Our Graduates

More than one hundred language-services professionals have graduated from Translation & Interpreting Studies. Our graduates go on to a variety of industry and academic positions. Most enter the language-services industry. Many have launched successful freelance businesses in the US and abroad. Others have secured positions as CEOs, sales or project managers, editors, quality control specialists, or translators in translation companies across the globe.

We also have alumni active in academia, chairing or teaching in translation and/or interpreting programs across the nation. Approximately five per cent of our graduates pursue PhD studies, and many of them are employed in academic positions in the US and abroad.

Congratulations to our 2016 – 2017 graduates

M.A.

French to English: Catherine Breckenridge
German to English and Russian to English: Matthew Eikamp

Best wishes for your continued success!

“I got my Master’s in Translation from UWM and within six months I was able to pay my bills working as a freelance translator & interpreter. Not bad!”

Susie Schweigert, MA in Translation (2011)
Susie Schweigert

Jennifer Flamboe, 2007

Current city: Greenfield, WI

Concentration: Spanish and Translation (double concentration)

Now I’m: Associate Professor – Alverno College; Spanish Interpreter II – Children’s Hospital; Owner & Linguist – Equalingua LLC

I came to Translation & Interpreting Studies because:
In college, I discovered my passion for language and culture. After graduation, I lived and worked in Latin America for a few years and realized the demand for interpreting and translation; however, in order to break into that field, a degree was required. When I relocated to the U.S., I jumped on the opportunity to obtain my Master’s in Translation, which at that time, was offered on-site at UW-Milwaukee.

What career advice do you have for current or potential TIS students?
Due to the increase in globalization, translation and interpreting is an emerging profession in the U.S. that has become better understood and appreciated by many industries. The advice I have is to be patient, yet persistent, in achieving your career goals. Summarize for yourself what you hope to accomplish and accept opportunities, volunteer or paid, that will lead you in that direction. Learning through experience is far more valuable than classroom exercises; plus, you never know whom you will meet or what connections might develop as a result of your involvement in extra-curricular activities and attendance at professional conferences or continuing education sessions.

Katrina R. Steffes, 2009

Current city: Aurora, IL

Concentration: Spanish to English Translation

Now I’m: The CEO of my own translation agency, Steffes & Associates Language and Translation (SALT).

I came to Translation & Interpreting Studies because:
I always enjoyed speaking and writing in Spanish and thought that I might want to seek a job as an interpreter. The TIS program offered the education and opportunities I needed to better understand the field and to prepare for my role as a translator and interpreter.

What career advice do you have for current or potential TIS students?
Continually seek experiences that utilize your language skills even if that position or experience is not ultimately your dream job. The experience you gain by using your developing skills and the networking contacts you make may prove invaluable to your future career goals. (For example, in order to practice my Spanish skills while studying, I worked at a Hispanic supermarket, at various not-for-profit agencies, as a receptionist, and as a legal assistant).

Susan Schweigert, 2011

Current city: Chicago, IL

Concentration: Spanish to English Translation

Now I’m: a freelance translator and interpreter in the legal field

I came to Translation & Interpreting Studies because:
I always loved working with languages. While working with an international non-profit, translation and interpreting were a big part of my job. I enjoyed it immensely and decided to pursue it as a career.

What career advice do you have for current or potential TIS students?
Continuing education is a must. Stay involved with colleagues and professional organizations, and always be ready to learn something new.

Darina Pugacheva, 2012

Current city: Baton Rouge, LA

Concentration: French to English Translation, working languages French English; Russian English

Now I’m: a doctoral candidate in the Dept. of French Studies at Louisiana State University

I came to Translation & Interpreting Studies because:
I have a passion for expressing ideas in multiple languages.

What career advice do you have for current or potential TIS students?
If someone tells you that you are not good enough, it is fine to get upset; but use your sadness to work hard and prove them wrong. And don’t get disheartened when you see a red (or any other color) column of your professor’s comments on the right-hand side of your translated document. It only means that you have space for improvement. One of the most important things that the program taught me is that I need to develop a thicker skin if I want to survive in the profession.

Kristy Brown Lust, 2014

Current city: Madison, WI

Concentration: French to English translation

Now I’m: an in-house translator for a translation agency

I came to Translation & Interpreting Studies because:
I studied French in undergrad because I loved the language, but didn’t know exactly how I would use it in my career. I worked for a French-owned company after graduation and they asked me to translate their company magazine. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to go back to school part time to get my master’s degree in translation. After nearly 15 years of experience working in marketing and corporate communications, this career change is giving me the opportunity to combine so many of the things I love—translation, marketing, writing, travel and more.

What career advice do you have for current or potential TIS students?
I recently attended a conference for translators working in the value-added segment of the market—in other words, for companies who value the superior writing skills and critical thinking that only a human can provide. Here are a few ideas I picked up there: If you want to be a translator, getting work experience in another field first can be an excellent way to develop a specialization. Personal experience and hobbies are also an excellent source of specialized knowledge. Hone your target-language writing skills. Read widely in your target language, especially on topics that you want to specialize in.

Keara Engelhardt, 2015

Current city: Paris, France

Concentration: French to English Translation

Now I’m: a freelance translator & English teacher

I came to Translation & Interpreting Studies because:
I took a translation class in undergrad to complete a requirement and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

What career advice do you have for current or potential TIS students?
For translation students (not much experience with interpretation, sorry) give yourself a few reviews of your work over a few days, if possible. If you spend too long thinking about one text at once, it can become really easy for the walls between your languages to crumble, and you won’t be sure if it makes sense to people who don’t speak both your languages. You need time away from your work for those walls to build back up.

Selima Ben Chagra, 2015

Current city: Tunis, Tunisia

Concentrations: Arabic to English & French to English Translation

Now I’m: Liaison Officer and Translator/Interpreter at the United Nations Mine Action Service, Libya

I came to Translation & Interpreting Studies because:
I have filled different positions before realizing that the only career that could get me to work in most of the fields I was passionate about was a career in translation and interpreting. My main motivation for studying translation and interpreting was the fact that it was the only specialty that could allow me to keep working in all the other fields I loved (foreign affairs, health, advertising, human rights, education, etc.) without having to give any of them up. The fact that I had already worked in the above-mentioned fields before joining the program made me even more aware of the importance of gaining another perspective into the world of translation and interpreting. The fact that the department offered double-concentration studies involving my two native languages was also a huge advantage.

What career advice do you have for current or potential TIS students?
I started my TIS with over ten years of international experience, and while that doesn’t make me a match for a typical student profile, I think it enables me to give some insight from a different perspective. If my story can tell you anything, it shows that it is never too late to follow your dreams and that having a successful career does not necessarily mean giving up on your studies, and vice versa. If you are a current TIS student with no or little experience, this degree can give you access to both freelancing and in-house opportunities. It may also help to do some volunteering when you can afford to. Besides the fact that it is self-rewarding to work on issues that you believe in, volunteering with big organizations can also give you visibility and allow you to build or expand your professional network.