Academia expectations versus industry reality

Oleksandr Bondarenko
MultiLingual December 2015
Industry Focus

I always intuitively felt that something was wrong with translator training. My 15 years of scientific experience in the translation and contrastive studies field led to the scientific approbation of my vague suspicion. So, to conduct research I preferred to leave the talking to the experts: 48 university translation teachers from 21 universities and 117 translation industry representatives, including 49 translation company representatives from 35 companies and 68 experienced freelancers. Practically all university representatives and the majority of industry experts were from Ukraine....

In the long run, my subjective belief that translators are not trained properly was proven quite obviously by the results of the questionnaire’s answers. The two groups of respondents believed completely different competencies were important for the modern translator. The results lead to many conclusions. One of the main ones is that academia does not train translators the way that their future employers require.


The way forward

One way forward is to be aware of the gap, the imbalance between the theory studied and ongoing information from real professional life. The academia-industry team play is one of the most fruitful ways to adjust training process to industry demands. The concrete ways out are round tables, master classes of industry gurus and many other proven activities. Besides this, academicians may (and should) be invited to translation companies for a taste of true field experience, up to fully carrying out a translation project from start to end.

Language companies should also consider a supervised student internship. Our company internship program has been in the works for six years and the whole seven-step methodology has proved to be a success....