17/07/2015, by CLAS

A reflection on being an MA in Chinese/English Translation and Interpreting student at the University of Nottingham

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

Being a current MA CETI student in the University of Nottingham, life here makes me feel reenergized, refreshed and revitalized. Not only because the University of Nottingham is a major research institution which delivers work of international significance; also the eight state-of-the-art interpreting booths, built to the same specifications as those used by the UN in Geneva, provide specialized technical support for entering the profession. Besides, module convenors here are ‘desperately’ knowledgeable and personally charming.

Within the splendid neo-Classical-style Trent building lies our school – Cultures, Languages and Area Studies, whispering reminiscences of all the centuries; time may fade away, but the echo of knowledge will fill the timeless silence. Once I told one of my friends from another school that I am based in the Trent Building. His reaction totally defeated my logic: he opened his mouth to a width you may not believe a normal human could and screamed, ‘What? Really?! You guys are so lucky! Are you kidding me? Is it the building on every brochure of our university?’ In order not to hurt his pride, I said quite timidly, ‘Yees?’

It may be quite a cliché to say that becoming an interpreter was my dream when I was a middle- school student. But whatever, it has been my dream. After coming to the UK, living a life without sunshine (just kidding, sunny days are quite a luxury in British weather), staying in the booth and listening to varied-register audio files, what I feel desperately is that I need high-protein food! Every time after practicing for several hours, when I’m back home and look in the mirror, wow, it seems that I just came back from the island where Robinson Crusoe survived, hair tousled and eyes watering. But just as a Chinese proverb goes, it is always not a bad thing to learn a new craft, isn’t that right? During this year’s study, I have taken part in three interpreting activities in and out of school, namely the 8th International Model United Nations Multilingual Conference, the NCTL Leadership on Curriculum – Guangdong Head-teacher Training Program and the Nottingham 2015 Chinese Independent Film Festival, for which I owe my thanks and gratitide to my supervisor, Dr Yvonne Lee.

Besides these three activities I have taken part in, the practice time in the booth during term time and out of term time also mean a lot to me. Interpreting reminds you that people may forget what you say, and they may forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Interpreting is about creating memory, training memory, facilitating memory by note-taking and becoming a better person.

All in all, it is an activity all about memory!


Hongyuan Cheng, MA Chinese/English Translation and Interpreting

Posted in Language Centre