Translation Workshop Widens Students’ Career Horizons

Translation Workshop Widens Students’ Career Horizons.

By Luther J. Kanso

(From left) Alumna Takla Katoul Rahbani, Dr. Affeich, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Languages Vahid Behmardi, and first prize winner English senior student Reem El Zouheiry.
Senior translation student Sahar Jaarour took second prize.
Translation alumna Lara Al Farran claimed the third prize.
Senior translation student Nada Hachicho also came third.

In today’s interconnected world, translation—a dynamic field that demands a diverse skillset—is a conduit that unites cultures and facilitates global understanding. For translation majors, the field presents a gateway to new opportunities, cultural enrichment and meaningful connections.

At LAU, the Translation program in the Department of Communication, Arts and Languages (CAL), hosted a workshop on April 4 for students and alumni to illustrate the versatility of the field. Titled Project Management, Search Engine Optimization and Copywriting, the workshop was divided into two sessions combining practical knowledge with hands-on exercises.

It was facilitated by LAU alumna Takla Katoul Rahbani (BA ’18; MA ’22), an expert in marketing translation and its different components, who is currently working as an Arabic external reviewer for Google and Spotify at Vistatec, Ireland.

During the first session, open only to students majoring in translation, the participants engaged in discussions on project management methodologies, exploring terminology nuances, workflow strategies, and best practices for managing translation projects efficiently.

“This deep dive into project management is like giving them a roadmap and showing them the twists and turns they might encounter and how to navigate through them effectively,” Rahbani said. “It’s all about preparing them to handle the uncertainties of professional life with confidence and competence before stepping into it.”

The subsequent session, open to all CAL students, investigated the intersection of translation with search engine optimization (SEO), copywriting strategies, and the impact of generative AI in the digital landscape. Participants practiced developing compelling brand identities, understanding audience preferences, and implementing SEO techniques for enhanced content visibility.

“What many translation students don’t realize is that their role extends far beyond just translating,” Rahbani pointed out, noting that they can also work as copywriters, content creators, and subtitlers, among others. “I’m here to shed light on this path and hopefully help them navigate the changing world of translation and communication in ways that truly benefit their careers.”

The workshop also featured an interactive competition where students were tasked with developing their own brand, defining its unique voice and identifying target markets.

“This pushes them to use their new skills in creative and strategic ways,” noted Assistant Professor of Practice in the Translation program Andree Affeich, who also served for two years as program leader. “By developing their brand,” she added, “they’re not just learning; they’re also utilizing critical thinking, problem-solving and innovative thinking, which are skills that employers value.”

“Participating in this workshop opened my eyes to the possibilities,” said English senior student Reem El Zouheiry, who clinched the first prize in the competition. “I realized that as a translator, I can also be a storyteller and a force for driving change, where I am my own employee and employer,” she noted, adding that the experience has encouraged her to explore more roles and opportunities within the industry.

Translation alumna Lara Al Farran (BA ’21) remarked that seeing “another alumna leading these workshops and standing where our instructors once stood goes to show LAU’s commitment and investment in ensuring our success.” Currently, Al Farran works as a project manager and web copywriter, where she oversees project planning and execution and creates website content.

Dr. Affeich looks forward to inviting more alumni as guest speakers and workshop facilitators in the future. She believes that their experiences and insights help inspire current students to navigate their career trajectories with success and innovation.