Volume 7, No. 1 
January 2003


Chris Durban

Tim Martin

Brian Mossop

Ros Schwartz

Courtney Searls-Ridge





From the Editor
Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

Index 1997-2003

  Translator Profiles
How Not to Become a Translator
by Per Dohler

  The Profession
The Bottom Line
by Fire Ant & Worker Bee
It's a Small World
by Steve Vlasta Vitek
Translation: A Market in Crisis?
by Danilo Nogueira

Translators Around the World
Análisis de la demanda de traducción en un organismo público en las islas Baleares—El caso de la Dirección General de Economía
Lluch i Dubon, Ferran y Belmonte Juan, Roser
In Memoriam
Harvie Jordan, 1943-2002
by Patricia Bobeck
David Orpin, 1946-2002
by Geoffrey Pearl

  Literary Translation
Language Ambiguity: A Curse and a Blessing
by Cecilia Quiroga-Clare
Translation of Literary Style
by Song Xiaoshu, Cheng Dongming

  Translator Education
Translator Training & the Real World: Concrete Suggestions for Bridging the Gap — Part 1
Translator Training & the Real World: Concrete Suggestions for Bridging the Gap — Part 2

  Arts & Entertainment
Translation in a Confined Space—Film Sub-titling—Part 2
by Barbara Schwarz

  Caught in the Web
Web Surfing for Fun and Profit
by Cathy Flick, Ph.D.
Translators’ On-Line Resources
by Gabe Bokor

  Translators’ Tools
Close Windows. Open Doors
by Marc Prior
Translators’ Emporium

Translators’ Job Market

Letters to the Editor

Translators’ Events

Call for Papers and Editorial Policies
  Translation Journal

Translator Education


Translator Training & the Real World:

Concrete Suggestions for Bridging the Gap

Part 2


(Continued from Part 1)

Question from the floor:
I was wondering how you differentiate between content and priorities on a graduate course as compared with high school, undergraduate, and post-graduate courses. What professional skills do you address at each level?

Brian Mossop: I don't feel qualified to answer that since I have no experience with graduate training.

Ros Schwartz: I don't feel we can assume that all undergraduates are going to go on to do a postgraduate course. Some people might decide to stop after their first degree and then launch themselves on the market. So they do need to come out with the professional skills to operate as translators.

Peter Bush: I have something to add to what Brian said about this issue of not being able to simulate the conditions in which professionals work.

I am a translator of novels, and when I set up a Masters at Middlesex University in London, I tried to ensure students would have as "real" conditions as you will ever get in a university. We would have deadlines for coursework, and the postgraduates on the course would translate longer and longer sections of plays, novels or poems. Their teachers would act as editors, so there was training in self-editing, drafting and re-drafting, and in spotting what has to be researched beyond the obvious. Not the real world, but pretty professional nonetheless. The other hope was that in London one could recruit professional translators to act as tutors and thus students would begin to be involved in the scene of translators. The real difficulty was that of employing on a part-time basis professional translators within a university institution—the practicalities of proper rates of pay and reasonable contracts.

There is also the very important issue of the recognition of the practice of translation within postgraduate MA and Ph.D programs. On many higher education courses, practice is not allowed really or it's discouraged. And the same goes at the Ph.D. level.

Why is this?

Well, first because many of the programs in the UK recruit students from all over the world. This means the classes are multilingual, and it's seen as complicated to arrange tutoring for students translating into many different languages. It's easier to dwell on theory or history or the comparative literature aspects of translation.

There are thorny political issues. For many theorists, practice is not worthy of the name of scholarship, of "proper academic research".

We have been fighting this battle. In the first Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in the UK (a government exercise of research rating for subsequent distribution of funding) my translations at Middlesex were put into the European Studies panel—which panel would not recognize them. When I moved to the University of East Anglia—and also moved literary translation out of the school of linguistics into the school of English and American Studies where there is a well-established school of creative writing—my translations went into the next RAE as part of creative writing: "Translation into English" occupies a space in English literature. The university system at the highest level ultimately accepted my translations (and those of others!) as scholarly work because they are works of English creativity. And it was great to see my work alongside that of the late W G Sebald (in Michael Hulse's translations) in the same submission. (In the previous round, his novels had been rejected by the German panel as not "proper" research).

