Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies

Interpreting and translation networks to boost routes into languages

Fri Jul 25 15:28:00 BST 2014

 
Members of the National Network for Interpreting and the National Network for Translation met to discuss how best to support language learning across the UK.

— Members of the National Network for Interpreting and the National Network for Translation met to discuss how best to support language learning across the UK.

 

A recent meeting hosted at the University brought together national networks in interpreting and translation to discuss how best language learning can be supported in the UK.

The ‘Routes into Languages’ initiative, partly funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), was established to raise awareness and increase interest in languages and language-related careers for students taking languages to GCSE and A-Level in England.

Members were meeting for the first time since the Routes 1 project ended after 6 years, and Routes 2 took over – albeit with much reduced funding.The Routes initiative has made a difference. Numbers applying for translation and interpreting courses increased during the 6 years by 34 per cent.

However, since 1996 the number of students following A-level courses in French and German has more than halved. Last year, for the first time fewer than 10,000 students in the whole of England took A-level French. For this reason and others, Routes 2 will seek to build on the momentum to increase the interest in studying languages.

Good cooperation between members and with the Regional Consortia will be vital for the long-term success of the project.The National Network for Interpreting (NNI) and the National Network for Translation (NNT) are the two national networks bringing together academics and practitioners from our University along with the Universities of Salford, Aston, Heriot-Watt, Portsmouth, Westminster, Manchester and Surrey to continue promoting languages at postgraduate level.

Chair of the meeting, Elena Kidd, Course Director for our successful MA in Interpreting & Translating European Stream and Course Director for our MA in Translation & Professional Language Skills, explained: “This is our first formal meeting, a historic event where NNI/NNT universities intend to formalise their relations and plan for the future.

“Being a member of both networks, the University of Bath is ideally placed to help bring both networks closer together, also inviting the Public Service Interpreting and Translation courses to join the new partnership. We are confident that by joining forces the Networks will reach out to as many undergraduate students as possible.”

Helen Campbell, Director for the National Network for Interpreting, added: “The Networks rely on good contacts with the Regional Consortia all over the country; thus careers events organised by them partly funded by Routes, at universities such as Bath, invite representatives of the NNI and NNT to talk to students about careers with languages and, since many of us have been active translators and interpreters, we can speak from personal experience – something which always has the greatest impact.”

NNT Director, Professor Myriam Salama-Carr, said: “ Also important is the input of student ambassadors and alumni who can share with prospective language students and undergraduates their experience of training as translators and/or interpreters and of starting careers in the field.”

At the event participants exchanged ideas on the future of the networks and welcomed input from the former, now Honorary NNI Director Svetlana Carsten, currently leading the Networks’ webteam.