Testimonials

Kent State MCLS

We’re very proud of everything our Master of Arts in Translation program does for our students and their careers, and we’re always excited to hear about the great things our graduates are up to.

With this in mind, we reached out to some of our alumni to get their takes on how our M.A. in Translation helped them, where they are in their careers, and more. Give their testimonials a look!

Julian-Pascal Bisping, LSP Program Manager

1. Tell us about yourself. What do you do? When did you graduate from the M.A. Translation program?

I'm currently working as a Program Manager for the largest language services provider in the world, where I help large enterprises face the challenge of communicating to a global audience. My job involves everything from large-scale technology implementations to process design, quality assurance, and (human) resources coordination. Prior to that I was working part time in quality assurance, focusing on terminology management, the life blood of all enterprises. I also spent a few years in project management.

I graduated from the M.A. in German Translation at the Institute for Applied Linguistics (IAL) at Kent State University in 2011 and am currently working on my Ph.D. in language industry project management, also at the IAL.

2. Why is translation important?

Without translation, global business and scientific progress are impossible in this day and age. Unfortunately, most people don't notice how much of their daily lives depends on translation because if things work nobody notices it. But there are hundreds of thousands of people working in the background in translation and related fields to make global communication possible.

3. Why Kent State?

The Institute for Applied Linguistics at Kent State University is still the only program in the United States that offers degrees in translation all the way to the Ph.D. And unlike other universities, Kent is a research institute that offers both a solid technology track that is so vital in today's industry as well as the theoretical underpinnings that plant the seeds for life-long learning and critical thinking. Even after almost eight years post-graduation, I still find myself going back to topics and materials I first encountered during the M.A.

4. What are three words that describe this program?

Individualized, critical, rigorous.

5. Do you feel this program set a high standard for its students?

Absolutely. And I also think you get out of the program what you put into it. In my experience those who show a real interest in translation quickly find themselves diving deep into a variety of topics and the faculty actively support and encourage these explorations.

6. How did this program challenge you academically?

Just with everything in life, you can expend energy on getting out of doing the work, or you can dive in and find intrinsic rewards. The faculty at the Institute inspired me to dive into the material and pretty soon I was surprised to find how enthusiastic I could be about technology and solving problems. Later on, this led to my teaching in the technology track of the M.A. myself, and many situations at work where I was able to help out my colleagues and our freelance translators with various technical and process issues. Because people believed in me at the Institute, I also took on an individual research project that laid the foundation for my dissertation years later.

7. How has this program prepared you for your future career?

Today, my job is all about problem solving and critical thinking. And because of the coursework, teaching philosophy, and supportive faculty at the Institute during both the M.A. and the Ph.D., I am prepared to take on these challenges. What sets the Institute apart though is that I am also equipped to tackle new challenges and topics I know nothing about today, but am able to tomorrow. That's because of the Institute's focus on life-long learning and critical thinking.

8. How was your experience with the overall curriculum?

I particularly enjoyed the technology/process/management part of the curriculum, which consists of one course out of three (more or less) every semester. It's laid the groundwork for me to make sense of the experiences I made after graduation, and it's helped me to challenge and change some common industry practices that even today often remain unquestioned. My ability to point out these deficiencies to colleagues and superiors has gotten me to where I am today, and that's thanks to the Institute's emphasis on questioning assumptions, rigorous research, and high academic standards.

Katrina Leonoudakis, Japanese-English Localizer and Translator (Entertainment)

1. Tell us about yourself. What do you do? When did you graduate from the M.A. Translation program?

Hi! I’m Katrina, and I’m a professional Japanese-to-English translator specializing in entertainment and localization. I graduated from the M.A. program in 2016.

Right now, I enjoy a variety of work. First, I work full-time in-house for SEGA, localizing video games for Western audiences. When I have time after work, I translate Japanese TV shows for Sentai Filmworks, an anime localization company. In the past, I did transcreation work for Netflix Japan’s English language platform, localizing titles and descriptions of Netflix programs.

2. Why is translation important?

Our world is becoming increasingly globalized in all aspects—economic, cultural, even physical, as travel costs drop. It’s more important than ever that we have well-trained translators to handle the increased demand for translation in all languages.

3. Why Kent State?

I chose Kent State over other translation programs as it focused solely on translation, not interpretation. It also boasted a strong foundation in both translation theory and translation technology, both of which have been immensely helpful in my career.

4. What are three words that describe this program?

Challenging, comprehensive, inspiring.

5. Do you feel this program set a high standard for its students?

The Japanese track, and Dr. Wakabayashi especially, set a high standard of translation quality for Kent students. Every week we had a new document to translate, and each person was given personal attention from Dr. Wakabayashi on their strengths, failings, and how to improve as a translator. It was a challenge, for sure, but one that prepared me well for a demanding industry.

