Watch recordings of online discussions with Middlebury Institute experts on a wide range of topics.

Recordings

International Security

Language, Culture, and Education

Sustainable Development

International Security

Money Laundering, Fraud, and Financial Crime in a Pandemic Era

Timothy Dunfey (CAMS, CFE, Attorney, and Bank Compliance Officer), Ross S. Delton (CAMS, Attorney, and Expert Witness), and Professor Moyara Ruehsen explore seven typologies for COVID-related money laundering and fraud, conducting customer due diligence, and detecting red flags. View the presentation slides.

Money Laundering, Fraud, and Financial Crime in a Pandemic Era

How AI and Deep Fakes Will Amplify Terrorist Propaganda

Kris McGuffie, deputy director of Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism (CTEC), and Alex Newhouse, digital research lead at CTEC, investigate how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and “deep fakes for text” are being weaponized in the hands of nonstate, nefarious actors.

How AI and Deep Fakes will Amplify Terrorist Propaganda

Is Domestic Terrorism a Greater Threat than Transnational Terrorism?

Professor Jason Blazakis, director of the Center for Terrorism, Extremism, Counterterrorism (CTEC), discusses the current threat landscape and the steps policymakers should take to counter the rise of the right-wing terrorists in the U.S.

Is Domestic Terrorism a Greater Threat than Transnational Terrorism?

Snooping on North Korea from Monterey

The Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Middlebury Institute has been heavily featured in the news recently for their groundbreaking work, analyzing North Korea’s nuclear program. Jeffrey Lewis, Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the CNS and faculty member in our MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, explains how we use language skills, satellite photographs, and 3D models to monitor North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, all without ever leaving the splendor of the Monterey Peninsula.

Snooping on North Korea from Monterey

Latest Advancements in North Korea’s Nuclear Program 

North Korea has had five nuclear tests and dozens of missile launches in the last few years. Senior Research Associate with the Center for Nonproliferation Studies Melissa Hanham shows how we can learn about North Korea’s capabilities using open source information available online.

Latest Advancements in North Korea's Nuclear Program

Russia on the Eve of 2018 Elections

Dr. Anna Vassilieva, director of the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies, speaks about contemporary Russian politics and society through the lens of the presidential elections in spring 2018. The discussion addresses what unites and divides Russians today, stories missed by U.S. mainstream media, what needs to be done in order to normalize relations between the United States and Russia, and more.

Russia on the Eve of 2018 Elections

Manafort’s Money: Investigating Financial Crimes

The extent to which financial crime impacts our international order cannot be overstated. From nuclear proliferation to political upheaval to global terrorism; where threats exist, financial backing is making them possible. In this online discussion, Dr. Moyara Ruehsen discusses financial crimes through the lens of Paul Manafort’s recent money laundering case.

Manafort's Money: Investigating Financial Crime - Moyara Ruehsen

The World of Financial Crime

Professor Moyara Ruehsen explains the new Financial Crime Management specialization (available in all degree programs) and the exciting careers it opens up—from investigative units at private banks to the FBI to compliance at tech companies like AirBnB.

The World of Financial Crime

Rebecca:

So I’m going to introduce Moyara Ruehsen. She has been teaching courses in the area of financial crime for more than 20 years. She is a certified anti-money-laundering specialist and a certified financial crime specialist. She has work experience in the private sector, conducting investigations for a large bank, as well as financial crime-related consulting work for government agencies, such as the FBI and USC. So now I’m going to turn it right over to Professor Ruehsen. Welcome.

Moyara Ruehsen:

Hi, thank you so much, Rebecca, for that introduction. And I want to extend a warm welcome to everyone who’s joining us today. I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about something I’m very excited about, and that is our new financial crime management specialization and certificate. Although this is something that we have only just formalized, we’ve actually been teaching courses in this area for many, many years. I have been teaching my financial crime courses for many years, and we have added many more related courses to that to develop a curriculum over the last 10 years, really.

Middlebury Institute at Monterey does this better than anyone because we provide the right mix of an interdisciplinary skill set that employers are asking for. And what do I mean by that? Well, when people hear the words financial crime, the first thing they think of is forensic accounting. And in fact, a tiny minority, maybe fewer than 5 percent of the people who go into this field, have an accounting background. In fact, you don’t even need to study accounting while you’re here, although many people choose to do so and do take forensic accounting courses while they’re here, especially those who are in the MBA program. But for everyone else, it’s not necessary. If you need to uncover some major fraud, you’ll hire a forensic accountant if you have to.

So if you’re going into the government sector, and a lot of students come to the Middlebury Institute with that in mind, especially the students in nonproliferation and terrorism studies, what they’re looking for is a very broad mix of skills, ranging from data analysis and network analysis, to understanding different typologies of financial crime, other types of investigative skills, good writing skills, and a little bit of legal background, a little bit of cybersecurity knowledge. You don’t have to be a cybersecurity professional, but we do have a variety of courses in cybersecurity, everything from the beginner who knows nothing about it and wants an introduction to the vocabulary and the concepts, to those who do have some knowledge of cybersecurity and want to go deeper.

I mention cybersecurity because it’s something intimidating to some folks who think, “Oh my gosh, what good is it to know just a little bit of that?” Well, it really helps because one day you’re going to be managing a team of cybersecurity specialists. So you need to know what it is that they’re talking about.

I mentioned some of the other skills as well. Interestingly enough, this field in the past, especially in the private sector, has been dominated by lawyers. And that seemed like a natural fit 20 years ago because lawyers were the ones who understood the rules and regulations, and everyone was concerned about not falling into any kind of traps when it came to rules and regulations. So the lawyers will keep us safe and adhering to the law. That’s what we want so we don’t get in trouble or face fines, et cetera.

Well, they’re not teaching a lot of these skills in law school like cybersecurity, for example, or for that matter, data analysis and network analysis. You’re going to be taking information from a variety of different sources. Maybe you’re going to get information say from cell phone connections and financial transactions and other types of connections, and then superimpose them and see if there is any kind of pattern, which is what our students do in network analysis. And we do have faculty here at the Institute who specialize in social network analysis.

A lot of students come to the Middlebury Institute with something that they’re really passionate about. Maybe they’re passionate about corruption, or maybe they’re passionate about nonproliferation or terrorism or sex trafficking, for example. Every single one of those issues has some relevance to financial crime or rather the financial crime fighting toolbox can lend itself to each of those issues. So let me take each one of those issues and talk about each one in turn.

If you’re interested in fighting corruption, well, we now can use money laundering statutes—since corruption is a predicate offense for money laundering in most parts of the world now—to freeze, seize, and forfeit the assets that are stolen by corrupt dictators around the world. And then use that in the asset recovery process to return those funds to the countries from where the money was stolen. Now, we don’t want to just hand the money back to another corrupt regime, but we have mechanisms in place now where we can use those funds for development projects, for instance.

Let’s say that your passion is sex trafficking. Well, law enforcement has found repeatedly that it’s very difficult sometimes to get a conviction when the victims are too frightened and intimidated to testify, which is understandable because their lives are in danger. Well, then let’s try a new strategy. Why not apply our anti-money-laundering statutes against these criminals? And that’s what we’ve done. We’re just beginning to do it, and it seems to be working.

Proliferation issues: proliferation financing is now a topic that policy makers are paying attention to. And they’re putting pressure on the private sector to start looking for that and monitoring for that. And again, that’s something where we provide our students with exactly the right mix of skills, whether it be that the technical issues that might be useful in understanding proliferation policy issues and dual-use goods and services, as well—we have courses and seminars in export controls, for example, and trade-based financial crime, where we address proliferation financing and sanctions compliance, for example.

And then finally terrorism financing. Although policy makers around the world often use the phrase “threat finance” so that we don’t have to worry so much about a very specific definition for a term like terrorism. So threat financing can be everything from terrorist financing to narco-terrorist financing, to other types of threats to national security. And a lot of our students are very interested in that topic. And, as I said, many of them choose to go into the public sector or for that matter work for international agencies. We have students working in Vienna at the UN Office of Drugs and Crime. We have students working in all of the intelligence agencies. We’ve had students working at Interpol.

What many of them are finding, however, is that the private sector has exciting opportunities that they never considered. And they also sometimes offer a more competitive salary as well. I found that students sometimes jump back and forth between the public sector and the private sector. In fact, that might be a rapid way for advancement and salary promotion as well.

I would say the most fun part of my job—I love teaching in the classroom, but I love also mentoring students and working with my students and taking my students to conferences and helping them network. And I’ve shared with our organizers today some photographs of students at conferences. This one is the West Coast Anti-Money-Laundering Conference, which happens every year in May up in San Francisco. So it’s very easy to get to. These are both students, as well as alumni. Another conference I’ve taken them to is in New York City. There are conferences in Vegas and Miami. I haven’t yet taken a group of students all the way to Miami because they felt that it was a little bit too far and expensive. Oddly enough, they chose to go to New York instead, but Vegas is very close by and that’s a terrific conference.

Even when I don’t take students to these conferences, I meet up with alumni. And of course my favorite thing too is working with alumni. This is an event that I did several years ago, where I met up with two of my former students, one who was with FinCEN, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, another who was with Main Treasury, and we were training ministry officials from six South Asian countries. The central bank in Abu Dhabi was hosting us. It was just delightful to get to work with them as fellow professionals.

And then of course, even the students who go into the government and aren’t allowed to talk about what they’re doing, or I don’t know what they’re doing, they will sometimes send me photographs from the field related to something we were talking about in class. Maybe they are visiting a hawaladar somewhere in Somalia, but I don’t know. So there are lots of things that you can do with this collection of skills. And I hope you’ll join us.

Rebecca:

Thank you so much, Moyara. That was really a great presentation. We do have a couple of questions already coming in for you. So I’m actually wondering if B Carsman, then, if you’d like to read your question out loud; we can unmute you if that’s okay with you. All right.

B Carsman:

So my question is in what government institutions or agencies I would work on identifying and seizing assets from corrupt foreign governments, like the example that you mentioned kind of at the start of your list of different things that students get into?

Moyara Ruehsen:

Right, yeah. Okay. I would say there are two groups at the Justice Department that you would want to keep an eye out for. One is the Money Laundering Asset Forfeiture Division at the Department of Justice. And then the other is something called the Kleptocracy Initiative that’s part of the FBI. So I would target my inquiries into those two divisions, departments, whichever you wish to call them.

For international students at the World Bank, there is something called the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative. And then there are also a number of NGOs like Global Financial Integrity and Global Witness that do a lot of work on asset recovery and also exposing corruption.

Rebecca:

Awesome, thank you. And then Arianna, would you like to read your question out loud?

Arianna:

Sure. So my question was, how often do students end up working for a U.S. intelligence agency? You mentioned Interpol, but…

Moyara Ruehsen:

Right, yeah. We’ve had both American and international students work at Interpol. The U.S. students who end up working for U.S. intelligence agencies, most of the time, they’re not allowed to talk about their work. The ones who work at Defense Intelligence Agency have said, “Oh, you know, I’m working at the Defense Department,” and it’s pretty obvious they’re working at DIA. The ones who end up at CIA or NSA don’t talk about their work, and I would say that the folks in our career placement department would be more knowledgeable in terms of what proportion of students go in that direction. I’m guessing it’s considerable. However, I’m only seeing the students who choose to focus on financial crime, and of those students, I would say a quarter of them perhaps go and work for some kind of an intelligence agency. Maybe as many as half thought that that’s what they wanted to do when they started out, but they find that there are exciting private sector opportunities that use those same skill sets.

For example, you don’t just have to work at a bank, for instance, doing compliance. There are consulting firms that do financial crime-related consulting and compliance-related activities, but there are also investigation firms that do private intelligence for business. And I think they pay well. In fact, they even hire our students while they’re still students to do work part time for them.

Rebecca:

Awesome. Brent Summers, do you want to ask your question?

Brent Summers:

So I’m a future TLM, translation and localization management student. And I’m just curious if the financial crime specialization is available for all degrees at MIIS. I’m interested also in looking into the nonproliferation and terrorism studies degree. If I could do the double master’s, that’d be awesome, but I’m really interested in money laundering and a lot more like Latin American narco-terrorism studies. I’m just curious, without getting into the nonproliferation side, if I can still do this.

Moyara Ruehsen:

Sure, sure. Yeah. And that’s very much the case with the NPTS students, nonproliferation terrorism studies students. Very few of them are interested in both issues. Many of them are very much oriented towards the proliferation side and many very much oriented towards the terrorism side. And that’s fine, and you can go whichever direction you want.

But number one, the specialization is open to any degree student. The MBA program has its own corporate risk management and compliance track, and they of course can take and often do take many or most of the courses that are part of this specialization.

The difficulty with the dual degree is that it ends up being very tight in terms of your electives. And so if a person is going to do a dual degree, I would recommend that it be either nonproliferation terrorism studies as one of the degrees or the MBA in order to fit those financial crime courses into the tight schedule that you’ll have once you’re here.

Rebecca:

I’d love to know how you became interested in this field originally, and then how you built your career up over the past 20 years.

Moyara Ruehsen:

It was a very twisted, crooked path. I got a PhD from SAIS in D.C. and it’s a very, very interdisciplinary PhD. And then I got a postdoc at Berkeley to study illicit markets. And at that time, this was a long time ago, I’m dating myself here, but that was almost 25 years ago. I’m in my mid-50s now, and I was looking at everything. I was looking at sex trafficking, arms trafficking, narco-trafficking, money laundering, you name it. And I needed to focus on something because it was just too much. So it was the money-laundering piece of it that was most exciting to me.

I had also worked in the Middle East for many years, and when 911 happened, it was a natural fit to go into the direction of terrorism financing. Of course, my research interests are much broader than just terrorism financing, but I have my hands full with all the different directions that one can go in in the financial crime space.