I think that there is also a real difficulty with corpus approaches and others informed by applied linguistics. Those of us who are working in universities should ask all translation studies scholars leading Masters and Ph.D programs: "do you recognize the practice of translations at these levels?"

Question from the floor: A few years ago I got my master's degree in translation. Yet now that I'm working as a free-lancer, I find people often say, "oh, you have a master's in translation, that's well and good, but what do you have in the way of technical training? Do you have a bachelor's in geology or do you have an MD, or where's your Ph.D. in physics?" I'm wondering if you could comment on specialization in light of this.

Ros Schwartz: Sometimes people have specialist knowledge that they haven't identified themselves. They might have a hobby, or play a musical instrument, or play a sport, or be great cooks. And yet they never make that connection with their translation work. So I often tell translation students to simply think about the different areas of their life. Often there is something they are a specialist at, but because it's a hobby or whatever, they don't see it as something that they could translate. It's important to encourage students to identify their existing specialist areas before they go off and acquire a whole new subject.

Chris Durban: I agree. And while I'm convinced that it is important to specialize, it's important, too, to make sure that you don't invest a lot of time taking night courses in a subject only to find that the market dries up under you. You have to keep your eye on the ball; you must track current events (in my field, anyway) to see what the subjects in demand are going to be. So you might start by making sure you have a grounding in, for example, accounting or investment theory, or macroeconomics. But you then follow the press to see which topics are hot or going to be hot in 6 months or a year—corporate governance? social responsibility? International Accounting Standards?—and you spend a lot of time reading, both to stay on top of the subjects you are currently translating and to bone up on new topics likely to hit your desk in a few months.

Germán José Pareja: I'm a Spanish translator in Vancouver. Courtney's remark about high school students who act as translators or interpreters for their family brought me back to my teenage days, when I was translating for my mom a lot—going to the doctor's and going to the store, all the while translating for Mom. And basically I couldn't wait to stop. I wanted to be a kid, go to the beach—I didn't want to translate!

So I hate to throw cold water on your idea, but at that point I really didn't want to have that role, no matter how good I was. (I don't actually know if I was good, but I was certainly better than my mom!) Nor did I have the skills at that time—I couldn't have gone on to become a professional translator because I didn't write well enough in English. I wanted to learn English more than anything; I didn't want to drop Spanish—I've always liked Spanish—but I wanted to learn English as well as possible. So back then I couldn't really have developed the skills you talk about. It takes an exceptional kid to move on from there to a career in translation and interpretation. OK, I did it, but I also took a 20-year break to study physics, seismology and all kinds of stuff before I returned to translation as a professional.

Courtney Searls-Ridge: Interestingly enough, the research shows that many kids do love it! But my point is that you can take these youngsters who have been self-selected as the family translator/interpreter in the schools and say to them "Your home language is a very valuable asset". Did any one tell you that then? That's the point of the research.

By the way, one of the researchers is here today, her name is Claudia Angelelli 1 from San Diego State University, and I'm sure she would be glad to explain more about it if anyone would like to talk to her later in the conference. But your comments are interesting, and I'm sure that there are some youngsters who feel that this role is burdensome.

Werner Richter: I'm a literary translator from Austria and my question concerns creative writing—which has been mentioned here—and how you teach it. For anyone teaching literary translation, it is clear that the benefits are vital, and that it is a very important subject, as I'm sure Ros and Peter would agree. But in the light of what Chris just said about not being able to write your way out of a handbag, or a paper bag or more likely a briefcase, I think it is important to acknowledge that creative writing skills are critical even for commercial, technical and scientific translators. In fact you all seem to agree on the importance of writing skills. So my question is to those who know what is being taught at universities. I'm a total field practitioner; I don't go to the universities any more. But I would like to know if creative writing is actually taught at universities nowadays. Is this happening at every level, not just to beginners but to everyone?