6. How did this program challenge you academically?

In my translation work before coming to Kent, I heavily avoided any topics or text types that I felt were too challenging, such as technical patents or financial documents. My classes at Kent not only forced me to face my translation fears, but provided me with a wealth of education on how these texts are written and what to expect. While I don’t think I’ll ever truly enjoy translating a patent for a water impelling device, I know now that I can handle it—and if I have trouble, I can always refer to the notes I took at Kent!

7. How has this program prepared you for your future career?

Kent’s technology classes gave me a huge advantage over my peers. When I was hired at my full-time job at SEGA, they had recently made the switch to memoQ, and many of the longtime hires were having difficulty adjusting to the change. I was immediately able to step up and train my colleagues in working with CAT tools, which gave me a big boost at work!

In addition to our classes, Kent Lingua, the translator organization on campus, brought in real-life freelancers and professionals to talk to us about the reality of their work. This gave me both the information and confidence to pursue freelancing full-time when I graduated from Kent.

8. How was your experience with the overall curriculum?

Great! I felt like every class had a purpose, and I still use my notes from Kent now and then in my full-time translation job!

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Jamie Hartz, Spanish-English Translator (Legal, Commercial, Logistics)

1. Tell us about yourself. What do you do? When did you graduate from the M.A. Translation program?

I am a freelance Spanish-to-English translator specializing in legal, commercial, and logistics translation. I live in Lancaster, PA and graduated from Kent State’s M.A. Translation program in 2015.

2. Why is translation important?

Without translation, the lines of communication are blurred. Translators facilitate communication between individuals, among corporate groups, and across borders. Translation is crucial in nearly every industry to ensure that expectations are communicated, projects are implemented correctly, and all parties’ needs are met.

3. Why Kent State?

Kent State’s translation program came highly recommended from a number of people I knew who were working in the translation industry. It is seen as a prestigious and well-respected program that prepares its students not only for the work of translation but for many of the other skills that are needed in the field, including project management and technology skills.

4. What are three words that describe this program?

Esteemed, challenging, well-rounded.

5. Do you feel this program set a high standard for its students?

Absolutely; the Kent State program is known for graduating students who are prepared for work in various areas of the industry and this is due to the high bar it sets for students and the rigorous academics required to complete the program.

6. How did this program challenge you academically?

I felt that this program stretched me to be comfortable in a variety of subject areas in translation and that it allowed me to try my hand at translation in a professional but non-threatening environment. I needed to work hard to be sure my work measured up to that of my classmates and that I was able to really participate in class discussions.

7. How has this program prepared you for your future career?

Aside from being a great way to network with classmates who are now working in the translation industry, the Kent State translation program gave me the opportunity to experience hands-on translation work with personalized feedback from my professors that has proven invaluable to my work now because it has allowed me to learn from my mistakes and develop a professionalism that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

8. How was your experience with the overall curriculum?

I felt that the balance of technology, hands-on translation workshop courses, and other topics was very well developed to produce industry professionals. Many translation programs do not offer training in CAT tools, and Kent State’s students are at an advantage for having learned to use translation technology from industry experts.

The hands-on workshops also cannot be underestimated; the opportunity to work on a translation and then discuss it line-by-line in a class of your peers is an advantage we don’t often get to enjoy as translators, and the Kent program’s outline, requiring one workshop for students each semester of the degree, ensures that students will have all the hands-on translation experience they need to be able to produce high-quality work as translators.

Mary McKee, Spanish-English Translator (Life Sciences, Business, Legal)

1. Tell us about yourself. What do you do? When did you graduate from the M.A. Translation program?

I am an American Translators Association-certified freelance Spanish-to-English translator and I work mainly for large translation agencies doing work in the life sciences, business, and legal areas. I graduated from the M.A. in Translation program in 2014.

2. Why is translation important?

Translation is important because it is what allows people, countries, and humanity as a whole to work together, understand each other, and share our joys and our sorrows. It is also a big business, with great growth potential in the coming decades.

3. Why Kent State?

Kent State's translation program is one of the leading programs in the United States for master's degrees in translation, with its focus both on practical skills and techniques for translation, and on an academic and theoretical background to inform and support your professional work.

4. What are three words that describe this program?

Thorough, supportive, personal.

5. Do you feel this program sets a high standard for its students?

Yes, this program has very high standards for students and encourages you to explore translations in a variety of subject areas and go in depth into the translation process through a final translation thesis project. Because the class sizes are so small, you really get an opportunity to interact with everyone and with your professor on a weekly basis. You must be engaged and focused because it's so personal.

6. How did this program challenge you academically?

Students are encouraged to support and debate their translation choices with the other students and with the professor each week when an assignment is being discussed, so there is an opportunity to really learn how to take criticism and feedback without taking it personally. This is great preparation for professional life and provides you with the analytical skills you need to really determine why you make a particular choice in your work.

7. How was your experience with the overall curriculum?

This program was one of the finest educational experiences I could have hoped for. The professors are extremely knowledgeable and have written the textbooks that we use in class and that are used in other translation programs.

Contact Us!

Ready to further your career with our M.A. in Translation program? You can review information for our online and on-campus options, and be sure to reach out to our team with any questions!