I started going to UC San Diego Extension Foreign Languages classes in 2004 to become more confident in Spanish, my third language. After a couple of conversation classes, the following year I took the entrance exam for the Professional Certificate in English/Spanish Translation and Interpretation. I had been translating professionally for seven years already, but had never had any formal education as a translator. In other words, I had a lot of practice, but had never taken the time to study theory.
I went through the program between 2005 and 2007―the same year I received my certificate and passed the American Translators Association (ATA) English-to-Portuguese exam. I had an opportunity to practice in Spanish, refine my writing skills in English, identify the theory resources I already applied in my translation projects, and met great people who brought a very diversified background to the field. Then I went back to UCSD Extension for one more quarter to squeeze in my last elective in 2008 while expecting my first child.
By Summer 2008, while hugely pregnant with my daughter, I went on an interview with the program representative because they wanted to add an extra class to the certificate to help students with the business and technology side of things. That was how "Tools and Technology in Translation" was born and became a 10-week online class that, since Spring 2010, has been addressing the everyday life of language professionals―from putting resumes and business plans together to introducing yourself and sending quotes to clients, as well as incorporating technology that helps translators become more productive and effective. "Introduction to Swordfish" soon followed in 2013 to make students familiar with a specific computer-assisted translation tool that records their translations in a database known as Translation Memory (TM) and organizes terminology in glossaries, thus making the translation process more efficient and consistent.
These past few years, I was able to interact with over 200 students, beginners and experienced translators alike, and learned a lot about what they expect from the Translation & Interpretation industry and how they envision their career path. Since then, the "Tools and Technology" class got a companion book that expands on class materials and features a study on the profile of the new generation of professional translators working with technology, as well as a YouTube channel with brief videos on the different aspects of the T&I industry.
I've learned so much at UCSD Extension, both as a student and instructor, and I'm so happy to see how the T&I program has grown. It's always a pleasure to meet alumni and former students at T&I events and see that the education they've got through the program has really made a difference in their personal and professional lives.