Tim Martin: I don't have the information you are asking for. So I can only offer views rather than facts as to what is actually being taught. But my point about introducing compulsory writing courses, both creative and technical writing, is the following: students don't actually know when they graduate what is good writing and what isn't. They simply don't know; they are not in a position to judge. And most of what they will be confronted with—what they are confronted with, certainly in my organization—is poor writing, not the well-formed writing of literary translation.

This makes it extremely important that fledgling translators be able to not just translate but to correct where necessary, to improve where necessary, and above all to be able to argue their case, on the telephone, or by e-mail with a client, or with an author, en connaissance de cause. They must know what they are talking about because they know that this is an ill-formed sentence.

In my opinion, that is really the root of a lot of trouble with institutional translations, where the translations are as bad as the originals, which should not be the case. We cannot expect perfect originals in my organization because most originals are not written by native speakers. They never have been and they never will be. And in the future, it's going to be even worse -

Chris Durban: Or better! Why not see poor writing by authors as an opportunity for translators to step in and provide an essential service?

Tim Martin: ... or better! You're right, thank you for that, Chris. But in any case, it's going to be even more difficult. But to get back to the question, one reason for introducing compulsory writing courses is to enable students to be able to make judgments about quality.

Comment from the floor: With all due respect, if you have a bad original you are going to have a bad translation. However maybe we are confusing things; if you have bad input perhaps you should not be hiring just translators but writers in that language. But then you are talking about an altogether different category of people. Remember, a translator is a translator.

Not long ago I heard one translator say that there was a Russian translator who translated Goethe in such a way that this Russian translation was better than Goethe himself. In which case, frankly, there was something wrong. That person was perhaps a great writer, but a bad translator. What I'm trying to say is that your source really is of importance, and as translators we are duty-bound to pass the message somewhat, including producing bad translations if it comes to that.

Tim Martin: Well, we have a difference of opinion here. I don't agree that it's a translator's duty to pass on poor quality writing and I never have thought that. But remember, we started off this session by noting that we have five panel members here from five niches, which means we are working in five different contexts.

In my context, which is an institutional political context, we would try to get a poor original improved. But if we don't succeed in getting the original improved, then we make damn sure that the ten—and it will soon be 22—translations are better than the original, and do not contain the mistakes of the original. It isn't even an ethical question for us, it is simply a question of practice. So we really do have a difference of opinion. But I certainly accept that there are contexts where what I am saying is not appropriate.

Ros Schwartz: To respond on that same point: in addition to being a literary translator, I am also a more commercial translator, that's how I make my living. Your comment raises several interlinked issues.

The word "slaves" was mentioned earlier, and the status of translators is closely bound up with how they see themselves. Somebody said earlier that translators are writers. We have to see ourselves not as the humble scribe or slave who does what they are told, but as writers who take a text and make it our own and do what needs to be done. Certainly when we're talking about commercial translations, that is the added value we provide as writers. When a client produces a piece of rubbish and calls it a press release and you know it's not going to do its job in your language, then you make it into a press release that will work in the target market. Otherwise there's no point doing it. And you tell your clients that that's what you're doing, and they pay you to do that.

That's how I make my living. So to say "well, the original was rubbish, I don't have to do very much with it" is absurd. There's no point.

This has to do with how we see ourselves. It has to do with having the confidence to say to a client, "I know what I'm doing, I know how to make this document do its job, and that's what I'm going to do for you. That's what you're paying me for." On the whole, I think they thank you for it.

Chris Durban: As Tim says, it's very much a question of market segment. The attractive ones in my particular field are without exception areas where your translation is often an improvement on the source text. And your clients want that. Bob and I are known to be specialized in finance, and yet I have never ever in 15-20 years on the market returned a text without at least one question and often many more. Our clients come to us because they value the fact that we ask questions: did you mean this, did you mean that, here, we'll change this over here, is that OK with you? We make our changes with the client's agreement, of course. But these clients have sought us out—and my point is that there is demand for translators who provide this service.

