Our report on translator productivity dissected a troubling development – language service providers (LSPs) told us they had a tough time finding enough qualified translators (see “Translation Future Shock," Apr12). As we discussed some of the findings with LSPs, managing directors and CEOs expressed their anxiety about the decreasing availability of qualified language specialists. During the six-year duration of our Global Business Confidence Survey, LSPs consistently flagged difficulties in finding qualified staff as one of their top concerns. Furthermore, cutbacks in higher-education programs in the United States threaten the future supply of academically trained translators.
However, some U.S. colleges have been expanding their offerings, including the Monterey Institute, New York University (NYU), and most recently the University of Maryland (UMD). We recently spoke with Milena Savova, director of the year-old master’s degree in translation at NYU, about changes to its program:
- NYU is expanding to include Chinese. Today’s program focuses on French and Spanish into English, with an emphasis on legal and financial translation and localization. Later this year NYU will launch a Chinese-to-English curriculum for students from China and the United States − they will be offered a broader range of courses, including technical, commercial, and journalistic translation. Chinese-speaking students will have access to free tutoring from NYU’s American Language Institute, its English-as-a-second-language program.
- The online program will add a physical presence. Students in the Chinese program will live on site at NYU where they will experience full immersion in English and be exposed to local institutions such as the United Nations, the New York Stock Exchange, and the city’s corporate headquarters, law firms, and banks. Savova noted that NYU will also extend the on-site option to its French and Spanish program, but she hasn’t seen any real demand yet for that option.
- The distributed faculty will be complemented with local instructors. The online program lets NYU draw on experts from around the world. It also incorporates practicing translators with academic credentials, some of whom have taught at NYU as adjunct faculty members for years. However, as NYU prepares for the onsite Chinese curriculum, it will hire more Chinese-speaking faculty with very strong English skills. These students will have both online and onsite instructors.
- Graduate students can take advantage of other NYU courses. Everyone in the master’s program can audit classes in NYU’s certificate in translation curriculum, offered online since 1998. Because of its long tenure, the certificate is supported by a variety of practical courses. Offered at no additional cost to its master’s candidates, it allows these master’s students to enhance their skills in areas not covered in their program, such as project management, computer-aided translation tools, medical translation, marketing and advertising, and even marketing their services.
The online master’s program, conducted over three semesters, will set a student back US$45,000. With translation and interpreting listed 15th among the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ fastest-growing professions at an average salary of US$43,300 and number 16 on the US News & World Report list, NYU graduates will quickly earn back their investment – especially as LSPs, corporations, government agencies, and NGOs seek the specialists they need to meet their clients’ expanding language needs. For more information about the program, visit the NYU website or contact Dr. Milena Savova.