Any thoughts on these translation and interpretation courses?


I have a slight interest in putting my Chinese skills to some use possibly through interpretation or translation. However I don’t have any experience or knowledge and certainly don’t want to sign up for an MA course just yet. Therefore I am just looking for a kind of toe-dipping course/ experience.

After some careful research today I have found these 2 courses in Kaohsiung offered by the outreach extension centre of Wen Hua University.

Interpreting - … ataId=2502

Written Translation - … ataId=2502

The schedule and the fees are all very acceptable to me but I was looking for some comments, feedback or advice before I sign up.


I didn’t read it. Given your post, though, you may want to ask if these credits from this course transfer to other universities for graduate credit if ever you decide to go for an MA.

They won’t. That was easy.

You should consider carefully that these courses are intended for native Chinese speakers, by and large. Most instructors will have no clue about what to do with you – particularly in the case of written transaltion. If it’s C>E, it might be okay; if it’s E>C, they will have not the faintest idea of how to help you improve.

Also, please note that ALL outreach, extension, continuing education, whatever translation and interpretation courses in Taiwan are cash cows. They are designed to play on the romantic notion that there are millions to be made with a little bilingual magic. They don’t provide professional-level training. A small minority of students might get the start there to go on on their own, practice a LOT, and do a lot of individual research, but these people are few and far between, and generally have an amazing level of languages to start with.

This was also my concern and kind of echoes some of the previous stuff I mentioned. Again, anything covering C>E will be of more use to you, professionally, and if they have native speakers of English teaching and marking C>E, then all the better. E>C “should” be good for your Chinese, but that depends on whether the lecturers will spend extra time marking your E>C translations, as ironlady said, they might not know how to help you in this area. One “trick” they do on many of these courses, and on the supposedly highly regarded academic courses, is to have the students mark each other’s work (fun). You might go about diligently finding every mistake in a classmate’s C>E translations, only to have the same classmate do a few ambiguous squiggles on your E>C translations :fume:

Anyway, if the course covers C>E and has native speakers of English (marking and teaching C>E), then that’s a good start!

C>E will probably not help much either, because typically the focus of C>E classes is how to say things in English – including fixing bad grammar, at the continuing education level. Discard any lofty ideas about people talking about the theory of translation, or making “choices” about wording.

Agreed. This sounds like amateur hour. I’ve never heard of the teacher and google doesn’t give much except for a book she co-translated with others. If you want to talk about translation with proven, published translators, I have a phonebook full of them. (One of my classmates has an extraordinarily extraordinary number of published books – 13 last I checked, but it’s probably more now – before age 30!)

That being said, if you want to make some friends and wouldn’t miss the money, what is there to lose?