Portrait of Lydia munday

Lydia Munday

What made you want to apply to your MA course and to Leeds? 

I came to the course with a slightly different background from many of the others. I am in my mid-thirties and had been working as an English (TEFL) teacher. I didn’t have an undergraduate degree in languages but had experience working abroad, where I learned my languages. 
I discovered my passion for languages when I was working abroad but I had no qualifications in languages and need a certificate to be able to work as a translator. Leeds was one of the few universities that offered Portuguese to English translation courses and they had a good reputation. After speaking to the Post-graduate Admin Office and one of the lecturers, who were both very helpful, I was convinced that it was worth moving from Oxford to Leeds to do the MA. 
I love translating because you are always learning. It’s such a broad area that it can take you down a range of different avenues and put you in contact with people from an incredible range of backgrounds. It is also an industry that is constantly evolving. 

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most? 

This MA course gave me the direction and insight necessary to set up as a freelance translator. I would never have had the confidence, knowledge or qualifications to be able to do this otherwise. I liked the flexibility of the course and the fact that, apart from the core modules, I was able to build my own MA programme according to my needs and skills. I liked the fact that the course was based around practical, real-life projects. We were able to gain experience of using professional subtitling and translation software, project management and the financial elements of setting up in business, such as quoting and invoicing in a supportive environment. I also enjoyed the contact we had with visiting professionals in the field. 

What would you say about Leeds as a city? 

My decision to do an MA was rather last minute, and I moved from Oxford to do it. I was not particularly interested in Leeds as a city, but once I arrived I loved it so much that I decided to stay here permanently. I love the fact that Leeds is such an international city, with a great music and arts scene and friendly people. It is a lively and constantly evolving city with plenty to do, yet it’s small enough to get around on foot or escape to the beautiful surrounding parks and countryside. 

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course? 

I highly recommend doing the course part time for those with less previous translation experience or those who are not entirely sure what direction they want to take in the translation industry. Doing the course part-time gave me the chance to experience different types of translation, assimilate the information learned in those very intense terms. Lecturers were also very happy to let students audit classes, which was a big plus for me. In fact, I initially enrolled on the MAATS course but realised that I was more suited to Audio-visual translation. The way the core modules are structured allows part-time students to change programme after the second year if they feel this is more suitable. Lecturers were always very supportive and approachable. 

What do you plan to do now you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with these plans? 

I’m now working as a freelance translator, so I couldn’t have hoped for more. The course did not only provide me with a qualification but the confidence, support and contacts I needed to be able to branch out as a freelancer in what is an increasingly competitive environment.