As a student of any discipline, we’re always encouraged to enhance our skills, and make our CVs stand out/gain experience etc. As I’ve illustrated in my posts Who, What, Where, Why, How?! Volunteer Translation – 7 places to start your search. and My top 12 Twitter profiles for Translation Opportunities… getting experience in translating is a good way to start building your CV with actual translation practise. But there are other ways to prepare yourself for the workplace too, and that’s through online courses.
In addition to translation practice, if you’re thinking of going into freelance translation, learning some basic business management, finance and marketing skills are a good idea. But these courses cost money and I’m a student! – I hear you cry. That’s why I recommend Future Learn. Future Learn are a private company owned by The Open University who work with 99 partner institutions to provide free online courses in several different categories. Some of their partners include UK and international universities, others include the British Museum, British Council and the National Film and Television School.
Courses can range from as little at 2 weeks to 6 weeks+. There are a range of courses : from business and management to law or literature. There’s truly a category for everybody. Here are my top 5 favourite courses which have either just started or will be starting soon on Future Learn:
- How to Succeed at: Writing Applications – started October 24th (still accepting interested parties) and will be running again in the near future, this course run by the University of Sheffield runs for three weeks, and will give you helpful hints and tips for writing the best job or university applications.
We’ll share top tips with you to help you write exceptional applications, CVs (or résumés), covering letters and personal statements and provide insight from employers and admissions tutors on what they look for in candidates. We’ll go on to help you examine your digital footprint and develop a professional profile online.
Their follow-up course on How to succeed at: Interviews is also worth a look too.
2. Working with Translation: Theory and Practice – started October 24th (still open) and will also be running again in the future. If you’re a professional in another sector who has an interest in translation or a student who’s looking into MA Translation courses and wants to learn more, this is the course for you. This course looks at what translation is, different types of translation and much more
Drawing on the latest research and contributions from professionals, the course will help you understand what translation is and what it does. You’ll learn a wealth of practical tips and explore resources, covering topics like ‘What is translation?’, ‘Who translates and for whom?’, ‘Where does translation take place?’ and ‘How can we get translation right?’
This course runs for 4 weeks.
3. LANGUAGE LEARNING! Future Learn hosts some fantastic introduction courses for other languages: some currently running have been organised by the University of Groningen and The Open University amongst others. Here are a selection of current courses:
- Introduction to Dutch – November 14th, 3 weeks
- Introduction to Catalan Sign Language: Speaking with Your Hands and Hearing with Your Eyes November 7th, 6 weeks
- Italian for Beginners – January 9th, 4 weeks
- Spanish for Beginners – January 9th, 4 weeks.
- Introduction to Norwegian – January 16th, 4 weeks
4. Starting a Business – there are 6 parts to this business course at the University of Leeds. They all start November 7th and run for two weeks. Separate courses look at networking, customers and competitors, finance management and more. If you’re already at the stage of wanting to start your own freelance translation company, perhaps this will be worth a look.
To run a successful business you need to understand who your customers are and importantly, how you are going to reach them. Whether you have an idea for a venture in the future or you already have a side-line business whilst studying, this course will help you to recognise and understand your target market. It will give you the time to plan, share your ideas with others and start to document your thoughts in a structured business plan.
5. How to Survive on Mars – not language related, as you might have noticed. But as the David Bowie song goes ‘Is there life on Mars?’. This course 4 week course, which started on October 24th, looks at the science of what human would need to survive on Mars. As a little bit of a brain break – what more could you want!
This free online course will introduce the key scientific concepts needed for humans to survive on Mars, where there is no air to breathe, no water to drink and no food to eat. The course will also examine interdisciplinary skills and meticulous planning required to sustain human life in such a hostile environment. Case studies and insights from leading experts in the field of Chemistry, Astronomy, Physics and Geology will demonstrate the basic science and problem solving skills you can use in everyday life.
If any of the courses that I’ve listed above aren’t for you, I still would really recommend looking at the Future Learn Courses to see if there’s anything that would take our fancy – especially for those looking for ideas in translation specialisms. From science to law to creative arts, there’s something to interest everyone. And, moreover, it’s free!
What more could you want!
I’ve just signed up to the translation course – I’ll let you know how it goes! If you want to join too, sign up to Future Learn for free and tweet me @amjscorr using the hashtag #FLtranslation.