How did I build up my career? I guess I started going to conferences. I started going to conferences and networking with other people in the field until they started inviting me to speak at those conferences. And I end up turning down consulting opportunities because I simply don’t have the time.

I love what I do. I love working with the grad students here at the Institute, and sometimes I learn as much from them as I think they do from me. They come with such exciting backgrounds and interesting world experiences. And that’s the best part of my job is meeting and working with them.

Rebecca:

Thank you so much, Moyara.

Moyara Ruehsen:

Thank you.

Rebecca:

We are at the end of our session, and I want to thank all of you who joined us today. If you’re interested in connecting directly with Professor Ruehsen, please make that request via My Community, our online network for admitted students. If you enjoyed this virtual experience, you might also want to consider attending one of our other upcoming in-person events, and you can learn about those at go.miis.edu/admitevents. Thanks again to Dr. Ruehsen, and I wish all of you a great day.

U.S.-China Trade War or Tech War?

Professor Wei Liang and Professor Robert Rogowsky, co-chairs of the MA in International Trade and Economic Diplomacy, discuss the ongoing US-China trade war. On the surface, this trade war has been driven by trade imbalance and job loss in the U.S. But it is a battle for tech dominance in disguise.

U.S.-China: Trade War or Tech War?

Language, Culture, and Education

Education and Action in a Time of Bigotry and Racism: What Am I Going To Do?

Professor and Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Pushpa Iyer, discusses how to combine activism with your education in the fight for racial equity and social justice.

Education and Action in a Time of Bigotry and Racism

Localization—Your Global Career at the Intersection of Language, Culture, Business, and Technology

Companies like Netflix are eager to hire people who can enable global communication and growth in new markets. Learn how you can develop your language, business, technical, and intercultural competence through our on-site and online programs to quickly advance your career in the fast-growing language services industry. Professor Max Troyer, chair of our Translation and Localization Management (TLM) programs, elaborates on this exciting industry.

Localization—Your Global Career at the Intersection of Language, Culture, Business, and Technology

Rebecca:

Hi, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us today. My name is Rebecca and I’ll be your host for this talk. Without further ado, I’d like to introduce our speaker, Max Troyer, who will be leading the discussion.

So Max, before heading the translation and localization program, he started off as a French translation student here at MIIS, then known as the Monterey Institute. By combining his passion for language with his background in computer science, he went on to work as a project manager and technical engineer before accepting a position here at the Institute in 2010. And he’s been working here ever since.

His courses have worked to develop the technical side of the TLM program in order to provide students with a foundation in many of the industry standard tools. Now, as the chair of the program, he’s been pivotal in defining the TLM degree’s offering to keep students up to date with the ever-evolving trends of the localization industry. So with that, Max, the floor is yours.

Max Troyer:

Well, thank you, Rebecca. And thanks for taking time out of your day to join me as we talk about what we’re doing in the Translation and Localization Management (TLM) program.

First of all, as Rebecca mentioned, I have a background in computer science and French translation. And back years ago, I had no idea that I could actually put my language and computer science skills to work. And that’s one of the best things I like about the Translation and Localization Management program is you can come into it with another skill or interest, like economics, computer science, business, even philosophy or media skills, photography, video production, whatever. All of this can be wrapped into the TLM program to get you into an awesome career afterward.

One of the things that’s really easy about translation and interpretation is that we pretty much know that translation is written and interpretation is oral. But when it comes to localization, it gets a little bit hard to define. One of the things that I say about localization is that it’s really all about creating connections around the world. You can say that about translators and interpreters as well, but localization students and graduates, they make the world a smaller place. They create bridges. So many analogies you could use about what our graduates do for the world. And it’s not always about helping companies sell their products in other markets. It’s also about making ideas go global.

So if we had to define localization, what I like to do is talk about when a company decides to go global in the very first place. So a company that sells widgets, they want to sell them in another country and the first thing they have to do is decide what country are we going to sell our widgets in. Maybe if we’re in North America, it makes sense to go to Canada or Mexico first. But once we’ve done that, or maybe we want to go to another country, how do we decide how to do that? And that takes an entire analysis of the global market to see where we can sell our widgets. And we’re still not quite in localization. That’s actually called globalization, the idea of going global.

But then we get into localization, which is the fact that if we have widgets, we want to sell them in another country, does the widget have an interface and use fonts that work in other languages? Does the widget display numbers that need to be reformatted for other countries? What about dates? Or do we even have the legal rights to sell a widget in another country? Is there something else that we have to do to the widget itself to change its color or change how it works? It takes people who can then modify the widget so that the end user can change the language and come up with a language which is a way that the device boots and says, “Please choose your language,” the first time you run it. And all of this takes a lot of skills wrapped around all of these processes, both technical and translation require a lot of very careful project managers.

And that’s one of my favorite things about the Translation and Localization Management program is how dirty our hands get. We really have to learn so many different skills, from modifying fonts so that they have accents to learning how to use Android Studio to design or localize Android applications. And the ecosystem that it takes of skills that we need is really huge. But if you’re a localizer, we get our hands dirty with so many different things that you can go into whatever you’re good at or whatever you really enjoy and if it turns out you’re not very good at subtitling, you don’t have the knack for taking subtitles and creating good high-quality compliant subtitles, it’s okay because maybe you’re going to really be good at using Xcode to internationalize and localize iOS applications.

We also need people that are going to check the quality of all this stuff that we’re doing, manage the projects, configure all the tools, train the translators to use the tools that we use to do all this process. We have really great career opportunities for our graduates. Between 90 and 100 percent of our graduates are generally getting jobs in the industry one year out. That just shows that when TLM students apply for the program, they typically go into the industry and stay in the industry for quite some time.

One of my favorite things to do is to meet up with alumni and find out… One of the most exciting developments in the Translation and Localization Management program is that we’re taking the program online. Starting this fall, our Advanced Entry Program will be offered online for those of you who live some place and have a full-time job, and you don’t want to quit your job or relocate to Monterey. You can now take our TLM program and Advanced Entry online, entirely online. It’s asynchronous so you can complete course work on your own time and you still get the same benefits of the TLM program, which is our alumni network. And you have the opportunity to come to Monterey.

Before I open it up to questions, one thing I wanted to address, the elephant in the room in many conversations about translation and localization, is the effect of machine translation and automation on our industry. In many ways I think that machine translation, for example, is helping translators do even better, higher quality work than they could do without machine translation. It’s like giving them a head start. And if you don’t think of it as giving them a head start, it’s a way for a translator to just do way more translation than they were able to do before. So from a machine translation point of view, I only see opportunity for translators and for improved quality.

Now, when it comes to automation, most of our graduates become project managers either on the vendor side of the industry, those selling translation and localization services, or they go to the buyer side of the industry, those purchasing translation and localization services. But we’re all seeing how automation can make our jobs easier.

And there’s two ways that automation can go that I’ve seen play out in the industry. It basically means that with automation, some of the most annoying parts of project management are eliminated, such as having to email files to people and take the file from the translator and email it to the editor. Now, with automation, when a translator is done they check the file or the project back into the system and it automatically goes out to the editor and goes through the rest of the workflow without any human intervention. The project manager has to intervene only when things go wrong. And so to me, that’s exciting.

That means that either there are basically two eventualities: that I will have more time to get to know my clients and get to know the content that my clients are sending me, or if you want to crank out the content that we’re doing, we can actually scale the amount of projects that we’re doing. So those are the two ways that it can go. There’s a balance between getting to know content and scaling up the content that’s being translated.

So I think that the localization industry is really an interesting place to be. Ten years ago, when I got into the industry, I would have said that it’s a niche and no one’s ever heard of it, but it seems like we’re on the map now. I don’t know that anyone off the street can define localization, but I think we’re starting to get to the point where many people and companies know what localization is.

If you look at Netflix, for example, all you have to say to someone who isn’t convinced that localization is important is where’s growth and subscribers coming from? It’s coming from the rest of the world, not from the U.S. We’ve pretty much reached saturation in Netflix subscribers here in the U.S. So going global is one of the ways that many companies are going to grow in the future. And it’s our graduate schools who are uniquely positioned to make this happen. So at this point, I would like to open the floor up to any questions you may have.

Rebecca:

All right. So thank you so much, Max. That was a lot of great information. Just to open up to some questions that we’ve been getting, I think the first question I’d like to ask is what do you—you’ve touched on this—but what do you like most about the industry or to put it another way, what is it that really excites you about the industry as it’s going forward?

Max Troyer:

Well, I like the challenges that we’re facing in the world. For example, as we’re all going online right now, in general, at companies and organizations around the world, how can technology make that better? For example, we’re using software right now called Zoom and if Zoom were available only in English and, at this point in time, were only available in English, Zoom would have a really hard time rolling out across the world and allowing other classrooms and other organizations to use it.

But Zoom has already been translated and localized into many languages and so all the user has to do is start up Zoom and if their computer is in a different language or their iOS or Android device is in a different language, it will display the Zoom interface in their language. I think that’s just the most exciting thing.

Actually, I once heard that if localization is done right, you won’t even know that we’ve done anything. It will just work. It’ll be in your language. How it happened? Who cares? It just works. But I always tell people, “If you want to learn something, the traditional web technologies, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are things that will benefit you in life.” You will be taking website localization so those skills will help.

But I think HTML, for example, is used in so many classes and it’s just a language that we all need to speak. So maybe HTML, if you want to work on something now. But otherwise, Python is a language that we use in our program and it is used by localization engineers, primarily. Language skills too, work on your communication skills. The soft skills, I think, are very important as well. If you applied and were admitted, eventually you’ll come across a document called Ten Ways to Prepare for TLM and in that I recommend that people read the Dale Carnegie book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, which was published in 1940, but it’s still relevant today.

Rebecca:

Yeah, no, that resource is very helpful. I can speak from experience. Another question that we’re getting a lot of is, can you talk specifically about the classes that you’re teaching? You’ve mentioned a few of them in name. Can you talk about what their focus is?

Max Troyer:

Yeah. I’ll just talk about my courses. I teach our technology courses. So Multilingual Desktop Publishing is basically localizing content that doesn’t move, things that are printed or things that are mostly static, so InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator.

I have an Audio Visual Localization course in which we localize things that move, so After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, dubbing, subtitling, those kinds of things.

Then I also have a class called Website Localization and we primarily cover those web technologies. We spend some time on WordPress and what is called proxy localization. It’s basically localizing a website without actually having to do anything technical to the website or very minimal intervention.

And I also teach one of our practicum courses in which we operate, Globe Multilingual Services, a student-driven translation agency within the Middlebury Institute. That’s an agency that translates and localizes content for deserving nonprofits.

Rebecca:

We have another question in here that’s asking about the management side of the TLM degree and that’s something that, like you’ve been talking about, the program is going through a shift in how we used to split up the major.

Max Troyer:

I’m so glad you asked because the management function… Well, first of all, all TLM students get a core of management. There’s the project management component of that. And then also the business skills, so financial concepts, marketing concepts, some of this is built into the core.

But then in addition to that, we’re going to likely have something that will be called the Program Management Concentration and this will really amp up the skills needed on the business side of things, managing a product for a buyer. You will be in charge of an entire program and how that is localized. That requires leadership skills, evangelization skills, business skills, being able to negotiate with VPs on why you should go into this country or do more in that country. We have not gotten rid of the management. It’s been merged in with the core and then brought back with the Program Management Concentration.

Rebecca:

Another great question that you’ve touched on a little bit, but what is the career path for a lot of our graduates going out of the program into the industry?

Max Troyer:

The traditional story arc of a graduate is that you graduate, you become a junior project manager at a language services provider. You become a regular project manager. Then you become a senior project manager. And then you basically, you’re working on projects for clients, for buyers. You pick your favorite buyer and you cozy up to them and say, “Wouldn’t it be good if I just worked for you?” And you go work for your favorite client and you work for the people who buy the translation localization.

So you switch over to the client side and then you move up in the company and you eventually get to the VP level and you’re in charge of the worldwide operations for that company and then become the CEO. And it’s basically your company at that point.

So that’s the traditional story arc. But we have people who have corporate experience from before and they go straight to the buyer side of the industry. The buyer side is perceived as the place to be. But personally, I think that it’s more exciting on the language services provider side because you get to be surrounded by people who talk your talk and know your pain points.

Rebecca:

Another question: so some people in the chat are here with some industry experience and knowledge. Some are not and would like to have a little more of a baseline of where they should start. So can you talk about not just the classes that you teach, you’ve talked about that a little bit, but what specific tools would be learned as part of the TLM program?

Max Troyer:

The specific tools or skills? Sorry, I misunderstood.

Rebecca:

Tools.

Max Troyer:

The tools, oh dear! Well, it runs the gamut from computer-assisted translation tools like Memsource, memoQ, Trados Studio, translation management systems like memoQ Server, Worldserver, XTRF. Then we move into the tools that are used to create like Creative Software, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Audition for multitrack audio.

Then we get into programming tools like Xcode for iOS, Android Studio for Android. We do a lot of stuff in our Website Localization class and a free tool from Microsoft called Visual Studio Code. And we learn programming languages.

It’s really crazy because to localize a lot of software, you don’t actually have to learn the programming language in great depth. So you can get through the TLM program and learn a minimum amount of Python, JavaScript, PHP, Java, Objective-C 2.0, Unity Scripts.

What am I missing from my Software and Games Localization? Did I mention Software and Games Localization when I talked about my classes? I did not. I also teach a class called Software and Games Localization in which we localize and internationalize software applications.

So yeah, it’s a gamut. It’s tons of tools. So many tools you will get them confused. No, I don’t think you’ll get confused, but you’ll learn many, many tools. It’s a good hands-on program.

Rebecca:

I can speak from experience that it’s a lot of tools, but it’s really getting you a nice baseline foundation in all of them.

Max Troyer:

Yeah, you get your hands dirty, as I mentioned during my formal presentation. TLM students get their hands really dirty. And that’s a really good thing when you’re managing these types of projects, having to know a little bit about everything.