Comment from the floor: But in that case, where you are challenging the source text, it is not translating, it is rewriting.

Chris Durban: These clients consider it translation, and for them it is definitely a part of the translator's function. Where we think there might be some problems with the source text we point this out to the client. And they will sometimes—often—change their original, because for them the translation is not only a text that is "suitable for purpose" as a press release or whatever in the target language, it is also a safety net for the original. The translator is a new set of eyes looking at the text they've written, with a critical eye, taking it apart and putting it back together. If you work in this segment of the market you must accept that when clients order a "translation" this is what they want. In particular, you can't get yourself off the hook by claiming, after the fact, "oh, so you wanted a rewrite, well, you should have said so."

Roderick Miller: I have two comments on translator image and asking questions. I work in an international organization and our translation department is seen as a ghetto of foreign nationals, troublemakers and complainers. Why? Because we always ask questions. We are resented for that, because of course we have to deal with the hierarchy—a bureaucracy, with all the egos that you can imagine. But we make a principle of asking questions and of putting out translations that are almost always better than the originals. Yet it's at a certain price; we have to exist in that structure, so we can only push so far. I guess if you are successful in the private sector and you have clients who trust you, then you know exactly how far you can push. In a bureaucracy it's more complicated; that's my first point.

My second point concerns your remark about the astonishing number of graduates who can't write in their target language. We're desperate to find good translators and I think it's a scandal that people who can't write well in their target language ever graduate at all—which gets back to the schools.

Catherine Greensmith: I think we are probably the wrong kind of audience to be discussing that subject because we are all practicing translators and/or academics. My problem, as an academic in the United Kingdom, is that if we were to select only students who can write their own language and master a second language on top of that, we would have no more than ten graduates a year. That's a major problem, but from our point of view, whether you talk about undergraduates or postgraduates, the problem starts earlier than university—it starts at school.

Chris Durban: I take your point, Catherine, and it must be frustrating. But even so, it seems to me that the only option is to look into possible solutions—writing workshops, for example. Concrete input that will force the students to work on their native language writing skills.

I should mention that I have taught on a financial translation course in two different institutions in France and was astounded at the amount of time spent on translating into the students' non-native language (French thème). Other teachers and school administrators assured me that it was a good way to reinforce knowledge of language structure or some such—well, OK, if you say so. But given the limited number of contact hours teachers had with students, it struck me as highly unproductive. I wondered if it wasn't simply a tradition; the teachers and schools were used to doing things that way, so that's what they did. In my opinion, the time would have been far better spent working on developing writing skills in the students' native language—assuming expert teachers were available for that, of course.

Donncha O'Croinin: I'm from Ireland and I'd like to make two points.

The first concerns course design for a four-year and in most cases undergraduate course. Most universities are able to offer an ab initio course in a language where necessary—this is definitely the case throughout the UK, Ireland and in continental Europe. It seems to me that they should certainly be able to offer a course in writing skills and language skills in the students' own native language as part of a 4-year degree course in translation studies. There is an awful lot of padding in these courses that could well be jettisoned in favor of a decent native-language writing course.

My second point concerns the person who graduated with a master's degree and wonders how to explain to a prospective client that she has the skills necessary in a particular area. Here I think self-confidence is very important. What the person must know is where to get expertise in that particular area, and they must be able to convey that to a prospective client. For example, huge amounts of texts—huge corpora, huge amounts of reading material in a particular area—are available on line. Graduates have to know that, and know how to use it, and one way they can learn is by being taught precisely that in their undergraduate degrees. They also have to be able to convey this information to their prospective clients: "Hey, I'm not a graduate in geology, but I know where to get enough information that I need to do a decent translation for you."

