European Master's in Translation

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The European Master's in Translation (EMT) is a partnership project between the Directorate-General for Translation (DGT) of the European Commission and a number of universities from a wide range of European countries. EMT is a quality label for translation programmes that offer a Master's degree. The DGT awards the label to higher education programmes that meet the EMT quality standards for translator training. Master programmes that meet these standards can become members of the EMT network. The initial project was launched in 2006 and the first network was set up in December 2009, following a rigorous selection in which applicant university programmes were evaluated by academic assessors. This first EMT Network consisted of 34 universities in 16 European countries. In 2011, 20 more programmes were selected, bringing the total number of members to 54 programmes in 20 European countries. In the most recent selection round in 2014, EMT membership increased to 63 member programmes from 22 countries, including two non-EU members (from Switzerland). The project serves as a model in its approach to convergence in higher education in Europe, in the broad context of the Bologna process.

Why was the EMT set up?

There is a growing demand for highly qualified translators who can provide multilingual communication in both the public and the private sector. Due to the quickly evolving translation markets, professional translators need to cope with activities not traditionally regarded as ‘pure' translation, such as localisation, editing, subtitling or project management. Professionally oriented translator training is needed in order to ensure a good match between graduate competences and employer requirements.

What do EMT universities offer?

EMT programmes offer a Master's degree, corresponding to a one- or two-year programme in translation (between 60 and 120 points in the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). At the core of each curriculum is a common set of basic skills in translation, regardless of the language combinations. The core of the EMT programmes is defined by the following six professional competences that graduates should acquire:

  • translation service provision competence (including customer relationship management)
  • language and intercultural competences (proficiency in source and target languages, text summary skills and ability to understand information containing cultural allusions)
  • information mining competence (ability to search for information, by looking critically at various information sources)
  • technological competence, especially in handling translation memories and terminology management
  • domain-specific competence (knowledge in a specialist field for professional translation practice)

The EMT quality label

Only members of the EMT Network can use the EMT name and logo as a quality label when referring to their master’s programmes in translation. The logo is protected as a registered EU trademark. Members receive a membership certificate and sign the EMT charter, which sets out the obligations of EMT members.

Activities of the EMT network

EMT members meet twice a year to foster cooperation and exchange best practices in the training of future translators who should be competent in all aspects of translation service provision, including marketing, customer relations, time and budget management and invoicing, as well as training in new technologies and specialist fields. To this end the member programmes constantly adapt their programmes to the changing professional working environment. The meetings used to take place in Brussels, but it was recently decided to organise meetings in the home countries of EMT universities as well.

After each selection round, the EMT members elect the EMT Board, which decides on strategic issues and meets regularly, face-to-face or in videoconference. The next selection round will be launched in the autumn of 2018. How are the activities of the EMT supported by the European Commission? The Directorate-General for Translation supports the EMT by:

  • organising the EMT Network meetings
  • stimulating research cooperation between EMT universities
  • promoting academia-business cooperation
  • offering training placements for EMT students.

The European Master's in Conference Interpreting has a similar approach.


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