Rebecca:

Yes, absolutely. Let’s see, most of these questions, it’s looking like we’ve got a lot of the major questions handled. Let me see if any… Here’s [crosstalk 00:00:17:47]…

Max Troyer:

You don’t need to be PMP. I wouldn’t recommend getting a PMP certification. PMP covers a lot of stuff that’s out of scope for localization project management, which is very specific. So PMP can look good on your résumé and maybe someone would favor if you had two candidates, one with PMP and one without? I don’t know.

Rebecca:

If I can just throw one last question in here. Can you talk a little bit about some of the network opportunities that the TLM degree provides and some ways that students have used the program to build their own careers, such as conferences and such?

Max Troyer:

Yeah, well, so there are quite a few opportunities to interact with alumni. For example, every month, many of our students go up to the Bay Area to this event called IMUG. It’s the International Multilingual Users Group. It takes place at a company every month with a different topic. Usually there are 30 or 40 TLM students, maybe even more, and then hundreds of people from the industry, many of which are alumni. Every time I go to, when I want to shout, “Raise your hand if you’re a TLM or a MIIS graduate!” I know half the room would be graduates. So that’s one of the best.

Then if you go to any of the localization conferences, like LocWorld or TAUS or many, well, there aren’t that many industry conferences. But if you go to one of these industry conferences, you will run into graduates. Many of our students do attend these conferences.

And finally, we have a career fair every—well, I think it’s every February. It’s definitely every spring and many graduates come back representing the companies that they now work for. So there are a lot of opportunities to interact with the alumni network.

Rebecca:

Yeah. Well, thank you so much, Max. Those were some really great answers and we got some really fantastic questions. We’ve mentioned this in the chat, but if you do have any more questions and we didn’t get to something that you asked, please feel free to email us at info@miis.edu.

You Love Languages. So, Now What? Turning Advanced Language Skills into a Fulfilling Career

Multilingual communication is more important than ever before, and speaking multiple languages can give you a leg up on the competition. But good information on how to turn your love of languages into a fulfilling career can be hard to come by. Join Professor Barry Slaughter Olsen for an insider’s view of the language professions and how to figure out if being a language pro is for you.

You Love Languages. So, Now What? Turning Advanced Language Skills into a Fulfilling Career

Devin Lueddeke:

Hello and welcome to our webinar, You Love Languages. So Now What?—Turning advanced language skills into a fulfilling career. My name is Devin Lueddeke, and I will be your host. Thank you for joining us live today; we’re glad to have you. I’d also like to thank those of you who are watching the recording of this webinar later on. Before we get started, I’d like to go over a couple of quick notes regarding technical setup. Please keep your mic muted while the presentation is underway to avoid any background noise. You should also see a chat box and a Q&A box at the bottom of your screen. Please use the Q&A box to ask any questions, and we will do our best to answer them at the end of the presentation.

Without further ado, I’d like to introduce our speaker, Professor Barry Olsen. Professor Olsen is a veteran conference interpreter and technophile with over 25 years of experience in interpreting, training interpreters, and organizing language services. He’s an associate professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, the founder and copresident of InterpretAmerica, and general manager of Multilingual Operations at ZipDX. He is also a member of the International Association of Conference Interpreters. Barry has been interviewed numerous times by national news media, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and PBS about interpreting and translation. Professor Olsen, the room is yours.

Barry Olsen:

Thank you, Devin. And hello everyone. Thank you for joining us today. I am very grateful for the opportunity to share just some of my own experiences with you today, about how I was able to get into the language professions, and provide you with some information that will help you make good decisions, as you are trying to determine what you would like to do with your career. So I’m going to get my slide presentation started here and we’ll go ahead and begin. So first of all, let me just explain to you what it is I’d like to share with you today. You’re giving me 30 minutes of your time. So let me tell you what I want to offer you today. By the end of this webinar, you’re going to know three things: first, how to avoid one big mistake that I made when I was choosing my career path; two, how artificial intelligence is influencing the language professions.

And I feel like I need to dedicate some time to AI just because of all of the hype that is out there. And if we were to believe what is said in the general media about AI, we would think that, well, the professions of translator and interpreter have no reason to exist anymore. And I’m going to show you that that is not the case and will not be the case the coming years. And then finally, I want to show you some of the new career paths that there are for language professionals. We traditionally think in terms of the dichotomy of translation being written, interpreting being spoken, and that’s it. But in reality, the job descriptions for people working in language are exploding and multiplying with the introduction of technology and with the huge demand for language services in the private sector.

So those are the three areas that we’re going to focus on in the next 20 minutes. We’ll have 10 minutes for questions and please do write your questions. Now, send those in via the Q&A tab so that we can answer as many as we possibly can. So before I tell you about my big mistake that I made over 27, 28 years ago, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions. Devin, would you go ahead and fire up the poll and have the first question. Okay, so what I’d like to know are the languages that you speak. I’ve included the languages that we work with at the Middlebury Institute in translation, interpreting, and localization, and I know that there will probably be other languages as well. So we’ll just take a look at this and see how it all shakes out. Give you a chance to answer those questions.

We’ve got a number of people that are still answering. Once I see the percentages settle, then I’ll ask Devin to end the poll and then share the results with you. Hold on for just another minute or few seconds actually. And I think we’re just about there. We’ve got a good response rate, Devin, of 100 and I’ve got a few more coming in of about 108 of 120 that we have. So let’s go ahead and close that poll and you can show folks and see that actually Chinese and Spanish have come in neck and neck at 37 percent with 40 of the attendees speaking those languages.

We’ve got French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian as well, and others coming in at 26 percent. So of course there are, of course, a lot of languages out there. Thank you for that. That’s really helpful for me to know who I have on the webinar here today. So next, why don’t we go to the next question, Devin, if you would, and this is one to test your knowledge; go ahead and read through those three combinations of languages and decide which one is the correct one for you in official languages.

Give you a chance to answer those questions, that question, and we’ll see how things shake out as you’re trying to figure this out. If you’re unsure, don’t worry about it. Go ahead and take that guess because we don’t think about this. And this will actually have a little bit to do with my big mistake. Give people a little bit more time. We’ll get, okay, we’ve got over 100 percent, few more people are trying to decide—if we had the Jeopardy! music, it would be great, but we don’t, and I’m not going to sing it for you. That’s good. Let’s go ahead and end the poll. And I am very happy to say you can share those results, that the correct answer is the one that 56 percent shows, which is English, Spanish, Arabic, French, Russian, and Chinese. We did have a few people that thought that perhaps German was one of the languages and a few that thought Portuguese was one of the official languages, but that is not the case.

And so with that, you’ve learned something new today. It’s good to know what those official languages are, English, Spanish, Arabic, French, Russian, and Chinese because that can be helpful. Because believe it or not, we have many people apply to the Middlebury Institute with languages other than those five that are, those six, excuse me, that want to be UN interpreters and translators, but they speak German or Portuguese or some other language that isn’t an official UN language. And they actually make it to the master’s program thinking that they can go to the UN. So I will go ahead and wrap up. You can close the polling results there, Devin.

And I’m going to tell you about my big mistake. So back when I was about 22 years old, 22, 23, I knew I loved languages and I knew that whatever I was going to do, I wanted language, especially being able to use my world language, knowledge Spanish in particular, then a little bit of Portuguese. I wanted to use those languages on a daily basis because it’s what made me tick, it’s what made me happy, I loved it, I was curious. And so I went into humanities and I studied Spanish. And I remember on one occasion in my undergrad, I went into the dean’s office where they had some information—mind you, this was pre-Internet days, this was the early ’90s.

I did have an email address, but no one to write to. And technology was still just beginning to go down the road that leads us to where we are today. And so there wasn’t a lot of information out there and my professors taught literature, they taught linguistics. And so, as I would talk about how to use my languages in a profession, they would say, well, you can teach literature or you can teach language and I didn’t want to do those things.

And so I wasn’t satisfied. So I looked and looked, and I remember I found a list of jobs that require foreign language experience. And at the top of that list was United Nations interpreter. And I thought, that’s the one I want. And they listed them by level of difficulty. And that was at the top. And I said, I was always up for a challenge and that was gonna be my job. And so I did a little more research and I did find out that the official languages of the United Nations were English, Spanish, Arabic, French, Russian, and Chinese. And I decided I was going to study Russian and I knew I needed to have three of those languages to be able to work for the UN. And so I started studying Russian. I moved to Russia twice to get my language up to snuff before going into the master’s program.

Later on, towards the end of my undergraduate, I learned that the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey was available, back then the Monterey Institute. And I applied because that’s where I was going to go. And they had the languages that I needed and I was accepted, went through the program. And when I finally met someone who worked at the United Nations that was there to recruit, that was there for my professional exams, they congratulated me on successfully completing my exams. And I said, “I’m really interested in working for the UN.” And then they asked me, “Do you have French?” I said, “No, but I’ve got English, Spanish and Russian.” They said, “Well, we in the English booth hire people that have English, French, and then either Spanish or Russian, or if you have both, that’s great. But without the French, we really don’t staff the booths.”

It was a letdown, I’ve got to admit, and I had to shift, and I decided to go to Washington, D.C., and I tested with the U.S. State Department and began working with the federal agencies there and also with international organizations in Washington, D.C. But had I known back then, what I just shared with you, I may have made different decisions. And I share this with you just because it’s so important for you, as you’re trying to figure out where you want your career path to go, to get good information. And that’s what I’d like to offer up to you today as we move forward. So that was my big mistake. And now you can make sure that you avoid it as well. Let’s go to our third question, Devin, if you’d fire up the poll as I move on to artificial intelligence.

So there’s the poll. This one you’ll have to read through these answers and think. I think artificial intelligence will—just read through those and answer what you think. Now of course, I’m being a little humorous with some of the answers here. I do, I love it. Some that are answering here and thinking about what may happen with artificial intelligence and we’ll let people go ahead and answer these things, and then we’ll go ahead and publish those poll results. Let it get to where we have a percentage of voted to around 90 percent. We’ll wait for just a couple of minutes here, we’re close.

That’s probably good Devin. You can close the poll and share the results with everybody. And again, you guys are savvy folks. I can tell because the vast majority, 85 percent, say that artificial intelligence is changing the way linguists work and expanding the kind of work they do. That is exactly right. We’ll talk about that briefly in just a minute. I do see a few people thought that with this it’s the beginning of Skynet and that whistle will lead to the rise of robot overlords. I hope that’s not the case. A few did think that translators and interpreters will be replaced in the next five years. If that’s the case you may want to rethink what kind of a master’s degree you’re going to go after if you really believe that. But I do not see that happening in my lifetime based on what I have seen with the technology as well.

But thanks for answering that poll. Let’s talk about artificial intelligence for just a moment here. One thing that is in denial, undeniable, I should say, is that technology is permeating every aspect of the language professions. The language professions are not immune. This is happening to all kinds of work. And the days of translators working with books, of course, are over. We know that translation has been using machine translation, translation memory, other types of computer-assisted translation tools for many years; interpreting is not as far along with technology as translation is, but rest assured that if you are looking for a career in the language services, you need to embrace technology because otherwise you won’t be able to work. It’s just that simple. Doesn’t matter if it’s translation, interpreting, or localization. This is the reason that we launched the localization management degree and why we’ve continued to refine and improve and expand this degree over the years.

We’ve had the degree for well over a decade, and it is one of the most cutting edge and the broadest that you will find, I think anywhere in the world, frankly. And in translation and interpreting, we are also including that technology. Now there’s some interesting things to note, many, and you may be saying yes, but machine translation is being used and I’ve seen all of these different articles in the news about how speech-to-speech translation is now a thing, and it is a thing. But these technologies—let’s start with Google Translate just as an example—more than 100 billion words go through Google Translate on a daily basis. It’s a huge amount. I think that’s an equivalent of, if we were to take a Bible, it’s the equivalent of something like 163,000 Bibles translated every day, which is a huge amount.

However, that work that is being translated by Google Translate is not translation that would have ever been done by a professional translator, with maybe a few rare exceptions. So what this has done is, it has expanded access to translation and to language services through automation, but it’s covering things that had never really been covered in the past by professional translators and interpreters. We’re seeing something actually quite similar with speech-to-speech translation. So when you see these technologies, one, get to know them, see how they work, try them out, and you will find out very quickly that they are not going to be replacing the kind of work that human translators do. In fact, I’d like to share a couple of quotes with you. One, this first one is by Arle Lommel. Arle currently works for CSA research, which is an independent research shop based out of Boston, Massachusetts, that focuses on the language services industry.

I encourage you to go to their website and read what they have available for free. It will help educate you about the language services industry. And Arle said this: “Machine translation will displace only those humans who translate like machines.” I agree with that completely. Similarly with interpreters, this is a quote that many of you, if you’re already working in this space, have probably seen many, many times: “Interpreters will not be replaced by technology. They will be replaced by interpreters who use technology.” And we are seeing that in particular with remote interpreting, which is growing, not by leaps and bounds, but is becoming a growing segment of the interpreting space. We are also seeing speech-to-speech translation now being used for conversations. And in some cases, even for conferences; however, it is very much in its infancy and it is limited in what it’s actually capable of doing.

And it is not replacing interpreters, it’s augmenting more than anything else. And so keep that in mind when you’re dealing with AIAI is a tool. It is not something that is set to reach human parody. In fact, when Microsoft announced that it reached human parody with speech-to-speech translation a year-and-a-half ago, they quickly had to recast the way that they put that because of the blow back that they received, not only from the professional linguists community, but also from those within technology, because it really was not an accurate depiction of what they had done. So moving on now, let’s get into the new language professions ecosystem. AI and technology have affected much of this, and they are creating new jobs for people who want to work as language specialists. And we’ll take a little bit of a closer look at this ecosystem for language professions shortly, but I want to share one other slide with you here.

