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Ask Away: 5 Questions for a Student Translator at UMass Amherst


We’re asking students, teachers, and counselors five questions on how languages play a role in shaping personal and professional success…

Meet Margot—a Sophomore Political Science/Geography major with French and Russian minors at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

"Ask Away: 5 Questions" banner with portrait of Margot

1. What lead you to become a student translator for the Massachusetts Daily Collegian? Was this your first translation experience?

I decided to start translating for the Collegian at the suggestion of some friends of mine who were also translators. I wanted to translate to practice my French and also to bring my most valuable skills to the journalistic effort on campus.

2. Why do you think it’s important that the students at UMass Amherst have access to a multilingual publication?

Not only does a multilingual publication allow international students to access the newspaper in the language they feel most comfortable reading, but it also exposes the monolingual student population of the multilingual reality of the world.

3. Can you describe some challenges you face as a translator?

It’s always difficult to translate slang, place names, and words that have a cultural context, but I try to use a judgement call on whether or not to provide a explanation or just a direct translation.

4. What do you enjoy most about being a part of the translations department for the MDC? Can you share your favorite experience with the translations team at MDC?

I feel a lot of pride in the work I do for MDCEvery time one of my translations goes live, I always get so excited to see the completed work. I’m particularly proud of the work we did on our special issue and I really enjoyed translating the articles about our Student Government elections since I’m a Political Science major.

5. What advice do you have for students who are learning languages, or are striving for a career in translation?

I would advise students to really immerse themselves in the language they’re learning. Even if they can’t go abroad—learn about the culture, make some food from the culture, listen to music, and most importantly practice the language! As for students who want to go into translation, I’d say to be prepared to learn a lot of new vocabulary, since every article has lots of jargon and specific words.

What’s next for Margot?

“I want to work in International Relations and write policy, so while I might not be translating, I will definitely be able to transfer my multicultural skills.”

Curious about career possibilities in Translation & Interpretation?  Check out our Sector Profile to learn more. And, as always, don’t forget to share your language learning story @LeadWLanguages on social media!