Translation Course

Arts and Languages offers a unique French into English Distance Translation Course with highly qualified and experienced translators and educators. Offering invaluable feedback and linked to City University, it has been designed for those wishing to prepare for the Institute of Linguists' Diploma of Translation Exam or who simply wish to become translators. One of our Course Consultants is a French into English translator with twenty years' successful experience in translating both in London and Paris. He has worked both in-house and freelance for various companies and agencies. Adding to his experience, a Project Manager at a London translation agency acts as a consultant for the course, providing up-to-date information on developments in the commercial translation world, such as best practice and issues connected to translation software. Students who enrol on one of our courses will be invited to take a test at her agency, with a view to securing paid work, if successful.

On the course, students are sent exam-type texts with agreed deadlines for each assignment. The work is then marked and returned with detailed feedback, aimed at helping you succeed in the exam. You also receive notes on translating for success, suggested reading and useful web sites.In the first instance, please contact Sally Horan, who has been a Visiting Lecturer at City Unversity for over 15 years.

Course Outline

There are three modules. Ideally, you should take all three in order to translate enough papers to be ready for the exam. Those who have some translation experience may be suitable to jump to Module 2, but we would seriously encourage you to start with Module 1 to benefit fully from our combined knowledge and experience and to be as prepared as possible for the exam.

Module 1 – Taster Course: An introduction to professional translating

This module is for those people with little or no translating experience and who would like to taste the water. On this module, there are six assignments in total. For your first assignment, you will be set a pre-translation exercise to break you in gently and you will be asked to consider what it means to successfully translate in the commercial world. What are the linguistic and meta-linguistic issues that come into play? The ensuing assignments will be five different text-types reflecting Papers 2 and Papers 3 of the exam. Although timing is not irrelevant, on this module you will be encouraged to carry out as much research as possible on the given text, so that you make the translation the very best you can without time constraints. You will also be encouraged to read at least one seminal book on translation theory. At the end of this module, you will have a deeper understanding both on a theoretical and practical level, of what it means to translate in the commercial world. You will also have tried a broad range of papers, thus establishing where your strengths and weaknesses lie or simply your preferred text-types. This information will inform your choices for Module 2.

Course Fee: £295 (Also payable in euros.)

Module 2 – Developing your translation skills with preferred texts

On Module 2, the aim is to really increase the number of words you translate and so you will receive and translate eight exam-type papers in total. You will build on what you have learnt in Module 1 and you will again be given detailed feedback on all texts: two General-type assignments, three Paper 2-type assignments and three Paper 3-type assignments. You will be encouraged to systematically build up articles and reference materials that will reinforce and then extend your subject knowledge in the various text types, as you do each translation. The best approach to glossary building will also be discussed and, in preparation for the exam, you will be encouraged to read more about the institutions of France and other francophone countries. By the middle of this module, at the latest, you will be expected to consider your timing and speed up if necessary. In the IoL exam, if a candidate fails to translate 5% of the paper, then he/she automatically fails.

Course Fee: £325 (Also payable in euros.)

Module 3 Exam Preparation

This module requires the utmost discipline in terms of timing and deadlines. You will again be sent and receive detailed feedback on eight assignments: two General-type assignments, three Paper 2-type assignments and three Paper 3- type assignments. You will be expected to do all of these assignments in the allotted time. Clearly, as you are doing this at home, it will be your self discipline alone that ensures that this happens. It is very important to keep to this in order that the exam does not come as a shock on the day. In any case, this replicates the working conditions of a professional translator. You will also be warmly encouraged to stick to deadlines – again good practice for your new life as a translator. On this module, we will also consider the latest developments in translation and you will be advised about translation software and the next steps to take after you have taken the Diploma of Translation at the Institute of Linguist. Exam strategy will also be covered.

Mock Exam (Optional)

For those seeking a Mock Exam, pre the big day, you may ask for three more papers (payable) which you will do at home all in one day, replicating exam conditions as closely as possible. These will be marked according to the IoL marking criteria and sent back to you by an agreed deadline. There will also be an indicative mark suggesting where we think you would pass or fail an exam or whether it is, in our view, borderline. More information provided on request.

Course Fee: £325 or with Mock Exam £425 (Also payable in euros)

Method Of Working

You will be sent your assignments of between 450-600 words in length by email. We agree deadlines for each text and we guarantee to mark your work within a week – usually it is quicker. They are then returned to you by e-mail. Aside from the feedback, there are also two optional Skype or phone tutorials per module. (The student calls the tutor).

Start Dates

There are three traditional starts of term – in January, April and September, but you are free to start in other months too and we will agree on a set-period in which you will complete the assignments. You are free to choose the module which you think is best for them, but we will be happy to discuss your choice with you, if you are not sure.

Who is the course for?

The course is suitable for:

  • Post-graduate students of French considering a career in translation
  • Practising Translators who are looking to get the IoL qualification or who simply wish to deepen their knowledge about translation theory
  • People who have lived and or worked in a francophone country and have reached a very good understanding of written French
  • Anyone who has appropriate linguistic competence and is looking for a new challenge!

Feedback from previous students:

  • "Very useful course, the assignments were just the right standard, sufficiently challenging, but not too daunting."
  • "Excellent. The course has been a tremendous experience. Tutorials also provided a good opportunity to ask questions."
  • "My tutor is conscientious and constructive in her correcting of assignments and quick too! It's nice to get the work back so promptly!"
  • "Extremely helpful comments, always useful points to think about for future translations. Also, very prompt return of assignments, which was helpful as the texts were still fresh in my mind when reading her comments.
  • "I made significant progress. This course has given me things which no amount of on-the-job work practice can deliver!"
  • "Excellent. I am new to distance-learning, but I am converted to the cause."

We are confident that you will enjoy the course, learn a great deal and, by the end of the three modules, feel ready to take the IoL exam. Please contact us now to discuss your particular needs.