Master’s programme in the theory and practice of translation and interpreting in Asian and African languages opens at St Petersburg University
In 2023, St Petersburg University will for the first time enrol in the master’s programme "Theory and Practice of Translation and Interpreting (Asian and African Languages)". It is expected to be applied and make it possible for bachelors who major in Asian and African Studies to strengthen their competences in translation and interpreting.
The new master’s programme will be open to students who speak one of the three Oriental languages: Arabic, Turkish or Chinese. Future plans include expanding the number of languages studied. ‘I would especially like to emphasise that we are expecting not only professional experts in Asian and African studies, those who have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Asian and African Studies, but also all those who simply know the language well, are interested in the culture of the East and may have been working as interpreters or translators for some time. That is, the programme is designed for as wide a range of applicants as possible,’ said Professor Apollinariia Avrutina, Director of the Centre for Contemporary Turkish Studies and Russia-Türkiye Relations at St Petersburg University, who heads the new programme.
To participate in the competition for admission, applicants will have to submit a portfolio. They can apply online for master’s programmes at St Petersburg University starting from 15 March.
Elena Emelchenkova, Head of the Department of Theory and Methodology of Teaching Languages and Cultures of Asian and African Countries, Associate Professor at St Petersburg University, noted that nowadays the work of interpreters and translators who are experts in Asian and African studies is more in demand than ever. ‘Today, translation and interpreting paired with oriental languages such as Arabic, Chinese, and Turkish is not just popular, but vital. The University, where our country’s leading interpreters and translators of Asian and African languages lecture, practice and share their invaluable experience, has long been keen to create a specialised, professionally-oriented programme. And now this moment has arrived,’ she said.
Such programmes have never been implemented at St Petersburg University. Similar programmes are offered by colleagues who work with Western languages. However, in the field of Asian and African languages, such a programme is launched at St Petersburg University for the first time.
Professor Apollinariia Avrutina, Director of the Centre for Contemporary Turkish Studies and Russia-Türkiye Relations at St Petersburg University, Head of the master’s programme "Theory and Practice of Translation and Interpreting (Asian and African Languages)"
The Theory and Practice of Translation and Interpreting (Asian and African Languages) programme is unique in its applied nature: it is planned that lecture hours in the curriculum are kept to a minimum and the focus is on practical exercises in translation and interpreting. Simultaneous interpreting is considered one of the most challenging areas of work for an interpreter of Oriental languages. Simultaneous Interpreting skills will therefore be developed following a step-by-step mastering of consecutive interpreting by increasing the length of the source text (up to five minutes).
During training, special focus will be on cross-cultural communication. ‘Without knowledge of the history and culture of the target language country, it is impossible to acquire good translation and interpreting skills. You can create an awkward situation or get into one. After all, aspects related to a deep understanding of cultural and historical processes and the mentality of the speakers of the target language are an important part of the work of an oriental translator and interpreter,’ explained Professor Avrutina. The programme also provides students with internships in major companies in the field of translation and interpreting.
‘Learning an Oriental language is like riding a bicycle uphill! As long as you are pedalling, it is hard, but you are moving forward towards the top. As soon as you stop making the effort, the bike doesn’t just stop moving forward, it immediately starts rolling backwards. This is the specific nature of the professional activity of an orientalist-interpreter and translator. This is because each of us continues to learn throughout our lives. The new academic programme "Theory and Practice of Translation and Interpreting (Asian and African Languages)" will enable students to take another step in this direction,’ summed up Elena Emelchenkova.
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