LCL Professors Peter Constantine and Jacqueline Loss and PhD student Charles Lebel conducted the workshop on April 13th about translation and the job market organized by LANGSA. First, Professor Constantine reflected on the role of translation within the academia today and pointed to a paradigm shift that took place in 2009. Until then, translation was not much discussed in academia and had not been emphasized in people’s resumes. Catherine Porter, the President of the MLA that year, spoke about how English language literary works were not enough. Her intervention, which argued that translations played an indispensible role to transmit knowledge across linguistic disciplines, completely changed the place of literary translations within the academic world. Professor Constantine mentioned a couple of helpful resources for translators: the free guides from the PEN organization and ULTA, and the MLA’s website guidelines for peer review, ‘Evaluating translations as scholarship’.
Professor Jacqueline Loss personalized the discussing by speaking about her own experiences with translations. Even though her advisor did not encourage her to pursue translations (they were not considered scholarly articles), the process of translating brought her into contact with living writers. Translating changed her relationship with Cuba. Not only did she become more informed about the country of her research, but also about her own country, as she accessed a kind of literature, culture and language that she hadn’t been exposed to before. Professor Loss recommended that scholars limit their translations to texts from their fields of specialization so that they can use their expertise to decipher the context and flavor of the lexicon from that particular time and place. She recommended the website ‘Words without borders,’ which contains helpful tools and resources.
PhD student Charles Lebel, who worked as a translation editor for Corporate translations, a leading, life science translation firm based in East Hartford, emphasized that translation extend to many different fields, for instance the thriving area of medical translation. His advice for prospective translators was to find points of intersection between their research interests and linguistic capabilities. Based on his own working experience, Lebel stressed how reputation plays a key role in the amount of work translators receive and how much they are paid. He added that many large business organizations have in-house translators and they are in high demand. Lebel pointed to the many available online resources such as translation message boards and the online translation company fiverr.com. The workshop ended with questions from students interested in working for the translation industry.
By Adriana Alcina