Language translation and interpretation is a $50 billion industry, which Weber State University, in conjunction with the Department of Foreign Languages, will pay homage to during the week of Sept. 27 through Oct. 1 during the 3rd annual Translation Week.

Professor of Spanish and Department Chair of Foreign Languages Isabel Asensio said she first started talking about translation classes to her colleagues and teaching them to her students about 10 years ago. She knew there needed to be a major or a minor for translation and interpretation at Weber State.

“Many students are not aware of this field,” Asensio said. “They just think you study languages just to be a teacher, but that’s not true. That’s not the only career path.”

Once the major started to take shape, Asensio knew the department needed a main event to help students become aware of the new opportunity. Asensio figured that International Translation Day, which is Sept. 30, would be the ideal time to host the event.

Students play multi language scrabble at Translation Week in 2019. Photo courtesy of Aubrey Jones from the Foreign Language Department
Students play multi-language scrabble at Translation Week in 2019. Photo courtesy of Aubrey Jones from the Foreign Language Department Photo credit: Aubrey Jones

According to the Department of Foreign Languages website, events for Translation Week started on Sept. 27 with Bilingual Readings, where students and faculty will read aloud their work. Asensio will read a short story she translated from Spanish to English.

WSU student Austin Vaughn will read one of his works in Japanese, with the English to follow.

“It’s more localizing them instead of translating them, and I think that’s a pretty important part of translating, so I’m looking forward to showing people that,” Vaughn said.

The readings are open to all who wish to attend. Asensio said this part of Translation Week is new this year, and she is looking forward to it.

Students will also have the opportunity to learn about internships from a panel on Sept. 28. Asensio, along with Amelia Williams, assistant director of programming for Career Services, will moderate the event.

Asensio said they like to focus these panels on career opportunities for students so they can see what it is like in the field for interpreters or translators.

Isabel Asensio, from the Foreign Language Department, helped to get WSU on the map for language translation and interpretation.
Isabel Asensio, from the Department of Foreign Languages, helped to get WSU on the map for language translation and interpretation. Photo credit: Weber State University

There will be three virtual lecture Q&A sessions. The first is on Sept. 29 and will be with Marta Chapado Sánchez, coordinator of the master’s program in Audiovisual Translation from ISTRAD and the University of Cadiz. Sánchez will speak about the field of AVT and job opportunities.

A lecture with Vicent Montalt i Resurrecció, who is an associate professor in the Department of Translation and Communication at Universitat Jaume I in Castelló, Spain, will feature topics about translation in the medical field and the current trends. This will take place on Sept. 30.

The final lecture will be on Oct. 1 and will feature members of the ALC Bridge committee speaking about the jobs and career opportunities that students can find in the language service industry.

WSU is the only public university in Utah to have degrees in interpretation and translation. This puts WSU on the map and gives students a bigger opportunity, according to Asensio.

Youn Soo Kim Goldstein, Ambrose Amos Shaw Assistant Professor of Localization and Translation, said, “I hope that students and others on campus are able to see the different ways that translation is an integral part of our world, that students are able to think beyond the language classrooms to see the different career opportunities they would be able to pursue with the different programs offered by the Department of Foreign Languages.”

During Translation Week, there will also be a “Bad Translations” contest where students can submit photos they find around Utah of bad translations. Asensio said this is a problem because translators and interpreters don’t get the credit they deserve.

“They assume anyone who speaks a language can translate something, and then miscommunication happens,” Asensio said.

Asensio said she wants Translation Week to bring awareness and respect to the industry.

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