This is from another independent research shop called Nimdzi based out of Seattle, Washington. Nimdzi is also focusing on the language services industry. And this is a graph that puts our, or an info, what do they call them? Linking of the infographs or the info, heavens I can’t think of the name right off the top of my head, but anyway, it is a graphic that will show you the different verticals within the language services segment. And you can see who some of the leaders are. What I would point out to you is that the traditional place where we have usually thought about language services, which is translation and interpreting at the United Nations, international organizations, foreign ministries, the State Department here in the United States—it makes up less than one fifth of the total market, where people are working, where translators and interpreters and localizers, and the localization managers and engineers are working.

You can see that the private sector in the last 20 years has truly exploded as we have seen globalization take hold and the use of the Internet, gaming, marketing, media localization, subtitling, all of these areas. And so when you’re thinking of the language professions, do not think just about the United Nations and intergovernmental relations, that segment is there. It will always be there. And in fact, one of the things that you should keep in mind, if you’re thinking, are translators and interpreters going to be around, they are, but they’re going to have to get even better because they’re going to be doing the work. We are doing the work that is high stakes and creative, those high stakes meetings, whether it’s an encounter in a hospital, the courts between diplomats, between presidents, those are high stakes and they do not want to leave it up to a cell phone to try and help them communicate. And so these are where the premium services are going to be for humans. And there is an ample opportunity for you also to work hand-in-hand with technology in many of these different verticals.

So looking at this ecosystem for language professionals, as you can see, there are all sorts of, these are all job titles that have been occupied by people who have studied translation and interpreting, okay? And so these are just some of them, and I’m going to switch over now quickly to a website here. And since we had so many people who do speak Spanish on this webinar, I want to encourage you to go to a podcast called En Pantuflas and at the episode—I think the penultimate episode, 97—one of my former students who is now working at the United States State Department and has worked in a number of other areas as an interpreter and translator, [foreign language 00:20:58]. You can go ahead and listen to this wonderful podcast where she talks about her career, why she decided to go back to school and how, where she is now and why continuing education played such an important role. So check that out. I think it’s been dropped into the chat stream so that you can copy that link.

But let’s look at this ecosystem here as we wrap up. A colleague of mine, Winnie Hey, maybe some of you have been on her webinars, has put together a website, which is also going to be made available to you through the chat—thanks for that, Devin—where she’s begun to list the job titles for people who work in translation and interpreting, and she’s down to a total of 53, and she’s constantly adding to this list. But what I want to point out to you is that your career is not just one job. Far too often, we continue to think that, but if I give my career as an example, when I graduated from the Middlebury Institute, I wanted to be an interpreter. I wanted to work in diplomacy and I wanted to be a conference interpreter.

So I moved to D.C., spent the first decade of my career interpreting as much as I possibly could. I loved it. I was traveling. I was with interesting people. I was in interesting meetings and I loved it, but after 10 years I wanted to shift gears. And so I decided to go back and teach, which has also been one of my loves. I come from a long line of teachers in my family. And so I’ve been doing that now for the last decade, but also I’ve adjusted. I sit on a couple of advisory boards for language technology companies. I also provide consulting services to people who are looking into getting into the language services space from a technology angle. That’s where my focus has been while I still continue to interpret and teach. And so that’s been my career path.

So although you may want to translate for a long time, there may come a time when you want to shift and do something else—just to take as an example here, if we look at the director of localization in each one of these job descriptions, you’ll be able to see what the description is, what the skills requirements are. And then Winnie’s provided a link to a number of people who are working in these job positions. Teresa Marshall is someone who was at the Institute when I was many years ago. She is now the vice president of Globalization and Localization Salesforce. And so, as you think about what you would like to do, I encourage you to go through this list and look at how these people, where they’re working, what they’re doing. And it will give you an idea of where you should place your emphasis and the kinds of opportunities that can come to you if you get the appropriate training and education.

So our time is quickly drawing to a close, and there are so many other things that I could share with you. I went through a list of just some of my friends and recent graduates and where some of them are working. And they’re working at places like the World Bank, working for the United States Census Bureau, working for companies. I mean, I think, in fact, I think she’s actually even on here if we look at business development manager. One of my recent grads, Gabriela Seabeck, is interpreting, but she’s also working in business development. And this is kind of an interesting thing to think about because traditionally language services, since they were in the public sector, you know, decades ago, it was more about procurement. It was more about these job positions and titles. And as the private sector has needed more and more language services, what has happened is that now we are seeing Salesforce is going out and selling translation and selling interpretation in order to show the value added in the private sector.

And so the private sector has grown very rapidly and it is a significant part of the ecosystem, whereas 30 years ago, that wasn’t as much the case, okay? So don’t just think public sector, also think private sector as you’re looking at these different jobs. So as I wrap up, I want to share a quick quote from Robert Frost. And that is, and I know you’ve probably all heard of this, and this is such an appropriate thing to mention because Robert Frost wrote most of his poetry in Middlebury, in Vermont, and I’ve actually had the opportunity to walk through the woods where he lived and everything. It’s quite interesting. But I think that this quote has much to do with how most linguists, most translators, interpreters, localizers get into what we do because it is the road less traveled.

And we do it because we have a passion for it, we love it. And we find a way to have the career that we want rather than letting ourselves be put into a mold. So I just would end with this: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Definitely been the case for me, and as you are continuing to do your research to decide on what your career path is going to be, I wish you the very best of luck. And if it leads you to the Middlebury Institute, I look forward to seeing you on campus. So with that, I will go ahead and open it up for questions at this time. And Devin, I’ll turn it back over to you.

Devin Lueddeke:

Alright, Barry, thank you so much. Great presentation. And we do have a number of questions. We have some colleagues that have been trying to answer a few of those questions via chat. But I’ll bring some of them to the forefront because I think they’re good. So the first question that came through is one that is from someone who’s very passionate about languages and would love to be the best provider that they can be for their family. What are some of the most lucrative career paths that they can take in this industry?

Barry Olsen:

That’s an awesome question and one that I think, frankly, is really important, and it’s one that was very important to me as well because I’m the main provider for my family. So what I would say in terms of stability and positions, most of those are going to be found in the localization area at this time. There are a lot of opportunities in localization for that because they’re looking for people to join teams, to be part of a company. And so we have so many graduates that end up with a lot of their companies in Silicon Valley. However, I will say that conference interpreting, if you have the right language combination and you’re willing to relocate to the places where the work is, can also be very lucrative. I would say both of those areas, you can make six figures.

For conference interpreting, it takes time to build up, to have the clientele to be able to do that, but it is very feasible and something that many colleagues are doing. And so it is in those areas, if you’re looking to be a freelance translator, getting started those first couple of years can be a challenge, same thing with interpreting, but getting past that and getting your clientele established, provides you with a good income. And one of the other things that it does is it provides you with a very flexible schedule, which is one of the things that I’ve become quite accustomed to, and that I enjoy immensely.

Devin Lueddeke:

Great. And Barry, there’s been a couple of questions asking for a little bit more clarification about localization and localization as it compares to interpretation or translation. Could you just define localization a little bit?

Barry Olsen:

Yes, so localization—what I like to do is say translation is written, interpreting is spoken, localization is language knowledge plus technology, translation plus technology. But it’s so much more than that because if you think about what needs to be localized, we’re talking about any kind of media. In translation, we tend to think, oh, we’re talking about the written word, then it’s a book, or it’s a document and that really is not that much the case anymore. Obviously there are books that are still translated, but most media is electronic in nature and it can be mixed media, it may be printed, it may be spoken. There may be some titles involved, there may be adaptation of a script. You have people that are working in video game localization on a regular basis that are dealing with scripts, that may be doing voiceover. And they have to deal with all of the issues of the software localization as well, for say, medical devices and for websites.

And so for localization, it’s really pretty technology heavy. Translators and interpreters, although they have to know a lot about the technologies that are needed to deliver their services, the localizers are really diving into, for example, the code that is needed for a website and making sure that the code is going to be adaptable as well as we’re starting to see with algorithms, even where algorithms are being employed. Sometimes an algorithm, the way it’s written, isn’t appropriate for use with certain languages. And so they have to rework algorithms. And so if you have an interest in math as well, and you’ve got that background, you can combine that also with language in localization. Hopefully that gives you a little bit of a better idea.

Devin Lueddeke:

That’s great. And related to localization, maybe language and seed jobs in general, are there particular cities? There’s a comment that the West Coast seems to contain most of the localization jobs. Are they going to emerge elsewhere as well? Or what do you see about geographical trends?

Barry Olsen:

Yes, not only are they going to emerge but they already exist. So, for example, within the United States, you’re going to see localization work, obviously in Silicon Valley, San Jose, which is the Mecca, but also you have Austin, Texas. You have the Wasatch Front in Utah, Salt Lake and all along there, you have a lot of the companies that were established in San Jose that have actually moved a lot of their operations to the Wasatch Front because of the knowledge expertise, the language expertise, and the technology expertise that they have there.

You’ll also find a hub for localization in Ireland of all places, particularly in Dublin, is another city where you would look. You’ll also see jobs in Germany; Amsterdam is becoming more and more of a place where you’re going to see these kinds of jobs with companies settling there and needing localization services for their operations in the EMEA area, or Europe in the Middle East and Africa. Obviously there’s a lot of work in China as well. And I’m not as familiar with Asia to be able to say what cities exactly, but those are some of the areas and, yes, it’s going to continue to expand. And I would also say that there are people who have successful localization careers that are living, they’re working remotely most of the time.

Devin Lueddeke:

Excellent, thank you. Hopefully you have time for a few more. I’d like to thank the audience for so many questions. We’ve got some that I’m just, I’m sure we won’t get to, but we’ll let you email us later on, but we do have a couple questions about certifications. One question is what is the best way to certify language skills for less popular languages? And then if you can add on any recommendations regarding certification one is to avoid or to focus on.

Barry Olsen:

Rather than saying less popular languages, I would probably just say languages that don’t have as many speakers because you know, all languages are popular for the people that speak them, first off. But one thing for sure is that there are all sorts of different names that get used. They talk about languages of lesser diffusion. There are different acronyms that come and go, but the challenge remains, right? How are you going to certify someone’s competency in a language and then their competency to translate or interpret that language when the demand for the language can be sporadic—it’s really needed when it’s needed, but when it’s not needed, well, you know, these speakers and translators, interpreters, may have to do other things. One of the best ways is to check, to see if the government of a country where that language is spoken has some kind of test that will validate the language. Competency of someone who says they speak it and write in that language, that can be one of the good ways to go about it.

In terms of translation or interpretation skills, you’ll find that the American Translators Association does have a pretty good list of languages that they do certify, but there are those languages that are not spoken as much, but they tend to be spoken in refugee communities. And it’s hard to get a certification for those. You could also look at the certification tests that are available at the state level in the United States for the courts. And you can look at the consortium and see what languages that they actually offer. California—I probably may be off base here—but I believe California offers the most languages that can be certified. And you also have the medical certifications that exist. There are two tests and they have different languages available, but they are limited.

There are some certifications for interpreting knowledge and ability that don’t focus on the specific language combination that can help to legitimize someone who speaks a language and has gotten training to be able to interpret it. And the other possibility that exists, but it tends to be quite cumbersome, I’m the first to recognize this, is one of peer sponsorship. And that is what the International Association of Conference Interpreters uses for conference interpreters. You have to get people to vouch for your ability that have, they have the same language combination as you, and there is a possibility for requesting a waiver if there are no people with your language combination in your region or in the association to be able to introduce that language. But as I said, it can be quite cumbersome and it is not perfect, but it is an avenue to be able to get that certification.

Devin Lueddeke:

Excellent. Here’s a question, part of translating and interpreting is having a wide vocabulary and specific language. How do you stay on top of staying up to date with pertinent information in different languages?

Barry Olsen:

Read, read, read, read, read, and read some more as well as listen. You now have so many things available because of the Internet. When I started as a student at the Middlebury Institute, back in the mid-’90s, mid to late ’90s, the Internet was just new. We didn’t have video, we didn’t have audio available. Just being able to see the headlines, the day they were published online from say Spain or from Moscow was unheard of. And it was amazing. So we were now able to read things that were up to date, but being able to do that is the key way that you’re going to be able to maintain your knowledge about what’s going on. And if you don’t, your knowledge will ossify without a doubt.

I mean, trade is one example where years ago we were always talking about NAFTA and now there is a successor agreement to NAFTA. And you have to be up on the acronyms. You have to know all of those things so that you can be in the know because you are expected to know those things when you go into meetings. So make use of the media that is available. I mean, I’m able to watch the news, from Mexico and from Russia on a daily basis from my computer today, 30 minutes a day. If you can carve that out, even if it’s 15, will make a difference.

Devin Lueddeke:

Excellent, thank you. And there’s been another pattern emerging, a few questions about it looks like some folks are, even in the stage where they’re deciding which languages to add to their repertoire. Are there particular languages that you see more job opportunities?

Barry Olsen:

Yes, yes, yes, and yes. That is an excellent, excellent question. And then it gets to my own experience back when I was in my undergrad and I was choosing, right? I think the first thing to note is when you’re early enough in your undergrad, let’s say you’re a sophomore, you’ve got that time to choose a language and really focus on it. If you already have, let’s say a strong knowledge of French, right, and you’re fluent in French. You’ve had time to live abroad, you did some high school stuff, and you think, I need to add another language. Well, in all reality, if you’re looking to be a conference interpreter, I would say your best bet is to add Spanish because that’s a workhorse combination where there is a fair amount of work, right? There’s a lot of work to do that.

Russian could be a possibility as well, as you’ve learned, right? What normally happens is you have the UN languages and I would say in the United States and in the Western hemisphere, you could also add Portuguese to the list because Portuguese is very much in demand. Particularly if you’re interested in working with companies from Latin America, being able to say I have Spanish and Portuguese and English, it’s like, okay, we’ve got everything covered. And if you can say, I’ve got French as well. So if anything comes up from Haiti or from Quebec, then that’s also helpful. So that is like a workhorse combination, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese.

