Languages in Lebanon, a natural advantage
In a tri-lingual country, LAU’s B.A. in Translation takes off in cooperation with the University of Manchester.
“With the Arab Spring, there’s a huge demand for translators and for people who know decent Arabic. Lebanon has always had a reputation for a good education, so it makes sense that translators come from here or are trained here,” explains Dr. Nuwar Diab, assistant professor and program coordinator of the B.A. in Translation program at LAU. “We are looking for people with a good command of Arabic and English,” she continues. “They don’t need to have a background in translation; LAU will teach them everything they need to know. Our program is rich, offering several lectures in addition to courses, and inviting scholars to LAU to give workshops.”
The B.A. in Translation was launched last year. It teaches translation from English into Arabic and vice-versa, with the possibility of adding French if students have a strong enough command of that language. The program offers several courses, such as Translation of Journalistic Texts, Translation of Business and Economics Texts, Translation of UN and International Conferences Texts. LAU also offers a course in translating audiovisuals, which introduces students to the techniques used in the translation of motion pictures and TV programs. The course emphasizes the comprehension and appropriate translation of commercial advertisements, posters, slogans, headlines, cartoons and caricatures using language that recreates the effect of the original.
LAU’s program focuses on raising student awareness about the importance of conveying the correct message of a text while preserving the author’s voice and style. It also cultivates students’ appreciation of the cultural backgrounds of the source and target languages, while providing students with practical experience in the use of computer and electronic translation tools.
In an effort to connect students to leading translation programs and academicians, LAU has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Manchester, which houses the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies (CTIS). CTIS offers three M.A. programs, which LAU graduates can later attend, and organizes summer workshops that are quite enriching for prospective translators. As part of the cooperation with the University of Manchester, the translation program at LAU hosted on October 14 the renowned Egyptian scholar Dr. Mona Baker, a professor of translation l at CTIS, who gave a workshop that attracted translation scholars and budding translators from universities across Lebanon. The event focused on addressing linguistic and cultural challenges in translation.
“Prospects of finding work after graduation are very high,” says Diab. “Graduates can work in many fields, from publishing houses to embassies, governmental institutions, universities and companies. Practically every office needs a translator.” To help the program’s graduates match their skills with available employers, “we have been working on internship opportunities, establishing contacts with institutions, universities and companies in Lebanon and abroad,” adds Diab.