Rhoda Roberts: I work at the University of Ottawa in Canada, and I'd just like to add some information here about writing courses. Most of the programs in Canada are fairly similar so what I say applies generally in this country: we have a minimum of between two and four writing courses per program in a 4-year undergraduate program, which gives you some idea. As far as an over-emphasis on computer courses is concerned, I don't think that's the case. We have a maximum of about two courses, and normally it's one course plus bits of other courses that take into account computer tools.

Chris Durban: Your information about writing courses is encouraging. As a matter of interest, who is teaching these? Are they professional writers or instead tenured staff who are teachers of other subjects and simply drafted to do this?

Rhoda Roberts: It depends. Some of them are tenured professors. In other cases they are part-time instructors who are professionals. It varies tremendously.

Ann Macfarlane: I'm with the American Translator's Association and I want to apologize a bit for the handout that you have. It shows a table of contents and an introduction from a book the American Translator's Association is preparing called "Programs in Translation Studies, an ATA Handbook". I have been involved in this for several years and I thought it would be useful for this session.

I do realize that we have a very different situation in the United States of America than in Canada or Europe. I already knew that. But I see it with greater intensity now because in the United States a BA in translation studies is almost non-existent. You can hardly get one. But if any of you are interested in some of the less orthodox ways that people are trying to deal with the need to train quality translators, this book might be of interest to you when it comes out in October. And it certainly does contain a wide variety of pieces.

The other thing I would like to say is that this session has somewhat relieved me of the piercing envy and despair that I feel when I look at all the other wonderful translation training programs elsewhere in the world, because I see that it's not only Americans who have trouble with writing!

Question from the floor: I'm a Spanish translator and court interpreter here in Vancouver. I want to return to the debate about whether to translate faithfully in the register and the quality of the original or whether to clean it up.

I think the questions you might want to ask yourself are, what is the purpose of the original message which you are translating and what is your target market. For example, is the message the point or is the true voice of the original speaker the point? In a political situation where you want to sound good, but perhaps aren't a very good speaker, you look a lot better if the translator comes along and cleans up your speech—and that's fine.

Yet as a court interpreter, I must be very careful not to alter the register of the person. The person may have a grade two education and it may be very important to make that clear. I am talking about interpreting here, but you can transfer that into translation too—when you need to know the level of education of the original writer, in which case you might want to keep the low register and poor grammatical rendition to reflect the true voice of the speaker. That can be important for decision-makers. If a judge, for example, receives a written statement from someone who says that they only had a grade two education, but this statement is speaking in my language—I have a university degree—then they will see a discrepancy. Something's wrong, but that's not the poor writer's fault; it was the translator who came and cleaned it up.

Chris Durban: Having a clear idea of the target market and purpose of the document is certainly best practice as far as I'm concerned.

Since Ann explained the ATA handouts, let me point out that you also have a one-page handout which sums up our talking points, plus copies of a column that I write for ITI Bulletin and the ATA Chronicle called "The Onionskin". This targets non-linguists and takes a close-up look at translation flops and success stories, which means it links into several points raised here today.

One thing I have found in researching Onionskin stories is that when clients who order a translation are caught out, they almost always did want a foreign-language text that read well. They did not mean garbage in, garbage out—that was not part of the deal.

I think this is not just a problem of vocabulary, but also of ethics. As we all know, depending on market conditions and other factors, there are still plenty of translators who try to cover their backside with excuses like "You think this is bad? You should see the original!" when they should have asked about the intended purpose of the document before starting. Frankly, I think this is irresponsible and simply not permissible from an ethical point of view. And it is certainly not good practice in marketing terms.

Jean-François Joly: I'm the director of the translation department for the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and I would like to come back to the practicum.

Someone commented on the role of translator associations in providing training opportunities. I see associations as a place where you can beat the drum, because many people in translator associations are also employers. It is where you can tell them about the advantages for employers in having student interns. In my department, we have two a year. We decided after trial and error that the best duration was 10 weeks. It's too short when the students are good, and quite long if not. But over that time we can get some value at the end of the training period.

