T HE future of Phnom Penh University's translation course is in jeopardy because
of the Ministry of Education's "refusal so far to grant the course the status it
deserves," course director Siobhan Gorman said.
The course - taken over
by VSO in 1991 - is the only one training badly-needed English/Khmer
interpreters and translators.
The students' own independent translation
service - now an important part of their training and one that generates income
to pay for course materials - has been swamped with requests from NGOs and UN
agencies for top-quality translations.
"This proves the huge need for
quality training," Gorman said.
The ministry, however, has so far refused
the university's request to upgrade the course from a three-year diploma to a
Gorman said that if the course could not offer a
degree, a more marketable qualification than a diploma, her students would
Degrees open more doors for scholarships and jobs, and 12 of
Gorman's original 30 students have already left for degree courses.
ministry was apparently worried that if the translation course was given degree
status, other diploma courses, such as those in the law faculty, would want to
"The ministry must realize that to produce quality translators
for Cambodia, they need to offer a degree course," she said. "If they refuse to
upgrade the course they are refusing to recognize the need for well-trained
translators and interpreters. A four-year course will ensure quality results and
the deserved qualification."
Gorman said if the course remained a diploma
then there would be no incentive for students to stay to complete it, and the
quality of translators in the country would suffer.
Gorman is now
considering her own future in running the course "because the effort that has
been put in to make this course top-quality is being wasted."