However, if you’re looking at relocating and being in a European Union, then the workhorse language is there. Even with Brexit, English continues to be a workhorse language. English, French, German, are really the big ones. And then it’s usually Spanish, Portuguese, Italian. And then you have the Eastern European languages and Russian becomes more of an interest because of the proximity and the interaction with Russia. So those tend to be the stronger languages. For Asia, it is Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, to a certain extent Indonesian, but really it’s Korean, Japanese, and Chinese that are the workhorses of Asia.

Devin Lueddeke:

Great.

Barry Olsen:

Let me quickly say something about Arabic as well.

Devin Lueddeke:

Sure.

Barry Olsen:

And this is an important thing for you guys to know, at the United Nations, the French, English, Spanish and Russian booths are what are known as pure booths. I don’t know that pure is the best word, but there you need to be one directional. They work from many languages into that one language; the Chinese and the Arabic booths are bilingual, they’re bi-directional. And normally the Arabic booth is expected to work in English, from Arabic, and then back from Arabic or from English into Arabic, and then Arabic and it’s, you get the idea, same thing with Chinese. And so there are, depending on the language combination, there can be different expectations.

Devin Lueddeke:

Excellent. Thanks for that. Um, so the other question that has come up, and this might be the last one that we have time for, but how does one go about developing a specialty when you spend your time focusing on language skills? So for science, politics, healthcare, et cetera.

Barry Olsen:

That’s another excellent question. I was one of those people that was devoured by the humanities monster. I loved my classes. I learned a lot, I got very good at the languages, but it does, unfortunately, within the humanities, they don’t really focus on the kind of terminology and vocabulary and subject matter expertise that you’re going to use as a professional linguist—a lot about medieval literature and things like that that you have to study. And that gets me to a whole other issue that I have with the humanities programs in general—they’re important, those things matter, but I do think that there needs to be a practical component in language learning. That’s my personal opinion, how you go about getting that expertise. A lot of linguists just fall into it; since I knew that I wanted to focus on diplomacy and politics, I started caring about current events, a great deal, macroeconomics. I actually took a macroeconomics class to make sure that I understood it.

I spent time living in Latin America and taking courses specifically about statistics, macroeconomics, because I wanted to have that knowledge as well, as well as politics and history. So that’s how I did it. But there are different pathways to this. So let’s say for example, you are a student that is already bilingual and very much so, and well-educated in your two languages. You may get an undergraduate degree in engineering and then decide, I want to be a translator so I’m going to get trained as a translator at the MA level, and then I’m going to work and I’m going to focus on a specific area of engineering. What I would just say is there are actually many pathways to becoming a specialist, and it really depends on an individual’s own personality and their own history as to how to go about doing it.

Devin Lueddeke:

And Barry, so last question, any last words of advice for someone who might be considering attending one of the degree programs at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies?

Barry Olsen:

Yes. So depending on where you are in your preparation, one of the areas where we see the greatest lack is time in-country, living and working in the language that you have acquired. We set a minimum of six months, right, where you’re really, really focused. If you were still an undergrad and you’ve got a few years to go, find a way for you to spend a junior year or a semester abroad where you are doing nothing but living and working in that language. Don’t go and hang out with all the experts at the Irish pub and speak English all the time. You need to get in there. You need to use the language every day, read, interact, learn, see what it’s like to pay an electric bill in the country.

I mean, those are the kinds of things that are going to help fill in the cultural knowledge that we often see, that is a little bit like Swiss cheese when students arrive, you know they’re fluent, they can express what they want to say, but they don’t know a lot about the culture. And that really comes from living in-country. And so if you can take that time to live in-country before you begin the program, it will just help you immensely. So six months is the minimum, but a year would be a heck of a lot better.

Devin Lueddeke:

All right. Thank you so much, Professor Olsen, and thank you everyone for joining us today. If you joined late or would like to watch this again, we’ll actually be sending out the recording to everyone who registered at some point next week. I’d also like to remind those of you interested in our degree programs about a preview day event that we’ll be hosting on April 4, so you can look for an invitation about that. And also there will be another webinar about how artificial intelligence and deepfakes may amplify extremist propaganda.

So a bit of a different topic related to AI, and that’s on February 20 at 12:00 Noon Pacific Time. If you have a question that we didn’t have time to answer, very sorry about that. There were so many questions that came through and very good ones. Please email us at info@miis.edu—I put that into the chat as well. And finally, if you’d like to stay connected with Professor Olsen, not only can you find his contact details on our website, but you can also follow him on Twitter at Professor Olsen. Thank you once again for participating; we really appreciate your time.

Exploring Social Justice in Language Education

Dr. Netta Avineri and Dr. Deniz Ortactepe from the TESOL and Teaching Foreign Language programs explore the diverse ways that social justice and language education are connected. They describe what social justice in language education is and show you how you can focus on this area. They also discuss their own research, projects, and initiatives that you can get involved with.

Exploring Social Justice in Language Education

Kalina Swanson:

Hi everyone. My name is Kalina Swanson and I will be your host for today’s webinar. I’m currently completing my fourth semester here at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, with a major in teaching English to speakers of other languages and a specialization in language program administration.

Thank you for joining us live today. We’re glad to have you. I’d also like to thank those of you who are watching this recording on the webinar later on. So now I’m going to tell you guys a little bit about my experience with social justice and language education. Here at MIIS, I’ve worked on several projects related to this topic. Each year, for example, our program holds a foreign language education symposium, which is basically a day filled with presentations from language teachers from our community. Last year, I was fortunate enough to have worked on the organizing committee for this conference, and we decided to name the conference Social Justice in Language Education. Dr. Deniz Ortactepe and Netta Avineri were also highlighted in the conference as well. I was also able to take a class from Dr. Deniz Ortactepe, entitled Language Teaching for Social Justice. We did many projects in the class. So we workshopped lesson plans and we adapted a unit of the textbook to include themes related to social justice. So that’s a little bit about my background as a student that’s interested in language education and social justice.

Now I’d like to introduce two of the leading scholars in the field. So we have Dr. Netta Avineri, who is an associate professor of the MA TESOL/TFL program at MIIS, where she serves as the intercultural competence committee chair. She also teaches critical service learning and teacher education courses at California State University, Monterey Bay. She is the author of the 2017 book, Research Methods for Language Teaching and the coeditor of the 2019 book, Language and Social Justice in Practice. She is a series author editor for critical approaches and applied linguistics and chair of the American Association for Applied Linguistics, Public Affairs, and Engagement Committee.

We also have with us today Dr. Deniz Ortactepe, who is an associate professor in the MA TESOL/TFL program as well. Deniz is also the coordinator of the graduate writing center here at MIIS. Her research interests are second language socialization, intercultural pragmatics, sociolinguistics, and social justice language teaching. She has published in international journals, such as language teaching, teaching and teacher education, and language and intercultural communication. Along with fellow faculty members, Dr. Jason Martel, Deniz is guest editing the TESOL journal’s 2020 special issue entitled, Exploring the Transformative Potential of English Language Teachers for Social Justice.

In today’s webinar, we will address the following questions: How do you each define social justice, how do you each see how social justice connects with language and language education, and what kinds of social justice projects are you involved with? What projects are your TESOL/TFL colleagues working on? At the end of the talk, you will have time to ask questions that you have for Deniz and Netta. And remember that you can ask those questions in the chat box at any time during this presentation. Now let’s hear more from our professors in terms of what they do and how they pair future language teachers to confront issues of social justice. So to remind you all the first question is, how do you each define social justice?

Netta Avineri:

So the first thing that I think about is collaboration. When we think about social justice in particular, how do we collaborate to ensure that our societal needs and wants are being met for everyone in society? That includes full and equal participation of everyone in society. That includes equitable distribution of resources and access to those resources as well as opportunities for equity.

What that involves, really, is recognizing that any social problem or social issue manifests or happens at micro, mezzo, and macro levels, meaning at the small scale, at the institutional or systemic level, and also at the structural or the big-picture level. So examples of these systemic injustices might be things like poverty, the criminal justice system, thinking about issues like access to interpreters in healthcare settings, issues like immigration or the census, voting, literacy, the language we use in legal settings. All of these are components of how we ensure that everyone in society has their needs and their wants being met. And so in order to work towards social justice, we need to recognize what are the root causes of systemic inequity. And that means looking at histories, experiences, and how society is structured. What that means is who has power, who has privilege, and who is being oppressed and marginalized. And in order to move towards social justice, we recognize the root of the root of those issues, and then how do we build transformative solutions and collaboration with everyone who’s involved?

Deniz Ortactepe:

Okay. Hi, Kalina, and hello everyone who’s joining us today. I think this is a very good question to begin with, and Netta has done a good job talking about the key concepts related to social justice. I’ll talk about my own understanding of social justice. The way I see social justice is it’s both a noun and the verb. So when we talk about social justice as a noun, it refers to equality, equity care, and respect for diversity. And as a verb, it refers to a process of social action. So it needs to be a goal and it needs to be a process at the same time. And elaborate on this. Think about, imagine you’re teaching social justice issues to your students, and you talk about all the injustices in the world or in their society. What’s going to happen eventually is that you will cultivate feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, or you’ll leave them in despair.

So you don’t want that. You don’t want them to feel helpless in the face of these challenges. You want to cultivate a sense of agency and a sense of social change. So to wrap all this up, I think my understanding of social justice in the context of schooling is that providing equitable and inclusive schooling and educational opportunities by examining issues such as race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual identities and ability and et cetera, but while at the same time, cultivating a sense of empowerment, agency, and a sense of social change.

Kalina Swanson:

Great. Thank you guys. So our second question is, how do each of you see how social justice connects with language and language education? So Netta, I think you can start us off again.

Netta Avineri:

Sure. So the first thing that I think about is the fact that language is both a medium and the message, right? So it’s the way, it’s the how, in terms of how we express ourselves and it’s also the content of what we’re sharing. And so when we think about language and social justice, consider any social issue that we’re aware of in society, and then think about how language might be connected to that. So examples that my colleagues and I have worked on in the past include things like sports team mascot names. How are individuals and indigenous peoples being represented when we look at sports teams, for example. Issues like bilingual education, which languages are taught, which languages aren’t, which languages are valued in society. The notion of the language gap and whether we’re really thinking about marginalized populations in the appropriate ways.

When we use the word illegal to refer to immigrant populations and how that connects with notions of race and racism. Census categories, and how we decide how people count, if they count, if we’re making sure that everyone is counted. And other things like indigenous and endangered languages and the marginalization that’s involved in that. And also social media and media representations of different cultural groups, including things like #blacklivesmatter and things of that nature.

So in the edited volume that my colleagues and I had the opportunity to work on, we featured 24 case studies of language and social justice in practice in order to explore how these two components are really intertwined. So you have social justice issues that then you connect language to, and then you look at language issues and think about how social justice connects in that way. Some additional ways to think about it, I mentioned previously, looking at social issues at micro, mezzo, and macro levels: so at the small scale, institutional, and at the more structural big-picture level. So I’ll just include a number of other examples that are more general, but things like our identities, our experiences, histories, our intercultural interactions with other individuals. And Deniz will talk more about what this looks like in the classroom in terms of curricular planning. But things like, how do we differentiate for all the students in our language classrooms? How do we plan lessons to encourage their critical thinking? How do we select materials to make sure that all groups of people are represented?

At the mezzo level, if we’re thinking about institutional structures, so which language policies do we have in our classrooms? Do we allow students to, what’s called trans-language, meaning code switch among different languages? And what does that mean about what we believe around which languages should be valued? And at the macro level, when we really think about how much English is learned and taught and how much other languages are or are not learned and taught and the power dynamics more broadly globally at the global scale in terms of which languages people value and which ones have some cultural capital. And then the last component, just at the macro level, is really thinking about histories of oppression and colonization and the structural inequalities that exist in the communities and the regions where we work and teach. So I like to really think about it at these different levels and then see how those levels connect with each other to really recognize how important language is as both a medium and a message as it relates to social justice.

Deniz Ortactepe:

This is yet another good question, Kalina, and this is a question that I always receive when I talk about the work that I do. The question usually goes as, why should I talk about social justice issues in my classes, and what does social justice have to do with language teaching anyways? And, of course, there is a very long answer to this, but I’ll give you a very short response by giving you an example. So you mentioned that you took the course that I offered at MIIS, Language Teaching for Social Justice. And we talked about PARSNIP. I wonder if anybody else joining us online today has heard the term, the acronym, PARSNIP. So PARSNIP stands for no politics, no alcohol, no religion, no narcotics, no isms and no sex and no pork. And this is the tested agreement that textbook companies agreed upon to ensure marketability because they market, they produce these, or they sell these products, the textbooks in this context, to different countries all over the world.

So they avoid these so-called taboo subjects, but we need to ask, “Okay, instead of these subjects, what do they represent? Who do they represent? Whose voice do they include in the textbooks?” So this is what we did a lot in the course last semester. We looked at a particular textbook and we analyzed it and we examined the ways that we can adapt it to be more inclusive, to differentiate more, and et cetera.

So if you have a quick look at these textbooks, you will see that everybody’s happy, healthy, able-bodied, and you will see lots of heterosexual families. You won’t see any LGBTQ members. You won’t see anybody with a disability. You will see masculine men in firefighting positions, and you will see women in secretarial jobs. So I don’t see, giving a response to your question, I don’t see social justice as something that we bring to the classroom. It already exists. It’s part of our teaching, it’s part of our curriculum. It’s a part of our schooling. So everything that’s involved in the education process, it has some a connection with social justice issues. So once you start asking these questions, who is represented, who is included, whose voice is heard, and whose voice is silenced, you will see that social justice actually belongs to our classrooms.

