees in the UK as I left France more than 3 years ago. Argh

The Open U, Bristol and a couple of other British unis are unfortunately the only ones who offer an MA in Translation via distance learning, to the best of my knowledge. I have looked up German / French / Swiss / Belgium unis, and do not believe they offer such a programme via dis
... See more
Very interesting, thank you. Looks like I will indeed not be eligible for home fees in the UK as I left France more than 3 years ago. Argh

The Open U, Bristol and a couple of other British unis are unfortunately the only ones who offer an MA in Translation via distance learning, to the best of my knowledge. I have looked up German / French / Swiss / Belgium unis, and do not believe they offer such a programme via distance learning.
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Open Uni versus Bristol for MA Translation

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