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Bleak future for translators

Bleak future for translators

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

four-year degree.

Gorman said that if the course could not offer a

degree, a more marketable qualification than a diploma, her students would

leave.

Degrees open more doors for scholarships and jobs, and 12 of

Gorman's original 30 students have already left for degree courses.

The

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

follow.

"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."

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