Kalina Swanson:

Great. Thank you. And so we have one more question before the audience can ask questions, and just a reminder, you guys can type those questions in the chat box below. The last question for you both is what kinds of social justice projects are you involved with and what are your TESOL/TFL colleagues working on?

Netta Avineri:

Well, thanks for asking. Deniz and I get a chance to work on all kinds of great collaborations with one another and with other colleagues, both here at MIIS and also in other institutions around the globe. So as Kalina mentioned, we had our foreign language education symposium. That is a student-run conference that you get guidance from the faculty members—in particular, our program chair, Dr. Kathi Bailey, oversees the student group who puts the conference together. And as Kalina mentioned, the theme this year was social justice and language education, which really was symbolizing the students’ interest in really exploring what that looks like and really providing a forum for local teachers in the Monterey Bay region to really explore what this looks like in their own teaching. In terms of the kinds of things that I’ve had a chance to work on with other colleagues, all of these have been really collaborative endeavors.

The first is called the community solutions lab, and it’s work that we’re doing in the local region with a city called Gonzales. And I had a chance to work on a project, looking at immigration policies with K–8 students, what that looked like in terms of how they were perceiving how the policies were impacting their day-to-day. And we’re also having a focus moving forward with the city, on sociolinguistic justice. So things like making sure that there’s access to interpreters and making sure that there is a multilingual environment for everyone to grow up in. The city just won the Robert J. Wood Foundation Award for all of the work, incredible work they’re doing with youth. So that’s a collaboration that we’re doing with the city.

Another project I had the chance to work on with colleagues was in the META Lab—that’s another thing here at MIIS, where we were looking at women experiencing homelessness and really trying to really understand their experiences and their stories and looking at the language that’s used by them and others to represent their experience.

A couple of others, I’ll just mention to give you a sense of the kinds of things that you could do. One is called Middlebury Social Impact Core, and we’re continuing our partnership with a group that’s called Impact Monterey County to do interviews in multiple languages around all kinds of public health, then other kinds of social justice issues around access to education in the county. And students, both from MIIS and Middlebury, are involved in that. And I’ve worked also with colleagues on writing about things like sports team mascot names and the “language gap” and bilingual education to various forums like Huffington Post and other pieces like that, to try to engage diverse audiences and collaboration and discussion around these topics. And as mentioned previously, I’ve done different kinds of publications with others as well.

In terms of some things that our colleagues are doing—before Deniz has a chance to share all that she’s been working on—some things that our colleagues have been doing in addition to our teaching in our various courses is a set of publications that Dr. Kathi Bailey is working on around teaching English in underresourced regions. We have our colleague, Dr. Heekyeong Lee, who’s working on a project looking at North Korean refugee experiences. And our colleague, Dr. Thor Sawin, is looking at language policies focused on the notion of what he’s calling hospitality as it relates to language education. And our colleague, Dr. Renée Jourdenais, is also working in her courses and as Deniz mentioned, Jason Martel, on the kinds of issues that you can look at in your courses themselves. So there’s all kinds of interesting things that we get to do, and that we offer the opportunity to work on together.

Deniz Ortactepe:

I would like to talk about a project that I’m actually carrying out in Turkey. The title of the project is Social Justice in English Language Teaching and it’s U.S. embassy in Ankara, State Department-funded project. So I’m working with a colleague at Sinop University in Turkey. And our goal, when we started this project in August 2018, was to educate the language teachers, preservice English language teachers, about social justice issues. But also talk about social justice issues in their classes, but also talk about how to integrate these issues into the classes. So when we began the project, we visited four universities in Turkey and in four different cities. And we talked about what social justice language teaching is, how to integrate social justice issues into the classrooms, and what social justice problems that we have in Turkey.

And another purpose of these visits was to work with participants. So once we had our participants, we did four webinars. And the webinars covered issues such as environmental education and environmental justice, gender equality, LGBTQ-inclusive pedagogy, immigration, and peacebuilding. And at the end of every webinar, we asked the participants to write lesson plans, like you did in the course last semester, with language content and social justice objectives. And we also asked them to write reflective blogs, because I believe that any social justice work starts with yourself, with who you are, and with questioning your own identity and your own privilege and power. And then you can go from there and expand your circle. And once we were done with these trainings, we asked the participants to carry out their own social responsibility projects. And this was the most satisfactory part of the project for me, because we had a chance to see what they could do with the knowledge and the skills that they learned from the project.

So I want to give a couple of examples from the students’ projects. For instance, one of them worked on a United Nations global goals toward sustainable development to ninth grade students for about nine to 10 weeks. And the other one did a short movie on gender equality, more about reverse gender roles. So it was a very short movie. And another one did drama with fourth graders and fifth graders, working again on gender issues, using the children’s book titled Paper Bag Princess. So the storybook actually tells a different story than we are used to—the prince doesn’t save the princess. But the princess saves the prince in this context. But they don’t live happily ever after, unlike the other children’s books that we are familiar with.

And another one interviewed four immigrant women in Turkey, and she published their stories in a storybook to be used in language classes. And these storybooks were so powerful. For instance, because they weren’t only about immigration, they weren’t only about gender issues, there was also LGBTQ issues involved in it. So they underlined intersectionality, that we cannot look at issues from one perspective, but there are lots of angles to approach a problem or an issue in society. So we were really proud of their projects, and this year, we are actually working with a new cohort of students and we have started doing our seminars and webinars again. And we look forward to the products and we are holding a two-day-long symposium in May. This is going to be the second symposium on social justice. So that’s a very extensive project in that sense.

Kalina Swanson:

Thank you both for answering those questions. And now it looks like we have a few questions from the audience members. One of the audience members is asking you both to elaborate on how to encourage critical thinking within the classroom, especially around social justice and with students heading to college. So it looks like K–12 context. So can either of you, or both of you answer that question? Thank you.

Netta Avineri:

I mean, I think a really important component of encouraging critical thinking is ongoing reflection during the course itself. So as you’re bringing up social justice topics to really have students recognize and think through how they are emotionally, analytically reacting to what’s being presented to them and to really involve them in the process with very particular prompts. I talk a lot about, and I share this with my students too, the difference between big R reflections and small r reflections. So big R reflection is the very structured prompts that you can give students as opposed to small r reflection is just like thinking in the shower, on your way to work, or something that we do all the time. But really setting aside time during class to talk about your reactions, think through what is my own experience, my own identity, my own positionality, as it relates to what’s being discussed in class. I think that’s a really important component of it.

And to therefore take a little bit of the temperature of the room as you are introducing concepts. I know a lot of the work that I do is service learning, meaning that students are working with communities and then coming to class to process what’s happening within communities. And so a lot of what we’re doing in classes, both conceptual and giving them content and information, but a lot of it is really processing what’s happening and how they want to make sense of themselves as professionals or as academics or as just students and human beings. So I would say the best thing would be to pace yourself. I leave a lot of space in my syllabi for flex weeks so that I don’t have everything already programmed, to really be sensitive to and responsive to how they’re reacting to social justice topics.

Deniz Ortactepe:

I can add a couple of words. I agree with Netta. But going back to what I discussed earlier in relation to language and social justice, I don’t see critical thinking as something that you can do once during the semester and you expect your students to have that. It’s embedded into the activities that you have. So you don’t need, necessarily need to do a special activity for critical thinking. But when they are reading something, when they look at a picture, asking genuine questions—not pseudo questions—asking genuine questions about the text, about the pictures, about who’s doing what, who is shown in the photos.

And once they get into that habit of asking maybe more problem-solving questions rather than pseudo questions, then it will gradually develop. I remember, I think it was in your course, Kalina, one of the students said that now that they have this critical thinking, or they keep asking critical questions to the things that they hear, or they listen, or they’re exposed to, that it’s impossible to go back because that becomes part of you, that becomes part of who you are, that you cannot actually avoid seeing things from a more critical perspective.

Kalina Swanson:

Great, thank you. Our next question is, in which MIIS classes am I able to explore issues of social justice and language education? So each of you can answer that or maybe just one.

Netta Avineri:

Sure. So in addition to the wonderful elective that Deniz has developed around these issues in particular, we have courses where social justice is folded in throughout the class. So one example would be sociolinguistics, which is a course that’s a required course for all of our first semester students. And we’re looking at all kinds of issues around power and policy and which languages are taught and all of those issues that we were raising earlier. So we have a number of faculty who teach that course. Another course that I teach is called Service Learning: International and Domestic Community Partnerships, where we’re really looking at what does it look like to be a practitioner of service learning programs and what are all of the dynamics, both good and problematic, around engaging in that kind of work.

We also, within our intercultural competence curriculum, have courses around power and identity and intercultural context, all of which students can take as electives within or as required courses depending on your program. And then we have some courses that are cross-listed in different programs across campus, including things like language development and social justice. And also a new course that’s taught by our colleague, Dr. Thor Sawin, and called Language for Peace Building, which is looking at how to actually go on an immersive learning experience and try to understand what’s happening in a particular region, and then bring that back and process it. So those are some of the courses that come to mind. But the more that our colleagues…we’re all really thinking about how to bake this into our courses. It’s becoming a feature in almost all of our classes in some way, even those that don’t immediately seem obvious. Like Deniz has brought up, and she can speak to this, but the notion of assessment itself being a social justice question. So I don’t know if you’d want to add anything.

Deniz Ortactepe:

Yeah, I will.

Netta Avineri:

Yeah, sure.

Deniz Ortactepe:

Yeah. As Netta mentioned, and I think this is again like going back to your second question about the connection between social justice and language teaching, because we perceive social justice as being very embedded into language teaching, it’s studied, it’s examined, it’s integrated into almost all of the courses. Going back to assessment, for instance, I teach the language assessment course along with other faculty, of course. But in the course that I teach, we talk a lot about democratic assessment, who assessment is benefiting, or these high stakes tests are benefiting. And on the other side of the spectrum, jeopardizing or harming. We talk about classroom-based assessments. We talk about how to empower teachers so that they can design valid and reliable assessment plans that are geared towards their own classroom context. So you can pretty much find connections to social justice issues in almost all of the courses.

I’ll talk about the social justice course that I teach here as an elective. So in this course, you were a part of it as well. We talked a lot about critical pedagogy and we talked about critical themes. So the themes that we discussed, race and ethnicity, environmental justice, gender equality, LGBTQ-inclusive pedagogy and immigration and peace building. The thing that I liked really most about the course is that it was very much personalized. I gave my students the chance to read any short books that they wanted. So I gave them a list of short books to read, but I said you can pick any one of these books, but you can also select a book that’s not on the list.

So some of them read about James Baldwin, some of them read the work of Martin Luther King or Audre Lorde. So it was really rich in that sense, because I think it’s about another feature of MIIS that we give students lots of opportunities to have their own track. So if you’re interested or passionate about racial issues, then you can actually design, for instance, in your research methods course, you can write a paper about Black students and their motivation to learn another language. So it’s very much personalized in that sense and it was reflected in the Language Teaching for Social Justice course as well.

Kalina Swanson:

Great, thanks. So it looks like we have time for just two more questions. So our next question will be, what are some of the interesting projects that students have worked on related to that topic? I know I’ve already discussed the projects that I’ve been involved with, but can you name a few that you guys are involved with, with students? And also, are there any opportunities to engage with the community through MIIS?

Deniz Ortactepe:

Sure. I’ll talk about the project that I’m doing with a student of mine, Kathryn DePietro, and Kate and I started working on this project on migrant student education in Monterey County. And we started working together last year. We worked on the literature review and we actually wrote a grant proposal. And at the end of spring semester last year, again we received the grant from the Monterey County Office of Education, California Department of Education.

And this year we did a needs assessment. We interviewed migrant resource teachers, migrant education staff, and classroom teachers who work highly with migrant students. And starting next week, actually, we are starting our professional development with this group of educational staff, or we call them migrant educators, and we’ll be doing workshops on differentiation, differentiated instruction, action research, and mobile-assisted language learning, culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogies, and multiliteracies. And the reason that we wanted to do action research, we are starting with action research because we want the teachers to go back to their classrooms and do action research, working with the migrant resource teacher and working with us as their supervisors. And we would like to see what kind of an impact that we are making as the teacher trainers and what kind of impact that they can make in their own classrooms. So there are lots of opportunities to engage in such projects and this is only one of them.

Netta Avineri:

Yeah. So in Monterey County and in this region, one of my colleagues at CSU Monterey Bay talks about how it’s a microcosm of all of the best and worst of what’s happening around the globe. So there’s what’s called the lettuce curtain, which is actually this distinction between a lot of the farm working communities that are in what’s called South County and Salinas and all of those in the South County region. And those who are in the other regions of Monterey County, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel that are more affluent. And so really thinking about how complex economic issues are, economic inequality, and our students really are getting all kinds of opportunities for hands-on projects to make sense of what’s happening and to try to intervene. So what Deniz was just describing about understanding what’s happening in the communities, making sense of it through action research methodologies, and then working with faculty and other classmates to try to intervene and make some social change.

So examples that we’ve already mentioned, the practicum courses we offer, there are all kinds of immersive learning experiences, both in our program and at the campus more broadly. There are service learning courses. We have a lot of great partnerships with other institutions in the region and also with other parts of Middlebury, the whole Middlebury ecosystem. So a global reach with programs like social impact core, which I mentioned previously. So students have lots of opportunities to make sense of what’s happening locally in preparation for becoming really socially justice-oriented practitioners.

Kalina Swanson:

Thank you guys. So one of our questions comes from, looks like somebody in high school, who wanted to ask about any tips or advice for a high school student who’s interested in pursuing a career in TESOL, mostly in English as a foreign language. So do you have any tips for them in jump-starting their career?

Netta Avineri:

That’s great that you’re already thinking about it. I have a couple of thoughts. I don’t know if you have anything.

Kalina Swanson:

Go ahead.

