Go Abroad, Live a Little

Like I said before, JUST by living abroad for a semester doesn’t mean that you can interpret or translate, but that doesn’t mean it can’t help you in the long run.

At UEES, you can go abroad for a semester or a year to many parts of the world. You can pick among many locations, such as Mexico, United States, Canada, Australia, Korea, France, Japan, and others.

Angelike at the King's University College Campus

A T&I student, Angelike Paez, has had the privilege of going abroad twice through the UEES program. She first did a semester at Université Montpellier II in France and later at King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. Here are her thoughts about her abroad experience related to Translation and Interpretation. For more information on the abroad programs at UEES, click on the following: UEES Abroad and Center for International Education.

For a more inside look on Angelike Paez’s time abroad in France check out her essay “Un semestre en Francia” (A Semester in France).


1) Do you feel like your time abroad has helped you in becoming a better translator/ interpreter?

Most people, including translators and interpreters, decide to go abroad to improve their language skills. It is clear that in our profession language proficiency is fundamental. However, there are other reasons why spending some time away from home benefits translators and interpreters. In my case, living in France and Canada helped me to become better in my field because it offered me the opportunity to become a citizen of the world.

Translators and interpreters are the bridges that help people to communicate better, thus their work consists of closing a gap between people who come from different backgrounds. This means that we are able to understand people’s differences and find solutions to guarantee communication.

When I left my hometown and settled in a different continent/country, I learned to be more open-minded and receptive about others’ beliefs and their vision of the world. A citizen of the world is aware of cultural dynamics and is able to understand diversity. I obtained these qualities during my time abroad and I am certain that it contributed to my formation as an interpreter and translator.

2) Do you think it’s important for translators/interpreters to spend some time abroad?

Yes. It is important that translators and interpreters travel, live abroad, etc. mostly because it is important to keep practicing the other languages that are not your mother tongue.

Language changes constantly and when you are in a different country that doesn’t have your B or C language as the official one, it can be difficult to understand many nuances or jargon that comes up when you need to translate or interpret. I believe that you never stop learning a language and if you don’t practice, your language level will most likely decrease. In our case, no interpreter or translator likes to feel rusty.

3) Can you comment on your time abroad and how it has helped you in general?

Going abroad helped me practice on a daily basis my B and C language, English and French, which I don’t always use in Ecuador, especially when it comes to French. But as I mentioned before, the benefits of living in another country surpasses the “language practice” sessions. I am sure that all translators and interpreters will agree with me when I say that we are curious creatures, the experience of living abroad gives us the perfect opportunity to keep feeding our hunger for knowledge.

T&I: An Introduction

welcomeWhenever someone has asked me what I study these last four years, once I tell them it is Translation and Interpretation, there are only three answers they can come up with:

A)     “So, how many languages do you know?”

B)      “That seems pretty easy.”

C)      “I’ve never heard of that before.”

The lack of knowledge from the greater part of the population (at least, in my country) has taught me that not only is my major unique, but there are certain misconceptions surrounding it. I hope that this blog not only serves to point out those misconceptions, but to provide relevant information, a couple of jokes here and there, educate others, and connect the T&I community.

So, to begin, here are the 10 misconceptions of translators/interpreters:

  1. Translators and Interpreters know many languages.

Yes, it may be possible, but this isn’t always the case.

2. They are walking dictionaries.

No need for explanation here.

3. It’s exactly how Nicole Kidman portrays it in The Interpreter.

It’s not even close.

4. An interpreter = translator.

Not all interpreters are translators, or vice versa.

5. Interpreters and translators charge too much for a job anyone/anything can do.

Google translator and a real live human translator should not be put in the same category.

6. You can interpret/ translate after living a year abroad.

A year abroad can help, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you can work in a professional setting.

7. You can get a translation done in a couple of hours.

The time it takes to do a translation depends on the # of words and level of difficulty.

8. It’s fairly easy. There’s no mental effort like in math, physics, etc.

There is no need to underestimate any major or career. Each is challenging in its own way.

9. It’s kind of easy.

It’s not.

10. It’s a bit easy.

Really, it’s not.

©️ 2017