In December last year, the first participants became Memsource Certified Students by successfully fulfilling the criteria set by the Memsource Student Academic Program and passing a test with a minimum score of 80 %. The test verified not only their skills in Memsource but also their knowledge of the entire translation process, and also taught us a number of valuable lessons.
The story begins a lot earlier than that, however. The idea of certifying students’ skills in using Memsource and being able to navigate through the complexities of translation project management processes popped up in early 2017 and was quickly recognized as a valuable opportunity to get closer to students trained in Memsource.
“Certification proves your claims of being able to use a tool and gives you a more professional air.”
Our aim from the very beginning was to create a certificate that would help students and recent graduates in jump-starting their career. Knowing that similar certificates – that do not bear much value – already exist, we aimed to make it more competitive and chose to offer it exclusively to institutions with high-quality curriculum and teaching.
Little did we know what the students would tell us about the difficulty of the program.
Building on Lecturers’ Substantial Experience
As we wanted to capitalize on the extensive experience of lecturers that train their students in Memsource, we first asked them what they thought and if they would be interested in joining the project. We asked those that were interested to describe their translation technology courses in as much detail as possible, and we took notes. A lot of notes.
These notes provided us with the opportunity to build the program around the lecturer’s busy schedules, understand their expectations, and helped us shape the entire project to ensure quality and relevance.
To guarantee students were led by Memsource professionals, we asked the lecturers to become Certified Trainers first, and the 19 who passed were offered program participation.
Setting it all in Motion
The results were exactly as we wanted: A program and exam rigorous enough to adequately train students without intervening with the lecturer’s existing duties.
The test was, in the end, divided into three sections, each of which evaluated different skill related to the translation process. First, students had to complete a fully practical assignment, where they had to dig into the options of Memsource editors. A written assignment followed, where students had to prove that they know what project managers expect from them. And what they should expect from the project managers. And last but not least, students had to provide answers to three questions related to the general Memsource functionality – working offline, using Machine Translation, and so on.
The first round of the certification was launched in September 2017. Exactly 100 of the registered students delivered the required documents before the November deadline. 30 successfully passed the exam, and I learned a valuable lesson about setting deadlines. But there is still time for that.
We interviewed Anna and Lea, the two students with flawless test files, and also sent a quick questionnaire to the rest of the participants. Their kind answers gave us an invaluable opportunity to evaluate the certification from the point of view of those most significant – the students themselves.
The responses showed us that a number of the students would be willing to face a more difficult challenge! “I expected a little bit more tinkering with the controls,” said Anna. Although the majority of the students worked on the assignments for over an hour, the difficulty was usually graded as average. Clarity of the instructions and the registration process received the best mark from most of the students – hurray! – but there is always a but and room for improvement.
Up for a Challenge
And we hear you, dear students. Our next round will undergo the following improvements:
- A little difficulty boost
- A not-so-little clarity enhancement
- And since one of the students also expressed her concern that potential employers might actually not know how challenging the testing is, we have also started working on increasing the awareness of our business partners through social media.
“The certificate shows that someone is not only familiar with the CAT tool but is also using it at an early stage in their training.”
We are looking forward to cooperating even more closely with the universities and to get in touch with the students themselves in another big project that is going to be unveiled this year. We can declassify one thing right away, though. The goal is still the same: Help students find a place in the market. A place that suits them the best.
After all, we are all still students, and we have to learn to keep up with the market whether the learning takes place at a university campus or not. For example, I have learned that – here it comes! –
- I should never ever set a submission deadline for Sunday evening.
About the author
Filip Šanca is the Academic Account Manager at Memsource, working with translation professors and students participating in the Academic Program around the world. He is currently working on his master’s degree in Serbian philology at Charles University in Prague.
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