You also referred to a teacher/translator swap; we have tried this only once, but I would be willing to try again. It's difficult to take your translators away from the job and tell them to teach, but easier to hire an academic as a translator—after all, most of us work during the summer but academics are often able to get away from their university. One person in our department taught under this arrangement and she enjoyed the experience very much. One of the benefits was that she was able to renew their stock of examples used in teaching. We also enjoyed having an academic with us because there was more analysis of what we were doing and this was useful for us. So maybe that's something you can do in a large organization like yours.

Question from the floor: I'm a bit embarrassed to come up here because I'm just starting out as a translator. I'm from Vancouver. I graduated in French and Spanish and I'm certified to translate into Czech and vice versa. I was wondering if you might have any good suggestions for someone like me, because in Western Canada there is absolutely no training other than the court interpreter training through Vancouver Community College. I have ordered some books through the Internet, but that's not enough. I know I have the talent for it; I feel confident in my ability to actually do the work, and I've done some already. But I would be very interested in doing a practicum... and I don't know if there are any opportunities out there for me since I am not a student of translation per se at this time.

Courtney Searls-Ridge: You might look into the ATA mentoring program. All participants are required to take a three-hour training on how to be a mentee or how to be a mentor. The training in this workshop gives potential mentees the skills they need to go off and find a mentor or an internship or practicum placement. This does take some initiative, of course, on the part of the mentee. I don't want to push it too hard, but this program is a benefit of being an ATA member. So if you are interested, you might consider looking into it.

Chris Durban: Professional association programs twinning a newcomer to the profession with an established practitioner are an attractive option. In the UK, ITI has a program like this. For that matter, I have long thought that there are many professional translators who have experience but who haven't made a direct contribution to training and feel guilty about it. A farsighted translation school could do worse than to set up a few internships with high profile translators or translation departments. They could then write up the results—recycle the news of how successful these internships were back into the translation community to encourage more practicing translators, both in-house and free-lance, to volunteer!

Antain Mac Lochlainn: I'm from Ireland. I was glad to hear the chair mention translating from mother tongue into the learned language—the second acquired language—which as we all know breaks the golden rule of professional translation. Because you are only really supposed to translate into your mother tongue.

I'd like to ask the opinions of the panel and the opinions of the audience on this one. This problem has arisen in training translators into the Irish language, but also into other languages of limited diffusion, like Welsh, Scottish, Gaelic and so on. The problem is that the students will not be fluent native speakers of these languages. Now, this is an imperfect situation, but there's not an awful lot we can do about it. There are only 30,000 native speakers of Irish and obviously that is a very limited pool to draw on.

In effect, we are dealing with a situation where we have to train advanced learners of Irish to become translators translating into Irish. As I say, this is an imperfect situation. But I would like the views of the panel on this one. I would also like to hear from members of the audience because I'm aware that this problem arises for other languages including Breton. And I think there is a course at the University of Lyon, too, in which native speakers of French translate into English—into their acquired language. So Irish is not a completely unique situation.

Brian Mossop: In our translation schools here in Canada every program has a compulsory course in translating into the second language, I'm talking about English/French translation—that is, in which I, as a native English speaker, would be translating into French.

Here in Canada a great many job descriptions call for translators to work mainly from English into French, but also occasionally from French into English, because employers don't want to hire a separate French to English translator; they don't have enough work. So the person who is a native speaker of French also has to translate in the opposite direction.

I've never thought this was a bad thing, and I used to translate into French some of the time. You can never become as fast, but you can learn formulae and learn to do certain types of texts quite well, which will satisfy the client. It's true that ideally you will have all your texts read much more closely by somebody who is a native speaker, if possible. But it works in practice; you can do it. In Canada, people do frequently translate into their second language. There's no problem.