Netta Avineri:

Yeah. This is such a cool question. I think the main thing would be to start noticing language that you are using and the languages that your communities are using and become what we call like an ethnographer, like start taking notes and start noticing what’s around you and really making sense of the language that you’re immersed in so that you can think about, how would I want to teach this to other people in other places?

So there’s a project you can do. It’s small, but it’s called linguistic landscapes. So you just start noticing what language is on store signs and at the market and all kinds of things, and just starting to notice patterns about how language is used around you. That would be one tip that I could give you. And to just, when you have opportunities, either in high school or in college or wherever your educational process takes you, if you have opportunities to do a research project on something that you’re passionate about, take advantage of that, as Deniz mentioned, to really pursue your interest as early as possible. So those are the things that come to mind, but I appreciate the question.

Kalina Swanson:

Great. Wonderful. Well, thank you all for participating in today’s webinar. If you have additional questions that we weren’t able to get to today, please email us at info@MIIS.edu. And don’t forget that the next deadline for admission is on February 1. We also have another webinar on February 6 that will discuss how you can turn your language skills into a career. So we’ll post those details in the chat right now. And once again, thank you so much for participating. Bye-bye.

Netta Avineri:

Thank you.

Careers and Trends in International Education

Professor Katherine Punteney, program chair and founder of the International Education Management (IEM) program at the Middlebury Institute and Grace O’Dell, career and academic advisor for the IEM program, for a discussion of trends in International Education. With Dr. Punteney and Grace, explore career opportunities available with a degree in International Education Management.

Careers and Trends in International Education

Grace O’Dell:

Hello, and welcome everyone. My name is Grace O’Dell. I’m the career and academic advisor for the International Education Management program here at the Middlebury Institute. Joining me today is Dr. Katherine Punteney. She is our program chair and founder of the International Education Management program here at MIIS.

Grace O’Dell:

Today, Dr. Punteney and I will discuss the trends and career opportunities in the field of international education and discuss the opportunities available with the master’s degree in IEM. Now, before we get started, I have a couple of tips and announcements for you. For those of you joining us live, hello and welcome. For those of you who will be watching afterwards, thank you for tuning in. I also want to note that the recording of this webinar will be available for any of those who have signed up sometime next week.

Grace O’Dell:

Before we jump in, please also feel free to turn on your webcam so that we can see all of you, but do turn off your microphones so that we aren’t interrupted by any background noise. If you have questions, feel free to type them into the chat box, because we’ll be devoting several moments after our webinar towards Q&A. So without further ado, let’s talk careers in IEM.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Hi, everyone, glad you’re here. As Grace said, my name is Katherine Punteney. We’re going to chat a bit about careers in the international education field. We’d like to talk about some of the trends, the growth in the field, different sectors, where the jobs are, and what you can do to prepare for a career in this area.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

But first, the question always comes up, what is international education? It means a lot of different things to different people, depending on their backgrounds or the context that pops into mind. But for us, we’re talking about the profession of designing and managing educational programs that help people cross cultural boundaries and connect with each other in meaningful ways. So that’s what we’ve used as the framing for this presentation.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

To kick things off, let me tell you a little bit about the scope of the fields and how much it’s growing, how rapidly. Recent data shows that there are five million students in higher education studying outside of their home country. And that’s more than doubled in the last two decades. And it just continues to grow every year.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

In the U.S. as well, the number of international students that have come to the U.S. and are studying is at an all-time high. The number of U.S. students studying abroad is at an all-time high. And again, these are trends that have been going on for decades. It just keeps growing. It’s not just the movement of people. But there’s also a real focus in higher education on making universities more international in focus. Thinking about how we make sure that all of our graduates from all of our universities know about the world, have a good sense of cultural issues, of global topics.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

There was a survey done recently by the International Association of Universities, and they were surveying universities all around the world. And more than 90 percent of those responding said that internationalization is a high priority on their campus.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

I’ve been talking so far about higher education, but it’s also K-through-12 education. The number of international schools is growing like crazy. More than 7,500 worldwide and just increasing every day. More than 4 million students are enrolled in schools right now that are considered international schools. And that’s something that’s considered to have grown about sevenfold in 25 years.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

One of the interesting things that’s happening in the field is that it’s become increasingly professionalized. A couple of decades ago, people sort of fell into the work and ended up doing international education work. But now, more and more people are seeking it out as a career that they’ve chosen, that they train for, that they prepare for and seek with intentionality. And what we’re seeing is that the field requires or at least almost always wants people to have master’s degrees. It tends to be the minimum credential in the field now.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Forum on Education Abroad, which is a professional association in our field, they did a survey of their members and they found that 87 percent have a master’s degree or higher. The Association of International Education Administrators, they did a survey of senior international officers. These are the top-level people within universities that have responsibility for international programs within the university. They surveyed them and found that 81 percent have doctorate degrees. So it’s definitely a trend towards graduate degrees as a necessary means of advancement in the field.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Since we’re talking about careers, you’re probably interested in salaries. I have a few data points here to share with you on our slides. We do an alumni survey of students one year after they graduate. And we’re finding that the majority of the students in our International Education Management program are earning between $41,000 and $60,000. That’s in the U.S. context.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Forum on Education Abroad has done surveys of their members. They find that education abroad advisors make an average of $37,500 up to $40,000. Education abroad directors, $70,000 to $75,000. Deans of international education, $90,000 to $95,000. And then there’s another survey out of senior international officers. It says the university senior international officers make an average of $136,000.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

So why don’t we talk about what the different specialties are in the field. I wanted to focus a little bit on different sectors. Particularly, seven different sectors of international education. These overlap a little bit, but different areas that you could find work in that really contribute to that idea of meaningful cross-cultural engagement.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

So let me start with one that’s pretty well known, which is study abroad. Actually, that broader field is called education abroad. For this slide, I wanted to chat a little bit about study abroad and all the different jobs available within study abroad. Certainly, there are study abroad advisors. They might be working in the university. They’re helping students explore different study abroad programs, pick the one that might be a best fit for them, go through the application process, prepare to depart to go overseas. They could be supporting the students while they’re abroad.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

So there’s a study abroad advisor position. There are also people on the receiving side, directors and student services people that are helping receive students, get them enrolled in classes, help them with housing, organizing outings and trips. This is another branch of the field. But there’s more to it as well.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

There are large study abroad organizations that have people that do program design. Specifically, their whole job is to design study abroad programs. There are people that work in recruitment and admissions for study abroad. People that do the marketing. There are people that are safety and security risk management specialists. There are people that are alumni coordinators. There’s even more out there. It’s a huge field.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

I’ve listed on the slide some of the skills that are needed in this field, which are both around the educational piece about how do we design meaningful programs, how do we help people develop global competence or intercultural competence. But there’s also the management component of marketing, of recruitment, of the budgeting, of the assessment. All of the pieces of the business operations as well.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

The last slide, I was talking about study abroad. Education abroad actually is a larger umbrella than just study abroad. It also includes intern abroad programs, volunteer abroad, work abroad. There’s a growing number of research abroad programs. Particularly, undergraduate research abroad is growing. Also, international service learning. People going abroad to do a service project that has a very intentional and integrated curriculum component. So there’s both the service and giving element but also the educational element for the student. So all of that falls actually under the umbrella of education abroad.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

On this slide, I’m calling all those things that focus on non-classroom learning as experiential education. They’re all the same kinds of jobs we just talked about for study abroad. But there are also people that are trip leaders that are traveling with groups of students of any age, high school or maybe even youth abroad. There are internship coordinators, community outreach directors, service learning coordinators.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

It is the same skill set we were already talking about but even more emphasis on partnership development, with internship hosts, with service learning, partner organizations. And there’s even more emphasis in this area on facilitation. How do you help students in the moment explore those experiences they’re having and make sense of them and learn from them? So those training and facilitation skills are essential in this sector.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Another area of the international education field is international enrollment management. Enrollment management means recruiting students into your educational programs and international enrollment management, meaning bringing international students into your programs. So, again, people working in marketing, recruitment, admissions, but there’s some other interesting pieces around credential evaluation. If you are admitting international students from other countries and they send in transcripts, their grading system is different. They might not have what we would call a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree here. They might call it something else.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

So there’s a whole interesting job specialty around figuring out the equivalency of those degrees. People that look at the foreign transcripts and know those education systems around the world, research them and figure out what would be an equivalent GPA in the U.S. system or is this equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree, for example. So that’s called credential evaluation. There are private companies that do it, and many universities hire people to work as credential evaluators.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

One of the other areas in this area is language program administration. As universities are looking to recruit international students, often they need to help them with their English skills as part of their transition to a successful enrollment in a degree program. So there’s an overlap in people that are running language programs that are specifically geared for preparing students for university studies. That’s also part of this enrollment management field.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Another sector is international student scholar services. This is a piece of my background. Although I’ve been involved in a few of the other sectors as well. International student scholar services is, as it says, helping students to be successful in their studies abroad, in the U.S., or elsewhere. So a person could serve as a student advisor but also a scholar advisor. Someone who works with international faculty or international postdocs or researchers.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

There are jobs as sponsored student coordinators. There are many scholarship programs, government scholarships, private scholarships sending groups of students. And many universities have a sponsored student coordinator who works specifically with those partners and helps to support that group of students.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

There’s another job out there called SEVIS coordinator. SEVIS stands for Student Exchange Visitor Information System. It’s the U.S. government’s database that keeps track of international students. And U.S. universities are required to report like the address and the major and these kinds of things about the international students.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

And the SEVIS coordinator makes sure that all the data is getting uploaded right. There’s a tech piece of this. Making sure that the data from the university’s database is getting into the SEVIS database and dealing with any kind of errors that go back and forth or anything that isn’t working quite right. So a SEVIS coordinator is both working with the students themselves but also has a tech piece of their job.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

And then there are a lot of positions that involve programming. Creating events or activities, programs or series of programs that support the students in their adjustment to the U.S., or whatever country they’re in. They could be career oriented, helping students navigate the job market. It could be family and spouse programs. It could be cross-cultural communication or learning about the culture that they’re in, residence life, housing programs to provide support. There’s a huge range of different programming options.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

So people that work in this international student scholar services area certainly need strong intercultural-communication skills themselves. They need to be able to do event planning around orientation, individual advising with students in the US context and in many places around the world. There’s a lot of knowledge of immigration regulations. To give students useful and good and accurate advice, you need strong knowledge of the immigration regulations.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Of course, the programming and some crisis management. Unfortunately, it can happen that a student experiences some kind of personal loss and is in distress and figuring out how to support them and get them that professional care that they need.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Another sector that we could talk about is international schools and youth programs, more generally. Of course, there are jobs teaching. But there are also jobs in student services, in curriculum development. There’s a lot of really interesting work happening right now about how do we prepare youth to develop global competence, to know and care about the world and engage in the world in ways that make the world a better place. So there are a lot of nonprofits doing work with schools to create this kind of curriculum and to help the schools to introduce it.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

There’s extracurricular programming. One of the areas that I find fascinating is around using technology for classroom-to-classroom connections. It’s not always practical to have people actually travel to another country. It can be cost prohibitive and certainly, for younger children, it can be logistically challenging. But to be able to use technology to connect and the advances in that, of course, are growing every day.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

And we’ve already talked about study abroad, but there are certainly many, many study abroad organizations geared towards youth and taking maybe high schoolers or even younger students abroad. So it’s another sector of the field to work in. People that work in this area of course need to know something about all of the business areas we’ve talked about, about curriculum design, about child development. There’s an element of interacting with parents in this sector that we don’t see in the others. And of course, partnership management, because you’re working with schools or working with nonprofit organizations, other areas that are collaborating on projects.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Two more sectors to share with you. One of them is citizen diplomacy. Citizen diplomacy focuses on the people-to-people connections between individuals around the world with the idea and the belief that the more that individuals make connections around the world, the more we become a more peaceful, more understanding, more collaborative place. So governments support this strongly and invest quite a lot of money into it.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

The U.S. government and others sponsor quite a few programs that help individuals, maybe students, maybe professionals, go abroad and they also receive individuals from abroad to create those connections. So people that work in this field might work for government. But also, for example, in the U.S., the U.S. government funds many programs but outsources them to nonprofits to run the program. The U.S. government might decide that it’s in their interest to have journalists from Eastern Europe come to the U.S. to learn about democracy in the media.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Well, there are international educators that design those programs that figure out, okay, there’s going to be a monthlong program. What’s that going to look like? Where will people go? Who will they visit with? What guest lectures will they have? What industry sites will they visit? How do we mix both the learning about the U.S. culture in this case and learning about the topic or the industry that they’re focused on?

