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  • Writer's pictureSarah Jamieson

Studying Translation at the Open University

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

I have recently completed my Master's degree thesis and I would like to share my thoughts of completing a professional qualification in translation. I specialised in Spanish to English translation and I wrote a translation and commentary on a Spanish work of popular nutrition. I really enjoyed doing this and learnt a great deal.

Why. you may ask, did I choose to study for a Master's degree when I already had translation experience? I had great language skills, developed from living in Italy and in French and Spanish-speaking countries. I had a decade's experience of working with people from other countries. Yet, I had no translation qualification and I wanted to be taken seriously. That's why, just why under two years ago, that I set out on my first module of the course. That seems a very long time ago now :-)

I chose to study online as I really wanted to develop my online languages business and get set up as a fully self-employed person without wanting to wait. It was also a lot cheaper and practical than a face to face course. No commuting and I could combine it with freelancing. Wonderful!

The last two years have been tough with many deadlines. But they have absolutely been worth it. I would now like to take you, my readers, through what I studied. The first module, L801, was Introduction to Translation Theory. We learnt everything about the different theoretical schools of translation, from linguistic based theories to the development of the cultural turn. It was a steep learning curve but I learnt so much from each assignment.

The next module, L802, started about six months after starting the course. This was my favourite module because it was much more practical based. We were able to apply the theory to different specialist areas. This was where I discovered my passion for medical and health translation. I have always been really interested in medicine and I feel that I am making a really useful contribution to the world while doing so. I also became fascinated by literary translation. Although I have worked, and expect to work, mainly in commercial translation it would be a dream of mine to translate literature. This way I could combine my English literature degree with my passion for foreign languages.

As I said at the beginning of this blog, I wrote a commentary on an extensive translation that I did for the final module of the course, L803. I found this part of the course tough but I learnt so much from research methods and from my excellent tutor who teaches at the University of Cambridge. My result is not yet known yet, but in the meantime I have a Diploma in Translation from the Open University. Such a brilliant, collaborative, inclusive experience that I would highly recommend to others.

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