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New opportunities found in translation

Increasing globalization of business is adding to the demand for programs like UWM’s.

New opportunities found in translation by Kathy Quirk

When Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett needed a translator to make a meeting with a Basque business delegation go smoothly, Susan Schweigert was there to help.

Schweigert, who earned her degree from UWM’s growing online graduate program in translation and interpreting two years ago, now runs her own business, Schweigert Language Services. She offers translation of written documents from Spanish, Portuguese and French to English and is certified as a Spanish interpreter in the Wisconsin courts.

Even the United Nations is having trouble finding translation experts.

Lorena Terando, MALLT coordinator

Schweigert credits her coursework in her Master of Arts in Language, Literature and Translation (MALLT) program with giving her the business and legal skills she needed to launch her career.

“I liked the idea of the flexibility and variety of having my own business. I’m immensely grateful for what I learned in those courses and in the program,” says Schweigert.

UWM’s online program, one of the few in the country, is meeting an increasing demand for interpreters (spoken language) and translators (written), says Lorena Terando, coordinator of the program.

“Even the United Nations is having trouble finding translation experts,” she says.

The increasing globalization of business is a key factor, adding to the demand for programs like UWM’s. MALLT has grown from 30 students to more than 50 in a few short years.

“Japanese companies are expanding their manufacturing operations in Kentucky and Tennessee, and German and Spanish companies are doing a great deal of work in green energy,” says Kate Scholz, MALLT assistant coordinator.

With the addition in 2014 of a Russian-to-English track, UWM now offers seven options: Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, French and German to English, and English to Spanish. UWM’s program, one of the few in the U.S. granting a master’s degree in translation, is approved by the American Translators Association. Because it is totally online, it attracts students from around the U.S. and as far away as Jordan.