Chris Durban: Allow me to react strongly to what you say, Brian. As always, practice here depends on the purpose and the context, and assumes that the buyer of the translation or the employer is aware of the problems that can result. It should be clear that in almost all cases the text produced this way will be a for-information, utilitarian sort of translation—which may be fine, depending on the context. But I admit I'm unconvinced, if only because of my experience, which is that people tend to overestimate the translator's abilities. And by "people" I mean both employers trying to avoid hiring a second translator, and translators trying to pay their rent or even motivated solely by an urge to "help out".

To take a very concrete example, since arriving in Vancouver I've seen some distinctly odd signs in French—and this is by no means a distinction between European French and Canadian French, what I'm talking about is English French. All I can assume is that some of the people doing the municipal signs around here were English-speakers prepared to translate into French, but not as skilled as you, Brian, and without a safety net! Seriously, say what you will, I don't think it's good practice and I think it is up to the translation industry to warn translation buyers and translators of the pitfalls. The results are all too often nothing that you would be very proud to sign your name to.

Tiina Kinnunen: Jos Suomessa ei kukaan kääntäisi väärään kieleen, ette ymmärtäisi tästäkään mitään. Translated that means "I'm a Finn". In Finland we always work both ways because there can only be about ten totally bilingual people in Finland who speak English and can translate into it. You know, who speak Finnish as well as a native speaker and can translate into English as their mother tongue. This is the reality for languages of not so small diffusion. Finnish has five million native speakers so it's not a very tiny language, but it's a difficult language, and it has a very limited exposure to the other world.

I think the EU has had a bit of a problem with finding Finnish translators. Almost all the translations inside the EU from Finnish into the other languages are made by Finns who translate into their second, third or fourth language. It's not, of course, the ideal situation but I disagree strongly that they are good translations. I mean they are very good and professional translations, and we always work in pairs so that we have a native editor. I use two or three editors depending on whether it's going to the British market or the North American market or the general European market, for example. This is the reality that a lot of the translators here have to live with. And they cannot afford to think that way.

Chris Durban: But what is interesting here is how you organize yourselves work in pairs, with a native speaker as editor. Finland entering the European Union created huge demand and it's hardly surprising there are not enough qualified translators.

Yet perhaps it shouldn't have been such a surprise: anybody who read the newspaper knew that Finland was going to join, so university departments could have started training students for this not-so-small niche market. Did they? (Are they doing it now? That's a sincere question; I have no idea.) Today there are a whole string of countries in Central Europe lining up to join the European Union in the not-so-distant future; are universities setting up courses now to ensure that there will be skilled translators to translate all relevant legislation and other documents? Sorry, that's a parenthesis. But the solution you've mentioned—working in pairs to make things flow better and have a safety net—is surely the way to go.

Tiina Kinnunen: Exactly. I would like to comment on training as well and practicums in Finland. Somebody said here that we should encourage people to join the professional associations. In my experience it is often the people who are actually practicing who frown upon students trying to enter the workforce. At one session at this conference, someone commented disapprovingly "well, they also hire students to do their work".

I think there's nothing wrong with that provided students get mentoring, their work is checked, and they receive useful feedback. That is the only way we can even think to be able to make a living when we actually get out of the university—and in Finland everybody gets a master's as their first degree, it's a 6- to 7-year course. So if you study for 6 or 7 years, you'll be around 27 or 28 when you graduate and then if you start trying to get experience at that point you'll be 45 before you will be earning anything. I think we should look into ourselves and into the mirror and not see the students as competitors but as our future allies.

Ros Schwartz: I can't resist telling you this little anecdote. I took on a trainee once as a "fledgling" to work with me. After two weeks, she decided she really didn't want to be a translator. It was much too difficult. So she went and got herself a "real job": she became the editor in a major art publication and has been one of my biggest clients for many years. So sometimes taking on a trainee brings benefits that you hadn't imagined.

Chris Durban: We are over time, so we will have to stop there. May I take this opportunity to thank both our panel members and you, the public, for being so energetic and articulate, and helping make this discussion so stimulating for everyone.

1 Developing the Talents and Abilities of Linguistically Gifted Bilingual Students: Guidelines for Developing Curriculum at the High School Level. The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, March 2002.