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A day in the life of a translation studies student

04/09/2020 |

Hi, I’m Claire and I’m in my first year of the Master of Translation Studies at UWA, specialising in Chinese. I have only just started my master’s journey, commencing in February this year, and am excited about what lies ahead.

My interest in languages and translation studies can be traced back to several years of working in international business. In a professional capacity, I often served as an unofficial translator or interpreter – a ‘bridge’ between China and other countries. It became evident through my work that professional training in this area was very desirable and in urgent need.

Prior to this, I had chosen to undertake an Arts degree in China, majoring in Literature and Journalism.

I am passionate about the beauty of being multilingual and understanding different cultures and people. I also have a real enthusiasm for language application.

For me, the study of translation is a fascinating journey that will deepen my comprehension of language. I would regard the role of a translator as one of the most challenging yet rewarding. For example, one of our roles is to figure out the expression used in texts from the ‘source’ language and compare with the ‘target’ language to identify the most suitable version of the translation.

“Our translation studies teachers have one main thing in common: their ability to encourage. With considerable experience in their professional fields and in industry, they really want to see us achieve our study and career goals, and are always available to help us find solutions to challenges.”


What’s the first year of study like?

As an international student, the first semester of university is especially critical. This is a precious opportunity to get familiar with everything – the study and/or living environment, the city, the culture and, above all else, the way of teaching.

To achieve good grades, you want to be as prepared as you can be for every lesson. It took me a while to observe and summarise the differences in teaching styles but I quickly got the hang of things.

My typical day


I get up early to head to my job at Chanel on King Street, where I do an hour of office cleaning. I would love to call this physical exercise because, due to my busy schedule and COVID-19, I barely have the time to go to the gym. After that, I will buy a cup of coffee and go to the campus to start my study life with a refreshed mind and body.


I generally eat lunch at the terrace outside the first floor of Reid Library because it has the most beautiful garden view.


After finishing all my classes for the day, I’ll head back to Reid Library to complete my assignments until around 6pm.


Outside work and uni, I provide Mandarin teaching lessons to students in person or via Zoom in the evenings. If I still have some time, I’ll visit my best friend and walk his dog. His dog’s name is Loki. He’s three years old and quite heavy, but a big and gentle goofball.

Future plans

My master’s degree will equip me with the specific techniques and skills needed for a career in translation or interpreting, with my preference being to work with a hospital or government agency.

Our Master of Translation Studies and Graduate Certificate in Translation Studies are subsidised by the Australian Government as a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP), so they're now more affordable than ever. You may also be interested in our combined Master of Commerce and Master of Translation Studies.

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