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Jul 24, 2012

Free online tutorials for English translation from Birbeck College


English legal translator Juliette Scott recently posted an article on her blog for legal translators about a free opportunity offered by Birbeck College, University of London, for those interested in translation into English from Arabic, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. The non-interactive tutorials offer the opportunity to translate various sorts of texts, then compare one's work with annotated reference translations. This would seem to be a useful tool for self-assessment and learning for those considering work in translation or for experienced translators who enjoy seeing how others approach a text. I've copied the relevant FAQ from the Birbeck site below, with a link to all the FAQs in the first line and in the graphic above.

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FAQs VI: The Online Programme

  • VI-Q1. How do I qualify to take the online programme?
    VI-A1. The online courses are open to anyone who is eligible on the grounds of being both a native Anglophone and having another language (or languages) at an advanced level.
  • VI-Q2. How many of the online courses can I take?
    VI-A2. You may take as many as you are qualified for (and can thus benefit from).
  • VI-Q3. How can I register to take the online programme?
    VI-A3. By emailing useyourcontact@bbk.ac.uk
  • VI-Q4. What does each course consist of?
    VI-A4. Each course consists of: nine passages of 350-500 words each (of different types: three literary prose texts, three journalistic texts and three specialist texts in academic fields) which you will be able to download and work on and of nine ‘annotated translations’ by the tutors, giving comments/reasons for possible translation choices, which you should consult only after you have completed your own attempt at the text.
  • VI-Q5. Is the online course interactive?
    VI-A5. No. To get the most out of these courses, you should download and work on each text in your own time, then look carefully at the ‘annotated text’ for it, learning from the comments provided by the tutor before you attempt the next one.
  • VI-Q6. Will the nine texts be at increasing levels of difficulty?
    VI-A6. Not necessarily. They are selected to give maximum range and maximum kinds of translation challenge.
  • VI-Q7. How can I give feedback on the online courses?
    VI-A7. All those taking an online course will be required to complete a feedback form when they have completed a course. This is both to help us test and enhance our provision and also to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme when we report to our funders. Also, when you first register, you will need to complete a form giving basic information (your name, contact details, affiliation, nationality etc). This is to help us accumulate statistics for our report to our funders.
  • VI-Q8. Do the online courses only run at certain times, or have to be done within a certain timespan?
    VI-A8. No; because they are non-interactive, you can do them at any pace and at any time to suit you.


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