The Linguist

The Linguist 55,3

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Page 6 of 35 JUNE/JULY 2016 The Linguist 7 FEATURES T he differences between national systems can lead to difficulties with the translation and recognition of educational qualifications between countries. As a translator, I receive university certificates for translation from time to time. It is advisable to begin by asking the client questions about the institutions that have requested the translations and to check whether they have provided any guidelines. In the UK, most universities and professional associations require certified translations of qualifications and degree certificates following these criteria: • The translation must be completed by a professional translator • It must be a literal translation, not an interpretation of the original document • All certifications and ink stamps on the original document must be translated • The translator must put their business stamp on each document translated, and sign and date the statement "this is a true and accurate translation", attaching the translation to the original language document or providing a list of the documents translated. • Translations of any notary/solicitor certifications not in English should be included. If there are no defined criteria, I would recommend following the procedures used for presentations of certified translations, which should be signed and stamped with the contact details of the translator as well as with information about their membership to a professional association, such as CIOL. The main challenge we face when translating qualifications is that, sometimes, The right qualifications Jaquelina Guardamagna takes a brief look at the complicated task of translating qualifications Jaquelina Guardamagna MCIL is Director of Translator in London; TL the name of the subjects, courses or degrees awarded may not have an accurate equivalent in the target language, since educational systems work differently in each country. In case of doubt, it is best to check the content of the course on the university website and to find a similar course in the target country. By looking for additional information about the length, content and syllabus of the course, we get a clearer idea about its characteristics, so as to decide on the best choice of words for the translation. If an exact equivalent is not found, it would be preferable to keep the course title in the source language and provide a literal translation or a brief explanation about it in brackets. A translator's note could also be added to explain why a particular term was chosen over other possible options. The variety in the grading scales used by schools and universities may also have an impact on the translation. As a reference, recommended grade translation scales are published by some UK universities, such as the University of Greenwich Grade Translation Policy and Scales for Study Abroad, Exchange and Erasmus students ( Another issue is the format of the documents. Clients sometimes expect a reproduction of the layout of the document they have submitted for translation. It is up to each professional linguist to decide whether to follow the format of the original document or to provide a translation of the content in text form only. At present, the translation of qualifications may be simplified within Europe by the ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System), which aims to make it easier for students to move and study between different countries. ECTS credits represent the workload and defined learning outcomes ("what the individual knows, understands and is able to do") of a given course or programme, and may unify concepts within the educational system of the continent. I would be interested in hearing about readers' experiences of translating qualifications and degrees from different countries. What challenges do you face? What procedures do you follow? What advice would you give to colleagues? Please share your views via © ShUTTERSTOCK

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