Interpretation, Translation

Careers in the Making

By Christopher Paul Queen

Last April 23rd, in a one-evening back-to-back outreach effort, Jacki Noh offered her insights and advice on translation and interpretation to students at both San Jose State University (SJSU) and The National Hispanic University (NHU). Certificate, upper-division, and graduate students in attendance at both locations learned about the pitfalls of complacency and the need to constantly update their skills while actively pursuing networking contacts in order to become truly in-demand translators and interpreters. Many already had translation or interpretation experience on some level, while others were looking to find a way to break into the field.

The first session of the presentation packed the SJSU Clark Hall classroom with students eager to learn about translation and interpretation, and how they can use their foreign language skills to supplement their income while in school or as a career after graduation. The audience at the second session, at NHU, comprised members of the 2007 Translation Studies Certificate Program class.

Volunteering her experience in the form of personal anecdote, Jacki pointed out the need to be affiliated with as many translation organizations as possible, specifically ATA and NCTA. “I would attend all events I could go to in any combination of languages that included English, just to learn the principles of translation,” she stated. As Korean is Jacki’s source language—considered a “Least Commonly Taught Language“ that has few associated exams with which to demonstrate competency, no academic training program to learn the craft in the U.S., and scant translation and interpretation events in the Korean- English combination—Jacki inferred that translation skills aren’t always learned in a classroom. A lesson that translates to life, as well.