UN internship leads to MA Interpreting and Translating at Bath
Sian Valvis completed an internship at the United Nations after her undergraduate degree, which led her to study MA Interpreting and Translating at Bath.
If you love languages and see translation and interpreting as vital tools to aid communication and understanding in today’s globalised world, then this is the course for you. Go for it!
Why did you decide to study MA Interpreting and Translating at the University of Bath?
'I applied to study MA Interpreting and Translating at Bath because of its excellent reputation and strong links to international institutions. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I completed an internship at the United Nations where my colleagues were MA graduates from various institutions across the UK and Europe.
'As they shared their experiences with me it became clear that the structure of the course at Bath, as well as the encouraging approach of the Department, would be the ideal environment to prepare me for my career. No other course stood out in the same way. I’m pleased to say the reality has not only met but exceeded my expectations.'
What did you enjoy most about the course?
'I’ve particularly enjoyed our interpreting classes. We were constantly given feedback on our individual performance by teachers and peers. It sounds daunting, but it was incredibly useful to have personalised comments on what is working well and how to improve. The groups were small so there was a real sense of solidarity among us. I always left my interpreting class happier than when I went in.
'Russian was my weakest language, so the idea of interpreting a Russian speech simultaneously into English just seemed unfathomable, yet now it’s my strongest skill. My placement at the UN in Geneva also helped me hone my sim skills. You practise and practise, until something clicks and you realise you can do it. I know it’s a cliché but it is thrilling.
'Translation was a very challenging component of the course, but I always felt supported. Lecturers provided detailed and thoughtful feedback, and were always available to go over work individually. It is thanks to this support I’d like to continue with translation after finishing the course.'
What are your future career plans?
'I definitely feel prepared to embark on my career, as a freelancer, in both translation and interpreting. I hope to do a translation internship in St Petersburg, then establish a solid client base as a freelance translator. This would allow me the freedom to travel, working from anywhere; all I’ll need is an Internet connection!
'I would also like to work towards taking the UN’s freelance interpreting exams, allowing me to work in most international institutions.'
What advice would you give to language students interested in studying interpreting and translating?
'Before starting the course at Bath I had deferred my place, fearing I still needed to improve my languages. The truth is, you will never feel ready. Nothing prepared me for how much the course would change my life. If you love languages and see translation and interpreting as vital tools to aid communication and understanding in today’s globalised world, then this is the course for you. Go for it!'