Translation and Interpreting Studies


Why study Translating and Interpreting?

Don't you just need to be able to speak two languages? And don't computers translate these days? Well, no, actually, not at all. Word for word translation results in the howlers that are common across the world such as "Drop your trousers here for best results" in a dry-cleaner's in Bangkok. The problem is no word means just one thing. In fact, sometimes the words are just springboards to whole other ideas and cultural associations that aren't mentioned explicitly but are very real to speakers or readers of the language. A postgraduate degree from the Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies at Wits allows you to refine your writing and speaking skills and acquire the expertise needed to work as a professional using the languages you love. At the same time you will become acquainted with the disciplines of translation and interpreting which cover a wide range of fields, including literature, film and adaptation studies, media, subtitling and dubbing. You will also acquire proficiency in translating a wide range of texts as well as the background and research skills required to perform at a professional level. Professional translators and interpreters are in greater demand in South Africa than ever before. Those with foreign languages often have the opportunity to travel and work abroad and those with South African or foreign languages often go on to run their own companies covering the tourist industry, local government and commerce. Interpreters also have the opportunity to work at international conferences, in local and national government structures, and at community level. The nature of the programmes makes it possible for students to enter a wide range of fields including publishing, editing, journalism, public relations, marketing and publicity, advertising and dubbing. So, make your languages work for you!

Research Profile

The Department has varied research interests. Current members of staff are particularly interested in the translation of literature - popular fiction, children's literature, as well as more mainstream literature including the phenomenon of self-translation. A current project that is likely to be expanded in coming years is the translation of South African literature into other languages, both local and international, and the reception of South African literature in other countries. Another ongoing project is the translation of popular fiction, such as romance fiction, and children's fiction, into the other languages of South Africa in an effort to provide more reading material for children and young adults and to promote a culture of reading for entertainment. Other interests include interpreter and translator training, liaison and conference interpreting, corpus translation and interpreting studies, computer-assisted translation tools and localisation. Prof Inggs also has research interests in the broader field of children's and youth literature with a number of publications in the area of South African youth literature. Recent published research has focused on translation and censorship in the former Soviet Union, and Russian children's and youth literature. Recent graduates have produced research on the child soldier in francophone African literature, white authors writing black characters in South African youth literature, the translation of works by Ivan Vladislavic into Italian, translating Harry Potter into Sepedi, and self-translation using the example of Ingrid Winterbach. Current students are working on translations of Alice in Wonderland, the translation of advertising materials, and the translation of the Sicilian writer, Camilleri, into English and French. We welcome enquiries from potential postgraduate students at all levels as well as from those with doctorates looking for a position as a post-doctoral fellow.

Administrator: Ms Marilyn Thorne
Tel no: (011) 717-4262
Fax no: (011) 717-4270

Course Information
Undergraduate courses
Postgraduate courses