Academic Translations Translations

Current Trends in Academic Translation

Third in a series of interviews with CEO and founder of Cross Border Translation, Joel van Valkenhoef.

‘Since I started translating for educational institutions, I’ve seen a pronounced change in Dutch universities. They’ve shifted from being exclusively Dutch to being very focused on becoming bilingual, and by bilingual I mean Dutch and English, and in some cases going all the way to being fully English to where everything needs to be in English.

‘You find that even now, if a university is not bilingual, it’s not moving ahead with the times. Certain universities are way ahead. When I started, for example, the Delft University of Technology was already fully bilingual, whereas Radboud wasn’t at that time. They are now, however, rapidly catching up, and most other Dutch universities are catching up as well.

‘Some universities are truly international and go a lot further by providing translations of their web sites into a lot of other languages. Some more exotic like Chinese. If you go to the Wageningen web site, you’ll see that a lot of their pages are in Chinese as well. They, therefore, attract a lot of students from that part of the world.

‘And this trend toward being bilingual is gaining momentum all across Europe.’

– Joel van Valkenhoef

Academic Translations Translations

The Earliest Beginnings of Cross Border Translation

This is the continuation of the blog series based on Cross Border Translation’s founder’s (Joel van Valkenhoef) answers to interview questions we put to him on his story, translation in general, his translation agency’s history, and academic translation in particular.

Q. When and how did you get the idea of starting your own translation agency?

A. The idea of having a translation agency goes back more than ten years while I was still studying. As I said, I was studying Spanish in university so I took all the translation courses related to that, and this piqued my interest. During that time, while I was still in university, I heard of someone who owned a translation agency, and I was instantly inspired by that. I loved translating and liked the idea of having my own business.

I never really wanted to work a 9 to 5, so I was looking for ways in which I could work and travel while deciding my own hours and location. Basically, I envisioned having this kind of lifestyle in my early to mid-twenties and never really saw myself as a translator even when I was. I always saw myself in the process of setting up a translation business, doing multiple languages, long before that was even the case and I was just an independent translator.

Q. How did you get involved in academic translating?

A. My start in translation actually was doing academic translations. It started quite simply: at my OWN university soon after graduating! I saw a vacancy at Radboud University, Nijmegen, for a ‘Translation Project Manager’. I wasn’t interested in this 9-5 job, but it did inspire me to offer my services.

Through my connections, my professors, my fellow students, who went on to do internships and PhD’s at that university, I was given some work and got my start as a translator. That was in 2008, 10 years ago. They were happy with my work and this grew into a great collaboration, first as an academic translator, then, as I started hiring more people, as an academic translation agency.

Naturally during this time, I started offering CBT’s services to other academic institutions as well. And it just organically grew from there.

Written by: Brent Adams