After attending the American Translators Association (ATA) Annual Conferences for 20-plus years as an interpreter and an LSP executive, ATA 2015 was the first one that I attended as the Career and Academic Advisor for the Translation, Translation & Interpretation, and Conference Interpretation MA Programs at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS). I was scheduled to be at our booth on the first day of the conference with Dean Renee Jourdenais of the Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation and Language Education at MIIS. It turned out to be an extremely gratifying day for me hearing from the employers.
The day started with Celeste Bergold of the U.S. Department of State stopping by to tell us how much she valued our graduates. She said she was particularly impressed by how they “hit the ground running” and didn’t need to be told things more than once. She also noted their strong professional ethics and collaborative skills. Unsolicited, several other employers came by to praise our graduates. Some key phrases used were:
“Dedicated and quick learners”
“Great project managers”
“Best professional knowledge, skills and ethics”
“Focus on quality”
An educator told our students at our alumni reception: “You are in the right program. It is tough, but rigorous. Anyone who wants to do anything with languages should go to Monterey.”
Another educator said to Dean Jourdenais: “You are the standard and we aspire to be you.”
I sat down with Dean Jourdenais after returning from the conference to review the feedback that we had received.
WH: Renee, thank you for making the time to meet with me for this short interview.
RJ: My pleasure.
WH: Tell me about how you felt when you heard all those unsolicited compliments?
RJ: It’s really gratifying to hear how employers feel about our graduates, and particularly notable that they feel this so strongly that they seek us out to tell us! It certainly leads me to return to the Institute with a renewed sense of purpose and the comforting feeling that we’re on the right track and training people appropriately for their careers.
WH: I have heard the term “the Monterey method of teaching”. Could you please explain that and how much do you think it contributes to the great performance of our graduates?
RJ: This is an intriguing term because I don’t think there’s any one particular way of teaching here. Different faculty certainly have different approaches to training, but I do believe that what unites them is their commitment to ensuring that our graduates are people that they’ll want to work with. After all, our students become our colleagues very quickly! The faculty are all active in the field, they KNOW what skills are needed and are able to share this real world, real time knowledge with the students. They’re also exceptional instructors. It’s quite a gift to have talented practitioners who are also talented teachers and are able to share their skills and knowledge as they train the next generation. We’re really fortunate and this leads us to be able to offer exceptional professional training to our students.
WH: Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with me. I am sure our students and alumni appreciate your insights.
Career & Academic Advisor