https://wiki.proz.com/forum/professional_development/335267-has_anyone_done_a_masters_degree_in_translation_at_heriot_watt_university_edinburgh.html

Has anyone done a Masters degree in translation at Heriot Watt University Edinburgh?
Thread poster: Carina Obster

Carina Obster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:46
English to German
+ ...
Jun 6

... and what are your experiences?

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:46
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Carina and @everyone else Jun 6

1. You could try contacting translators who studied at Heriot individually. There are ... See more
1. You could try contacting translators who studied at Heriot individually. There are 9 paying members and 138 non-paying members worldwide who have "Heriot" in their profile or on their CV. I suggest visiting all of those profile pages and checking which of them did the masters programme in translation. You'll get a much better response than here in the forum.

2. For those who are dying to respond without having studied there, the current master programmes are here. They're all 1-year courses, except for the Chinese ones.


[Edited at 2019-06-06 08:01 GMT]
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Jorge Payan
 

Carina Obster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:46
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well, thank you... Jun 6

Samuel Murray wrote:

For those who are dying to respond without having studied there, here are the current master programmes: https://search.hw.ac.uk/s/search.html?f.Subject|coursesubject=Interpreting%20and%20Translating&collection=programmes&f.Level|courselevel=Postgraduate%20taught&f.Level|courselevel=Postgraduate%20research
They're all 1-year courses, except for the Chinese ones.


[Edited at 2019-06-06 07:30 GMT]


... but people who haven't studied there won't respond anyway, don't you think? 😁


 

Manuela Junghans  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:46
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Hi Carina Jun 6

I have studied for a Masters there, but a very very long time ago. So absolutely not up-to-date with developments.

However, a fellow Edinburgh based translator has been teaching there for a long time, and I´m sure he would be able to answer your questions.

His name´s Ramon Inglada, and I hope he´ll forgive me for pointing you his way

Just one thing I can say for sure. You definitely won´t
... See more
I have studied for a Masters there, but a very very long time ago. So absolutely not up-to-date with developments.

However, a fellow Edinburgh based translator has been teaching there for a long time, and I´m sure he would be able to answer your questions.

His name´s Ramon Inglada, and I hope he´ll forgive me for pointing you his way

Just one thing I can say for sure. You definitely won´t regret coming to Edinburgh to study. A beautiful city that has lots to offer in every respect.

Good luck with you endeavours.

Manuela
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Mr.Q
 

Joe France  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:46
Member (2016)
German to English
+ ...
What do you want to know? Jun 6

Hi Carina,

I did my Masters in Translating and Interpreting at Heriot Watt in 2015-16. What exactly would you like to know?

I found the course to be wide-ranging and challenging, though perhaps with too little guidance in terms of picking courses for someone entirely new to the field (my undergrad was languages and I knew very little about translation as a career and what that would entail). However, you seem to have more experience than I did back then, so perhaps you'
... See more
Hi Carina,

I did my Masters in Translating and Interpreting at Heriot Watt in 2015-16. What exactly would you like to know?

I found the course to be wide-ranging and challenging, though perhaps with too little guidance in terms of picking courses for someone entirely new to the field (my undergrad was languages and I knew very little about translation as a career and what that would entail). However, you seem to have more experience than I did back then, so perhaps you'd have a better idea of what electives to pick.

There was quite a heavy focus on the theory of translation, to the extent that practice appeared secondary. This seemed somewhat unusual compared to my interpreting classes which, while they introduced theories, were predominantly practice-based and highly intensive. While I appreciate that this is a difficult balance to strike, it also depends what you're looking for. The course does demand a high degree of independence from students, but teaching staff were, without exception, friendly, approachable and very knowledgeable.

In terms of facilities, HW is a long way outside of the city centre (approx 1 hr by bus) and some postgrads choose to stay on campus, which is quiet and leafy. The commute is crowded and unpleasant - it is, however, just about the only downside to Edinburgh, which is otherwise the best city on earth... in my humble opinion, anyway.

The University of Edinburgh also offers a Masters in Translation. I believe that it is longer (perhaps 2years, not sure) and has a slightly different focus, from what I remember. That said, I have formed classmates from both institutions who have gone on to work for agencies, as freelancers, for major corporations and international governmental institutions. The two institutions have excellent facilities but are in very different settings, the UoE being at the heart of Old Town.

If there's anything else you want to know, or if you want to contact me via my profile, don't hesitate to get in touch. Good luck!
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Carina Obster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:46
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Jun 6

Manuela Junghans wrote:

I have studied for a Masters there, but a very very long time ago. So absolutely not up-to-date with developments.

However, a fellow Edinburgh based translator has been teaching there for a long time, and I´m sure he would be able to answer your questions.

