The School of Translation and Foreign Languages Offers More Foreign Language Courses
With its plan to open more foreign language courses, the original School of Translation has been renamed the School of Translation and Foreign Languages (STFL) this new academic year. “Now it’s not enough for us to know only Chinese and English. There are many different cultures in the world. The formation of a global village also creates the need to learn different languages for better communication. Looking forward, STFL hopes to develop beyond Chinese-English translation and go for translation between German and Chinese, Spanish and Chinese, English and French, English and German, and so on.” says Professor Gilbert Fong, Dean of the School of Translation and Foreign Languages.
Dr Shelby Chan, Associate Dean, says that when studying a foreign language, students also need to learn the culture, history and social background, as only in this way can they understand the community using that language and build their empathy and sympathy towards that community. “After students learn the language and culture, and get to know more about the place, they can think of studying, working or even living there, so that they can widen their horizons and explore room for self development.”
Besides current courses on French, German, Spanish and Italian, STFL is looking to open Indonesian and Vietnamese courses. Another development focus of the School is computer technology, and there will be translation courses on international relations, current affairs and sustainability as well. Professor Fong stresses, “We hope to train students to be Smart Translators. For ‘Smart’, firstly it means ‘Language Smart’, secondly it is ‘Cultural Smart’, which means to say something appropriate according to the occasion. Thirdly it is ‘Technology Smart’, which is about computer-aided translation. Translation is not a parroting exercise. We need to train students’ competence in translation with these three ‘Smart’ qualities, so that they are able to create new products.”
Putting emphasis on students’ practical experience, STFL set up the Business Translation Centre a few years ago to enable students to gain hands-on experience dealing with clients. “We hope that students can adapt and articulate quickly once they enter the workforce. Hence it is very important for them to get first-hand experience so that they will be well prepared in translation standards, skills and attitude.”
Professor Fong and Dr Chan conclude that the translation programme at HSUHK is dynamic, able to meet the need of the market and society, and attaches equal importance to theory and practice. It also has the greatest number of translation technology projects among Hong Kong’s higher institutions due to its increasing effort in this aspect. “We will make a big push towards computer translation technology, and our programmes will be more diversified in the future.”