Startpage for Swedish National Agency for Higher Education

Please note! The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education was closed down on 31 December 2012. Instead two new agencies have been established: the Swedish Council for Higher Education and the Swedish Higher Education Authority. This website will continue to operate as the new agencies will have links to information it contains.  

2003:32 R  

Evaluation of Undergraduate Programme in Specialist Translation at Göteborg University and Study of Current Courses for Translators and Interpreters

The report comprises two main parts. First, it evaluates Göteborg University´s undergraduate programme in specialist translation. Secondly, it contains a study of current translators´ and interpreters´ training in Sweden.

Göteborg University has been selected for evaluation because it is the only Swedish higher education institution offering specialist translation as a main subject. Other Swedish course programmes for translators and interpreters are not evaluated, but described in the supplementary study. Including Denmark and Finland broadens the perspective further.

For this assignment, the National Agency for Higher Education engaged an external group of experts from Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

Specialist translation at Göteborg University

In its report, the group stated its opinion that Göteborg University´s course programme in specialist translation is well designed and of high quality. The pressure on places is heavy, and the students´ previous knowledge is good. The programme has a clear profile through its emphasis on the Swedish language and specialist terminology, and because the students study two source languages.

Nonetheless, the experts propose ways of developing the programme further. In their opinion, the role of translation research should be clarified in the programme. Similarly, information technology should be better integrated into the teaching and the international perspective strengthened.

On two points, the group identifies shortcomings that need remedying. First, criteria for marking examinations and essays must be elucidated and documented. Secondly, the progression between the first and the second essay must be clarified through higher scientific requirements imposed on the latter.

Translators´ and interpreters´ training today and tomorrow

Besides Göteborg University, there are course programmes in translation at Uppsala University, Lund University, the Institute for Interpretation and Translation Studies (IITS) at Stockholm University, Växjö University, Örebro University and the University College of South Stockholm (Södertörns högskola). These programmes vary in duration and content. Five Master´s degree programmes now serve to supplement students´ prior language studies. In addition, numerous single-subject courses and course blocks are offered. Interpreters´ training is separate and provided at undergraduate level in some cases, but largely in popular adult education, at folk high schools and in study associations.

Course programmes for translators have proliferated in recent years. One reason may be that translator training is seen as a way of ensuring the continued existence of individual language subjects. However, rapid expansion has made the range of courses difficult to grasp, which hinders prospective students. One future challenge may therefore be to consolidate the range already on offer.

At the same time, there is ample scope for development. There is, for example, a need to introduce more elements of job experience and international exchange into the course programmes. Establishing translation as a research discipline and opening up the programmes to new student groups are other development areas. One major potential group, for example, comprises students seeking to translate from Swedish into the major immigrant languages.