“Scuolish” (aka “Superioriano”)

There’s no denying that Italy’s “Scuole Superiori” for interpreters and translators, along with scores of programs offering “master’s” degrees in “language mediation,” contribute to a glut of newly minted translators in the Italian market.

Obviously, the annual flood of graduates means increased competition among “into-Italian” translators. What is surprising is that many of these programs also promote the fantasy of the “bilingual” translator (see “Engliano,” for more on this topic) and encourage students to translate into a second or even third language.

The excerpts below are taken from texts translated by two different individuals. One is a “cum laude” graduate of the Gregorio VII “Scuola Superiore per Mediatori Linguistici e Culturali” and the examples were posted by him as a demonstration of his fine Italian -> English work. The other holds a degree from the Scuola Superiore di Lingue Moderne per Interpreti e Traduttori in Trieste and consults “widely” for translation agencies. Naturally, she claims to be “perfectly bilingual.”

They are just two examples of the thousands of translators encouraged by undergraduate- and graduate-level training programs to consider themselves bilingual and to market themselves as passive-language translators – and who, amazingly enough, go on to have careers not only as translators but as teachers of translation. No one apparently ever tells them that their English is bad and their translations are shameful.

Is this what it means to be bilingual? Is this clear, correct English? Judge for yourself:

Gregorio VII Example 1 In addiction to its endless technical and human resources, Linux clear versatility just represents a suitable tool for the national education system, especially for the Linguistics and Information Technology areas where the Italian Minister of Education Moratti signally failed to reach the goals of her announced reform of the education and training system because she wisely preferred a very urgent internal reform. With regard to schools, whether they are public or private, it is necessary to think about the way in which the future generations can be helped to be on a par with the world governing classes. Such technologic backwardness can not be accepted.

Gregorio VII Example 2

According to a study carried out by ISFOL (the Italian Institute for the Development of Workers’ Vocational Training), and put before the meeting called “ Creation of Sustainability “, 38 new career positions, which in the not far future are going to be highly requested and fundamental for an economy based on sustainable development, have been reported.

The purposes of this study lay on the necessity to identify new career positions being requested on the market in order to create a society which has to be conscious of the occupational demands, paying attention to everybody’s wellness, but also respecting the environment….

That of aquaculture is an expanding sector due to the huge and constant call for fish products. In this case, actual managers responsible for the management of high quality systems, so being the ones not only to know of biology and zootechnics basics, but also being able to choose productive strategies that will fit the market conditions, will be useful.

University of Trieste “In the meantime the Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has received a plea-letter by the lays of the centre-right … to ask for a “soft law” on the living will, which does not regulate in a strict way the issue and leaves space to the will of each person.”

“If you want to lose wait, you can just look at the pictures of these delicacies.”

“The password for those who decide to spend a holiday in this type of place is “leave home noisy things.”

“This is not the plot of a new film, but the incredible fact told today … of a young Sicilian couple. It all started with the honey money of the young Sicilians. A relaxing cruise, maybe too relaxing, especially for he man, who had to keep an eye on his wife. Because she, a blond 25-year-old, let herself go with a black waiter and had sexual intercourse. Just one, amongst the many had with her husband.”

“So there are 9 million Italians who uses homeopathy.”

“Captain Umberto Nobile, on board the airship Norge, was flying over the geographical north pole, leaving fall-down on the ice pack a Norwegian flag, as well as an Italian one and one U.S.

“Does the fact that the four beautiful ladies part of the government never object – unlike Rosy Bindi – make acceptable their beauty even if they do not have other qualities?”

Where the Gregorio VII program graduate sees “cum laude,” I see, instead, “grossa insufficienza.” What the translator from the University of Trieste calls “perfettamente bilingue,” I call “perfettamente vergognosa.” Yet this is the English that all too many translator-and-interpreter programs consider acceptable.

Here is a simple principle: Professional translators, translation educators, and translation-training programs should discourage students, administrators, instructors, and clients from providing, accepting, or promoting written translation services into a second or other language.

Why would so many translators—and so many translator-training programs—reject such a principle?


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