His name´s Ramon Inglada, and I hope he´ll forgive me for pointing you his way

Just one thing I can say for sure. You definitely won´t regret coming to Edinburgh to study. A beautiful city that has lots to offer in every respect.

Good luck with you endeavours.

Manuela


... Yes, maybe I'll contact him


 

Carina Obster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:46
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you so much for your extensive reply, Joe! Jun 6

Joe France wrote:

Hi Carina,

I did my Masters in Translating and Interpreting at Heriot Watt in 2015-16. What exactly would you like to know?

I found the course to be wide-ranging and challenging, though perhaps with too little guidance in terms of picking courses for someone entirely new to the field (my undergrad was languages and I knew very little about translation as a career and what that would entail). However, you seem to have more experience than I did back then, so perhaps you'd have a better idea of what electives to pick.

There was quite a heavy focus on the theory of translation, to the extent that practice appeared secondary. This seemed somewhat unusual compared to my interpreting classes which, while they introduced theories, were predominantly practice-based and highly intensive. While I appreciate that this is a difficult balance to strike, it also depends what you're looking for. The course does demand a high degree of independence from students, but teaching staff were, without exception, friendly, approachable and very knowledgeable.

In terms of facilities, HW is a long way outside of the city centre (approx 1 hr by bus) and some postgrads choose to stay on campus, which is quiet and leafy. The commute is crowded and unpleasant - it is, however, just about the only downside to Edinburgh, which is otherwise the best city on earth... in my humble opinion, anyway.

The University of Edinburgh also offers a Masters in Translation. I believe that it is longer (perhaps 2years, not sure) and has a slightly different focus, from what I remember. That said, I have formed classmates from both institutions who have gone on to work for agencies, as freelancers, for major corporations and international governmental institutions. The two institutions have excellent facilities but are in very different settings, the UoE being at the heart of Old Town.

If there's anything else you want to know, or if you want to contact me via my profile, don't hesitate to get in touch. Good luck!



This basically covers everything I wanted to know. Wide-ranging is definitely a criterium for me to choose this university. I was also looking for a practice-based course and thought that HWU was offering more practical translation classes than UoE (UoE puts its focus on theory of literature and culture, which I love, but at this point it's simply impractical for me to go further in this direction).

Oh yes, I saw today that it is not exactly IN Edinburgh - but me and my husband wanted to look for a flat in the outskirts anyway.

Had a look at old Forum posts and so far, all former students recommend HW


Joe France
 

Joe France  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:46
Member (2016)
German to English
+ ...
You're welcome! Jun 6

Carina Obster wrote:

I was also looking for a practice-based course and thought that HWU was offering more practical translation classes than UoE (UoE puts its focus on theory of literature and culture, which I love, but at this point it's simply impractical for me to go further in this direction).




I'd say that's probably fair - UoE (where I did my undergrad and loved) is wonderful but the entire course appeared, to me, to be rooted in contemporary theories of translation and a far more academic than practical approach. The HWU course is not perfect, but it has certainly opened doors for me. It still didn't *really* prepare me for work as a translator, but it was certainly a start.


Carina Obster wrote:

Oh yes, I saw today that it is not exactly IN Edinburgh - but me and my husband wanted to look for a flat in the outskirts anyway.



Yep, so it's just outside the city bypass. My advice would be to find bus routes (see Lothian Buses) that serve HW and base your search for accommodation on that. Even relatively central areas such as Gorgie, Morningside, Marchmont, Slateford, Fountainbridge and Bruntsfield offer plenty of accommodation and are on the right side of the city for HWU. Many international students often make the error of opting to stay as close to the uni as possible - I'd advise against staying just within the city bypass (i.e. Sighthill/Saughton) as those are some of the less-wonderful bits of Edinburgh. Otherwise, enjoy a wonderful city and a very, very good uni!


Carina Obster
 

Carina Obster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:46
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Joe: Just one last question... Jun 6

Joe France wrote:

Carina Obster wrote:

I was also looking for a practice-based course and thought that HWU was offering more practical translation classes than UoE (UoE puts its focus on theory of literature and culture, which I love, but at this point it's simply impractical for me to go further in this direction).




I'd say that's probably fair - UoE (where I did my undergrad and loved) is wonderful but the entire course appeared, to me, to be rooted in contemporary theories of translation and a far more academic than practical approach. The HWU course is not perfect, but it has certainly opened doors for me. It still didn't *really* prepare me for work as a translator, but it was certainly a start.


Carina Obster wrote:

Oh yes, I saw today that it is not exactly IN Edinburgh - but me and my husband wanted to look for a flat in the outskirts anyway.



