A translation degree will be available in Fall 2016 at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Bachelor of Science degree in translation and interpretation (T&I) is the first of its kind in Michigan. The announcement came yesterday.
According to the press release, the Aquinas T&I program “…is designed for students who are looking to work in a variety of settings such as government, business, medical, legal, education or industry, for translation agencies or as freelance translators.”
The High Demand for Translation and Interpretation
Translators and interpreters are in high demand. The job outlook for translators and interpreters is excellent. And when I say “excellent,” I mean a rate of job growth that is four times the national average.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 29 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.”
By comparison, the projected change in employment for all occupations in the U.S. economy is 7 percent.
The takeaway? Students have a bright future in translation.
And while a translation degree isn’t a requirement to enter the industry, it gives the aspiring freelancer a big leg up.
The Aquinas T&I Degree in Detail
The translation degree at Aquinas will offer French, German, and Spanish concentrations. (The school also offers a minor in Japanese language.) Three components make up each concentration: language and culture study, professional language, and subject-area specialty.
Language and Culture
Students will take courses in grammar, writing, and culture. Translators need to have superb writing ability in their target language (also called the A language). In addition, they need near-native reading ability in their source language (the B language).
Interpreters also have a dominant language. But they need to be able to operate very well in both their A and B languages.
This component deals with issues specific to translation. Translation theory and computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools will be taught. The degree description doesn’t offer specifics, but I imagine that tools such as SDL Trados and memoQ will figure into the curriculum.
Students in the translation degree program at Aquinas will have to take either a minor or a second major. In my opinion, this is very smart on the college’s part. A translator with education and/or experience in a non-language field is a better translator than one without.
The same goes for interpreting. My own recommendation to T&I majors is to pick a specialty that is in demand. Fields such as medicine and law come to mind.
Translation Degree One of a Kind
Aquinas has created the only translation and interpretation program in Michigan. That’s not a bad distinction! It will be interesting to see if more universities across Michigan and the U.S. start offering T&I degrees in the next few years.
If you want to know what it’s like to work as a translator, then read our interview with Mariam Bagayoko or learn how Maggie, one of our team members, became a freelance translator.