Tuesday, 12 August 2008

To PhD or not to PhD

I'm really keen at some point on doing a PhD. The problem is that the universities which offer PhDs in technical translation can be counted on the fingers of one hand. I would have to say that Imperial College (where I got my MSc) is probably the best available in the UK, but there's an interesting looking course at NYU. I don't fancy going through all the fuss of moving to the USA though.

There are lots of decent universities which offer degrees in translation (rather than technical translation). I guess in the UK Leeds, Swansea, Warwick, and Manchester would be good places. Obviously there is great range of courses out in Ireland (the Rio De Jeniro of localisation), but I'm not really sure I'd enjoy living in Dublin for 4 years. It would be frustrating to be in such familiar surroundings but being just a little too far away from my London based family and friends. Also I wouldn't be able to spend the time learning a foreign language.

Which makes some of the universities in Spain, France, and Germany look a good choice. At least I could be learning the language while I am there studying.

The other options are based in asia, mainly in HK (there are no PhD courses for FOREIGNERS in Taiwan yet). FJ Catholic university and Taishida both offer PhDs but not for "non-Taiwanese" which is both extremely annoying and borderline racist. Actually it's not for racist reasons but because of excessive paperwork, but it feels racist when you are getting turned away. I'd also add that neither of those universities have anything on their website saying "no whities" so I happily applied before being told! Grrrr!

Also I could move sideways into a more technical area. That's a a really attractive option, because I always enjoyed the technical side, and my working experience before translating was all technical. Cambridge offer a very attractive course (no doubt hard to get on), as do MIT (same again).

So I'm going to read very carefully through all the course information and apply for a few places for next year. If I get accepted I'll go, if not I won't have lost anything. Meanwhile I've got this year to keep translating and learning about the field, and hopefully the translation will be able to serve as my part time job if I start studying.

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