Yep, so it's just outside the city bypass. My advice would be to find bus routes (see Lothian Buses) that serve HW and base your search for accommodation on that. Even relatively central areas such as Gorgie, Morningside, Marchmont, Slateford, Fountainbridge and Bruntsfield offer plenty of accommodation and are on the right side of the city for HWU. Many international students often make the error of opting to stay as close to the uni as possible - I'd advise against staying just within the city bypass (i.e. Sighthill/Saughton) as those are some of the less-wonderful bits of Edinburgh. Otherwise, enjoy a wonderful city and a very, very good uni!



Thanks again! I have one question which just crossed my mind: What about the exams? Is one allowed to use a dictionary (which would be very helpful, considering that I have to translate into the non-native language English)? Or are these translation projects, to be completed at home?


 

Joe France  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:46
Member (2016)
German to English
+ ...
No big deal Jun 6

Carina Obster wrote:

Thanks again! I have one question which just crossed my mind: What about the exams? Is one allowed to use a dictionary (which would be very helpful, considering that I have to translate into the non-native language English)? Or are these translation projects, to be completed at home?



The exams varied depending on the elective, as far as I can remember. I think most of the exams for the general translation modules were take-home, 24-hour exams (for, say, 2000 words - so nothing too strenuous). I took a subtitling module, which was excellent, and involved a 5-hour exam to subtitle a spotted video. There were also more general modules open to translation/interpreting students – such as International Relations, which I think was predominantly if not fully coursework-based. The interpreting exams were far more strenuous - but if you're focusing on translation, then the exams at HW are nothing to worry about. I mean, it's possible things have changed since then, but I don't imagine there's been a radical transformation.

The course also offers technical translation modules and modules that focus on mastering different CAT tools, so it is possible to choose a very practical path, if that's what you're after. I'd also mention that the languages department organises plenty of careers-focused events (some of which are very good) and is affiliated with CUITI and CIOL, so there's plenty of opportunities to network with useful people.


 

Rachel Musselle
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:46
Member (Jun 2019)
Spanish to English
I didn't go there but I may have some advice... Jun 6

Carina Obster wrote:

... and what are your experiences?


Hi Carina,

I didn't go to Heriot Watt so excuse me for jumping in! However I did research pretty much every university in the UK that offered a translation MA when I chose mine in 2017. I found that pretty much every course predominately focused on theory (nothing wrong with theory, but I wanted to improve my practical skills). The only course that had a nice mix of both was the University of Portsmouth MA in Translation Studies. You are required to do 2 compulsory theory modules (with weekly seminars for practical translation) which I found really helpful as you get the best of both worlds. For the optional modules, there's a wide range of options such as business skills, technical translation, translation technologies, just to name a few. In my opinion, it's a fantastic course because it actually prepares you for work as a translator instead of solely focusing on theory. Sarah Bawa-Mason (who has just stepped down as chair of ITI) runs part of the course and I believe she is the one who developed the practical side to the course because she felt that too many courses only focused on theory and therefore didn't prepare translators for real-life work in the industry.

Rachel


 

Carina Obster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:46
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Then I'm relieved... Jun 6

Joe France wrote:

Carina Obster wrote:

Thanks again! I have one question which just crossed my mind: What about the exams? Is one allowed to use a dictionary (which would be very helpful, considering that I have to translate into the non-native language English)? Or are these translation projects, to be completed at home?



The exams varied depending on the elective, as far as I can remember. I think most of the exams for the general translation modules were take-home, 24-hour exams (for, say, 2000 words - so nothing too strenuous). I took a subtitling module, which was excellent, and involved a 5-hour exam to subtitle a spotted video. There were also more general modules open to translation/interpreting students – such as International Relations, which I think was predominantly if not fully coursework-based. The interpreting exams were far more strenuous - but if you're focusing on translation, then the exams at HW are nothing to worry about. I mean, it's possible things have changed since then, but I don't imagine there's been a radical transformation.

The course also offers technical translation modules and modules that focus on mastering different CAT tools, so it is possible to choose a very practical path, if that's what you're after. I'd also mention that the languages department organises plenty of careers-focused events (some of which are very good) and is affiliated with CUITI and CIOL, so there's plenty of opportunities to network with useful people.


... because I will focus entirely on translation. I'm planning on doing this rather special (new?) degree programme: https://www.hw.ac.uk/study/uk/postgraduate/translating-for-business-with-entrepreneurship.htm
(German and Chinese)
- so if my humble plan of becoming a freelance translator doesn't work out I could still join the language/communications department of some company, I guess/hope (I used to despise the business world, but recently I found it might offer some interesting new perspectives/things to learn).


 


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