Wow, this is the first time in two years that I’ve gone more than a month without a post! I am pretty low-key about blogging, but I aim to write at least once a month. I’ve only missed one month since I started blogging two and a half years ago – make that two months now.
That should give you a good idea of just how busy school has been keeping me. Now that it’s officially school vacation, I’ll try to catch up a little. Some people expressed interest in hearing more about my program at MIIS, so I thought I’d explain what I’m studying and what the program is like so far.
What is MIIS?
So, for anyone who doesn’t know, MIIS is the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (formerly the Monterey Institute) which is well-known for its language programs and all things international. The school offers master’s degrees in many different areas like international education, environmental policy, and nonproliferation and terrorism studies, just to name a few, but I am part of the translation, interpretation, and localization management program (TILM), so that is what I’m going to talk about today.
My degree program is actually Translation and Localization Management (TLM), but I also managed to cram in interpretation courses just to try them out. The TILM program is well known for its degrees in Translation and Interpretation (TI), and Localization Management is relatively new.
What is Localization Management?
Everyone is like, what is localization? Essentially, it’s adapting something for a specific market; it includes translation, but also things like cultural adaptation, modifying certain things according to the local systems and culture, and the technical process to implement the resulting product. Localization management is, well, managing that whole process. So in addition to language courses, we also take courses focused on project management and technical skills relevant to the industry.
Translation vs. Interpretation
If you’re wondering what the difference is between translation and interpretation, it’s simple – translation is written, and interpretation is oral. There are two main types of interpretation: consecutive and simultaneous. In consecutive interpretation, you use your memory and your notes to relay what the person has said when they are done speaking, and with simultaneous, you have a headset so that you can interpret as the person is speaking. This TEDx talk, filmed at MIIS with professors and students from the Chinese and Spanish programs, demonstrates both very well if you’re curious.
Applying to MIIS
So, now that you know all that, the practical stuff. Applying to MIIS took forever because in addition to the regular admissions stuff (essay, transcripts, etc.) you have to pass the EDT, a test that evaluates your language skills. (This is only for TILM programs.) It took me an entire weekend to do the EDT; there are five written sections (translations and essays), and five oral sections.
I was thrilled to find out that TAPIF has a partnership with MIIS, which means that TAPIF alums qualify for a substantial scholarship.
MIIS has rolling admissions, so you can apply as long as there is still room in your program (all language programs except Spanish and Chinese cap out at around 12 students), but available scholarship funds decrease the longer you wait.
Now that I’m a student at MIIS, what are the classes like? I got a little crazy and took the full course load for the TI and TLM programs. There’s a little overlap, but not much, so it added up to quite a heavy course load. Next semester I plan to ease up a little. In addition to four courses in translation and interpretation, I also took Localization Project Management, Python, and Computer-Assisted Translation, plus I audited a course in Business Applications and took two career management courses because one just wasn’t enough. What I really like about the classes is that they are very hands-on; the whole point is to equip us with professional skills, so everything, including our exams, is very practical, rather than theory-based.
I’m busier than I have been in years (even more than when I was teaching!) but I love being a student again. I’m learning so much, and there are interesting people from all over the world at school. Time is flying by.
If you’re curious, MIIS has loads of info on their website and YouTube channel.
If you’re not, that’s cool too. More posts about other stuff soon!