Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Stephanie Cooper

Visiting Professor

I taught in the French Translation and Interpretation program at MIIS in 2012 and 2013. After a short break, I came back in September 2015 as Visiting Faculty.

I have over 18 years of experience in translation and interpretation, yet my love for the job has not faded a bit. Quite the opposite. I truly love to share my passion for my career with all my students at MIIS.

I deeply enjoy teaching at MIIS. Probably because MIIS is a special place with a special program: Like so many of my peers, I consider that our current students are our future colleagues; therefore I treat them as such. I am demanding with my students, but also very committed to their success, as it is my role to provide the strongest training possible so they become first-rate, professional translators and conference interpreters. I strive to find effective, engaging methods to guide and support students in their learning journey. Also, I am a strong believer that there is not one type of learner, just as there is not one type of interpreter. I think that MIIS provides a compelling French T&I program in that it is highly customized to our students’ unique learning profiles.

As to my life outside of MIIS, one could say that I wear many hats: I have been a freelance translator for 15 years. I also interpret on a regular basis, whether it is next door at Laguna Seca or far away in Gabon. My clients include corporations, foundations, the U.S government and international organizations. Also, this is California after all and I have developed a real fondness for the entertainment industry: I have been interpreting live TV shows such as the Red Carpet coverage for the Academy Awards (“Oscars’), Grammys, Emmys and Golden Globes for over 7 years. You can also find me at the San Francisco International Film Festival helping film directors engage with their audience or with a filming crew in Palm Springs interviewing Postmodernism specialists.

I also have extensive management experience as I was in charge of the translation department of a large healthcare/pharmaceutical data publishing company for 10 years. I hired, trained and supervised several teams of translators and editors (3 languages), and I was responsible for the quality. The best part of this experience, on a personal level, was to learn to efficiently collaborate with various people inside and outside my organization -- and to meet our goals together. My corporate experience therefore helps me teach students about teamwork as it is an essential part of the job (which sometimes may get overlooked in the profession).

This experience allows me to help my students understand what it takes to become a highly reliable, quality-driven and ethical interpreter and/or translator. It also allows me to share insights on the translation industry, on opportunities in the corporate world and emphasize critical skills that are not necessarily linguistic-related but very valued by employers.

Interpreting/translating is one of the rare professions that require an endless thirst for knowledge: maybe that’s why I still love it 20 years after my first booth experience - when I interpreted for the real Erin Brockovich! That was an interesting (understand hilarious) introduction to the profession! Learning never stops. It can be a translation that made a big difference for fishing villages in the Caribbean (I learnt a great deal about fish populations and coral blooms… and got to scuba dive!). Or it can be a therapy session with a disabled child who is joyfully interacting with a trained dolphin and his trainer -- through his interpreter. With each new translation or conference, a door opens to a new universe. And needless to say there is nothing that beats being a bridge between two people who speak different languages and come from opposite sides of the planet, but are eager to learn about each other, and depend on me to be their reliable channel of communication.

Expertise

Translation and interpretation, both consecutive and simultaneous.

Software localization, healthcare and pharma.

Motion picture industry, environment, foreign affairs, digital industry.

Project management and localization.

Professional Memberships

Member of the American Translators Association.

Education

MA in French and Spanish Conference Interpretation, Monterey Institute of International Studies, California

“Licence” in Spanish literature and civilizations, minor in English literature, Paris X Nanterre

 

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