The phenomenon of translation came about as a result of the emergence of different languages in human history, and being as old as history itself, it has posed a constant need for humanity. All kinds of human social activities, from ensuring communication between peoples that speak different languages to the interaction between different cultures and civilizations in remote parts of the world, become possible through oral and written translation. Translation is a practice known to have always existed, and throughout history, various views have been held as to how it should be done; it's becoming an acknowledged field of science in the academic world occurred in the second half of the 20th century. The first translation departments in Turkey were opened in the 1980s under the name of "Translation and Interpreting".
The phenomenon of translation can also be described as a communicative tool between languages and cultures, and as a field of science, it is closely related to the fields of language learning, linguistics, and literature. As translations are required for a variety of subjects it becomes necessary for translation curricula to come into contact and interact with a wide range of sciences and academic fields such as law, economics, history, literature, and medicine. Placing huge emphasis on multilingualism, multiculturalism, and multidisciplinarity, translation is a gateway to all disciplines and serves as a hub of interaction for societies living in different lands and their cultures.
Why Department of Translation and Interpreting in Turkey?
Turkey is a country that underwent a process of modernization in the 20th century by means of a translation movement launched under the auspices of the government in the 1940s. Getting a university education in the field of translation and interpreting bears a particular significance in Turkey since it has opened up to the world more and more through the steps it has taken in the recent years. Every year, millions of pages are translated as part of the acquis communautaires of the European Union as well as for international companies.
The main goal of the undergraduate education given in the various language programs as part of the curriculum of Translation and Interpreting is to train translators and interpreters who have a great command of a second language in addition to Turkish and who are experts in communication with a competent grasp of the cultures of both languages. The program aims for its graduates, who have completed their training in written and oral translation, to be equipped with theoretical and critical knowledge of the field of translation, the ability to take an analytic approach to problems pertaining to language and communication, and with practical experience in translation. The ideal standard set before the students of this department is to acquire at least one more foreign language besides English sufficiently well as to be able to perform translation using it, and to be acquainted with issues and terminology in the areas of politics, economics, literature, history, and law as well as all other social disciplines.
Education of Translation and Interpreting in Turkey
The departments that provide education on foreign languages in Turkish universities can be divided into three main categories: Departments of teaching in education faculties, language and literature departments in faculties of letters, and translation and interpreting departments usually gathered under the umbrella of Translation and Interpreting. At the undergraduate level, translation and interpreting departments in Turkey provide programs primarily in western languages such as German, English, and French. As its distinctive quality in comparison to the other foreign language programs, translation and interpreting, given its specific position, analyzes the phenomenon of translation holistically and bases its program on the practical application of translation and interpreting.
Currently, more than 50 departments in Turkey conduct education on academic translation at the undergraduate level in German, English, French, Russian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Arabic, and Persian. Translation and interpreting departments select their students with a test that measures their proficiency level in the language they will be studying. Some departments accept students based on a different foreign language score and teach the language of the program with a one-year preparatory course. Master's and doctoral programs accept students in three foreign languages (German, English, and French). These students may have graduated from different departments. Some departments also have a quota for international students, and these foreign nationals with an undergraduate degree obtained from outside Turkey can enroll in these programs. One of the foremost objectives of master's and doctoral education is to train researches and academics in the field of translation and interpreting, which is still a fledgling science.
The courses taught in the Department of Translation and Interpreting are principally aimed at cultivating a consciousness of language and culture acquisition both for Turkish and the second language being taught. In addition, theoretical and practical courses are part of the program. These are mostly comparative lingual-textual-cultural analyses for the aim of translation, the theory of translation, and those that endow the students with the basic translation skills required. The students take a number of common translation courses usually until the end of the second year, and then they are particularly trained in written and oral translation for their chosen field of specialization (e.g. law, economics etc). Among the courses given in the second half of their education are translations in specific areas, technical translation, intralinguistic translation (rewording), literary translation, specialized knowledge and translation, and translation criticism.
Qualifications Required of Students and Job Opportunities
It is a prerequisite for a student willing to study in the department of translation and interpreting to have a sufficient command of Turkish and the language, in which the program is conducted, be able to produce texts in both, and also have a good knowledge of the culture of each language.
Owing to the theoretical and practical education they have received, the graduates of translation and interpreting have the possibility of working in Turkey as experts of culture and communication, and they can also work in other countries, where their second language is spoken, in any field that requires having the necessary skills for cultural communication. In addition to the fields of freelance translation, editing, or book translation, they can work as translators in private companies, translation offices, or in official institutions such as consulates or embassies that maintain relations between states and governments. Due to their qualifications and cultural and scientific knowledge, the graduates of this department can also be employed in the sectors of media, advertising, public relations, and finance, holding various positions such as manager, assistant, or secretary. The science of translation promises to train cultural experts by endowing the translator candidates with vast cultural knowledge and by cultivating in them an awareness for language and culture.