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

So people in this area might work in marketing and recruitment and getting people into these programs. They might be advisors to the individuals. Many people work as project managers, organizing and running those programs. Maybe scholarship program managers. Some of the skills especially needed in this area are in grant writing. Like, if the government sponsors a program, there’s almost always a proposal that your organization puts in asking to run the program for the government. A lot around program design, facilitation, immigration regulations, budget, assessment. One of the real questions in this area is what is the long-term impact of these kinds of programs? So people with assessment skills really excel in this area.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

And the final sector I wanted to chat about today, and all of these overlap, but is language programs. There are so many language programs, but especially English as a second language programs in the United States and elsewhere. In the U.S., some of them are geared towards local people that are nonnative English speakers and are looking to improve their English language skills, perhaps are recent immigrants, or were raised speaking another language.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

There are also language programs that are geared largely at students and professionals that are from abroad and maybe have come to the U.S. for a temporary visit, maybe months, maybe years, but with that explicit goal of increasing their language skills for their professional life or to enter a college or university in the U.S. So there are many language programs. And in the U.S., then, international educators can be involved in the marketing, in the recruitment, the admissions, but also student services, programming.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Many language programs have homestays set up. So the homestay coordinator that’s contacting all the families, recruiting families, but also helping train them, helping mediate if there’s any kind of tension between the student and the family. Of course, all the language programs have directors and assistant directors.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

So the skills needed are some of those that we’ve already talked about in terms of the business piece, about marketing or budgeting. There’s the individual student advising piece. You have to know about immigration regulations, if you’re working with international students. But there’s a whole other piece of the knowledge around placement testing or understanding language learning, language teaching, how do you assess student’s language development, teacher supervision. So, actually, we have a program here that specializes in that area too that we can chat about a little later.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

So those are seven key sectors. As I said, they overlap. But the question you might be having is, “Okay, there’s a whole list of skills I need. How do I develop that knowledge and skills?” So let me go into that a little bit. I wanted to share with you sort of what we do here, and we’ve put a lot of time and energy and thought into this over the years, thinking about how can we best prepare our students to succeed and to thrive and to advance in this profession.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

So we have a three-semester Master’s in International Education Management degree. It’s one academic year on campus and then the final semester is a professional practicum, which could be a job or an internship out anywhere in the world. It’s very practitioner focused. There are other master’s degrees out there that are very research oriented or about policy analysis. But our program is much more intended for and designed for people that want to roll up the sleeves, get out there, do the work of designing and running programs. So it’s very practitioner focused.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

And because of that focus, our course work is very applied. In many, many of our courses, students work with actual organizations in the field on actual projects that are being implemented out in the field so that they’re building their portfolio, they’re doing projects that they can add to their résumé, that they can gain real-life skills on, they can learn not only sort of the ideal approach to things but what are the real life constraints that come in and how to work with that and how to navigate it.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

So we have a lot of client-based projects. Our program, as I mentioned, has the practicum and that was very important to us when we designed the international education management program. It is a competitive field to get into. So having that practicum and those client-based projects means that people have a lot on their résumé already by the time they graduate. And they can talk about all the really concrete work they’ve done in the practicum. And having that sort of full-time experience for four to six months really adds that much more to people’s competitiveness and their ability to show their talents and skills as they’re interviewing.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

I should mention that we have a few specializations. These are optional, but students can add them to their degree. They can add a specialization in Intercultural Competence, particularly if people are interested in intercultural training, being a trainer and helping develop intercultural competence and others or assessing people’s intercultural competence. They can add a semester to their degree study here and really dive into those skills.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Students can also add a semester to do a specialization in teaching English as a second language, that’s our TESOL program, or teaching foreign languages, our TFL program, or Language Program Administration specialization. And, as I’d already mentioned, that sort of the language program piece intersects a lot with other sectors of international education. So these can be very complementary.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

We also have a dual degree with our Master of Public Administration. In five semesters, students can earn two degrees, two master’s degrees, on our campus. They spend four semesters on campus and then a fifth semester on their professional practicum. And they’re giving both a public administration degree, focusing a lot on both international development but also nonprofit management and international education.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

So for many of our students, that’s a great way both to bring in a broader range of interests, but also to give themselves many more career opportunities down the road. They might want to work abroad in international development. They may want to work for a nonprofit here in the U.S. And they may choose one that’s education focused, focuses on that kind of cross-cultural understanding that we focus on in international education management. So those are all options for our students.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Just to say a word about the practicum. Our students do, as I said, a full-time four- to six-month professional practicum in the field. It can be a paid job that’s going to go on or traditional internship anywhere in the world. And we are staying in touch with students closely all through that period. They’re in an online course. We’re meeting through videoconferencing. We have students on practicum right now. I’ve probably talked to five this week already.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

We’ve had videoconferencing sessions chatting about the work they’re doing, the projects they’re doing. And we meet both individually with the instructor and student but also in small groups. And the students are encouraging and supporting each other and reviewing each other’s work and giving suggestions. Our students on a practicum talk to our on-campus students about the work they’re doing, so we have a lot of nice connections there.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

A few of the examples are on the slides. And then we’d be happy to chat with you individually about your interests and some of the places people have gone to do a practicum. But one of the great things is the Middlebury Schools Abroad. Being part of the Middlebury network is amazing for us because Middlebury Schools Abroad run study abroad sites all around the world. And our students have the opportunity to go there and do internships at those Schools Abroad sites and be a staff member, helping to run the programs for those students. So that’s pretty cool. But also, we have students in all sorts of fields at colleges and universities around the U.S. and nonprofit organizations, all sorts of things, international schools, many things.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

With all of that, I think the question, and this is probably for Grace, is how do you get there? How do you get to the jobs, and what support can we provide and what support do we provide?

Grace O’Dell:

Perfect. Thank you, Katherine. So as you can see, the IEM program has been designed very intentionally, thoughtfully, and purposefully to focus on aligning these academic pursuits with your desired and potential career trajectory. And what that really means is we’re talking about employability. And when we talk about employability, what we’re talking about is a combination of your experience and qualifications for the field. The relevant knowledge and skills for the role at hand and your ability to intentionally manage your career. And that’s really what I want to dive into a little more deeply.

Grace O’Dell:

What does it mean to manage your career with intention and purpose? For many job seekers, our primary career priorities can be presented in a simple Venn diagram. For many of us, we have three overlapping priorities that represent why we might be on the job search and what are we looking for in our desired career path. The first one as you might expect is financial. Many of us find that we have a financial desire to support in our career path. Whether that’s a desired income, financial obligations we need to meet. Finances are a big part of why we’re searching for our next job. Next is the skills.

Grace O’Dell:

We all have skills that we want to use and are really, really good at. These are our strengths. And what we want to look for in our career path is the opportunity to use them and grow them. That’s closely connected to our third element here, our third priority, which is often, job satisfaction. Many of us are driven by the idea of working for purpose. We want to have an impact. And what that means is finding the appropriate balance of all of these elements in our desired career.

Grace O’Dell:

The interesting thing about this Venn diagram is that it also leaves space for us to represent both internal and external pressures that act upon each of these elements. For example, an internal pressure on the financial side would be my own personal financial obligations. What does that look like, and how can I incorporate that into my career search? And external pressure, on the other hand, would be focused on the economy, the job market. What salary are organizations in my field able to offer me?

Grace O’Dell:

On the skills side, not just what skills do I possess? On the external side, it’s really looking at what skills do organizations in this field want me to have in order to succeed in this role? And these are some of the skills that Katherine clearly articulated earlier today.

Grace O’Dell:

On the job satisfaction, it’s really helping us balance both our inner desires. What do we want our ideal job and day to look like in that role? And coupling it with what is offered in reality? What jobs are out there and how can we find them? And this is where our knowledge and our research about the trends in international education can help us answer some of these questions. We use this knowledge to inform how we manage and navigate this process.

Grace O’Dell:

So while there are lots of ways to do this type of exercising on your own, here at MIIS, our IEM candidates are supported through this navigation process, whether they’re looking for class projects or traditional internships, looking for a practicum position or even that first job after graduation. Students work with me as their career and academic advisor, not just to align their courses to their skills development, but also to help explore these options. Figure out, literally at times, where do you look for jobs? Where do you find them? How do you target your résumé and reflect it and customize it for the job at hand?

Grace O’Dell:

We’ll do lots of mock interviews. We’ll practice negotiation for compensation and salary outcomes. We’ll also talk about how can you not just grow, but also maintain a network that you can use in your job search. We’ll talk about decision making, career planning, fellowships. And when necessary, we’ll also discuss what other support you might need for your overall well-being for you to ultimately be successful. So it’s a pretty holistic view to help you support, not just attending graduate school, but how do you thrive in a career in international education.

Grace O’Dell:

So with that, I’d love to open the floor for any Q&A that you might have. Feel free to open your chat box and type away. Our first question: “What advice would you have for someone who is thinking of entering the field but isn’t quite sure yet?”

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

I think, the best way to explore the field is just to read job descriptions. I would get out there, maybe nafsa.org, N-A-F-S-A dot org. nafsa.org has a great job board. Read theirs. Look at higheredjobs.com. All sorts of job boards. Just read the job descriptions and pay attention to your emotional reaction. Are you excited about it? Are you inspired by it? Does it sound like the dream job? And some probably will and some won’t. But that will help you start seeing if there are sectors of the field that really call to you. I think that’s a piece of it.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Along those same lines, informational interviews. People in our field are really friendly, which is nice. But you can just email somebody and tell them who you are and your interest in the field and ask for half hour of their time in person or on the phone or through video conferencing. And ask if you can ask them about their career. What they do day-to-day. What was their path. How they got there. What advice they have for someone getting into the field.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

And the more you have those conversations, you hear both the challenges and the rewards of the field, the different kinds of jobs. You start, again, pay attention to that emotional reaction. What are you getting excited about versus which things do you think might not be right for you? And you start sorting that out a little bit and feeling whether it’s the right path for you.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

So I think those informational interviews are important. There are a lot of listservs out there. If anyone’s interested, maybe we can email about your interests and I can tell you which ones might most suit you to be following, but just sort of staying up with a field. There’s a lot of free things you can be reading, different newsletters you can get on, and going to conferences, if you can.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

There are many large conferences in our field that would just give you a chance to interact with professionals, go to sessions to hear what people are talking about. What’s the research being done? What are the hot topics? What are the trends? I think that’s another great way to explore, too. And many of those conferences, if you volunteer at the conference to help out like at the registration desk or different places, will give you a discount. So keep that in mind as you’re exploring.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

What would you add to that, Grace?

Grace O’Dell:

Well, that’s pretty much how I would summarize it too. Really, read all the jobs you can. There’s so many out there. And take check of how you respond to them, talk to people in the field. And third, get involved. The only thing I would add to that is also find a way to track all the information you’re learning. What you’re doing in this process is engaging in career research. And you have to have a way to organize those thoughts and your conclusions from the information you’re learning. So whether that’s journaling, whether it’s taking a list, whether it’s covering your wall with Post-It notes, however you best compile and synthesize that information, make sure you do that with intention.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

That’s great.

Grace O’Dell:

Another question, “What kinds of courses or help does the program offer to students who are interested in developing their own study abroad program or nonprofits?”

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Yeah, it’s a great question. We always have some folks that are interested in doing something entrepreneurial that want to design and launch their own program. I think the first step probably is getting a little actual practical experience in the field right before you start your own, not to dissuade anyone. But depending on where you’re coming from, if you’ve already worked in the field, a little experience doesn’t hurt.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

And so, some of those projects I was already talking about, those applied projects, are very useful. For example, in our marketing and recruitment class, students work in a small team with an actual organization and design a marketing and recruitment plan for that organization. So they’re doing a SWOT analysis of the organization about their strengths and weaknesses or doing a competitor analysis or coming up with recruitment strategies and recommendations, timelines, sometimes materials to support that process. So that’s an applied project.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

We have another course, International Education Program Design and Assessment, and students work in twos or threes with an actual organization again, and they either create a program design with an assessment plan built in or, if it’s an existing program, they conduct an assessment of it. And then based on the findings, redesigned the program based on the assessment. So those kinds of applied projects then give you … Having seen it for another organization and how it works, gives you a chance to think about how you would apply it in your own organization.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

We’ve also had some classes offered at MIIS through other departments over the years about sort-of startup organizations. And we’ve had students take those as electives. But as you’ve probably seen, if you’ve looked at our website, we have classes, certainly, about this or educational design, thinking about student learning. What do we want them to achieve? How do we create educational programs that will help students achieve it? And that’s one really important piece of what we do.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

But another part has to be the business part. And I think that’s what this question gets at. And so that’s why we have required courses on budgeting, on staff management, on marketing and recruitment. And we have elective courses around project management, around fundraising, around grant writing, around working with the owners. I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but quite higher education administration, that kind of thing. So, different areas that could focus on the management components as well.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

So I think it’s a matter of navigating your own what is it you’re trying to achieve, what skills do you already feel like you bring, and what do you need to fill in? And then working with Grace to pick the courses that help you get there.

Grace O’Dell:

Many of our courses are often so interesting that we all have trouble prioritizing which ones we’ll actually be able to take in our short year on campus. So if you’re hearing this list of electives and courses that all sound pretty interesting, know that you’re not alone. And then I’ll help you navigate through which ones are best aligned to fit those skills that you need to develop.

Grace O’Dell:

And a similar question has come in: “While enrolled in the program, do students have access to language programs to supplement studies or for general interests?”

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Excellent question. Yes, definitely. MIIS is really well known for its language studies. Particularly, what we do that’s exciting is content-based instruction. I don’t know about all of you, but when I studied language, I took Japanese and we had the vocabulary quiz every Monday. And then we did drills on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then the grammar quiz, and then the writing quiz and the unit quiz. It was a lot of memorization and a lot of quizzes.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

And what they’re doing here, which I wish I’d had, frankly, is content-based instruction. They’re studying actual topics in the language. So students in our program can study education in Spanish or in Russian or in Arabic, whatever language it is they’re studying. We have quite a few on offer. And learn the professional jargon of the field so that they can operate in that language.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

We have five program learning outcomes that are the focus of our curriculum for IEM. It’s on the website if you want to take a look. But one of them is intercultural and linguistic competency. It’s essential to us that people can interact professionally in diverse environments. And that might be linguistically diverse or people from different cultural backgrounds, as that’s the nature of our field today.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

So definitely, everybody’s taking languages. And we’ve been able to add more and more content around intercultural competence recently, which we’re excited about too. You can see on our website the details of the course work and how many credits and all of that. And we’re happy to talk to you individually about your interest in language and what’s on offer.

Grace O’Dell:

Okay. Thanks, Katherine. “Is a public teaching background helpful in the program?”

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Every year, I would say, we have four or five students that have been schoolteachers before they come to teach with that. We have many that teach English abroad. I should say that’s way more than four or five. Many, many of our students teach English abroad. But people that are actually trained teachers that have had a background and gotten their teaching certification or have another degree, maybe a few people have another master’s degree in teaching.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

We always have them in our program, and we love having them because they bring so much knowledge of how people learn about how to teach, how to facilitate. As we were looking back at these different job responsibilities, those are recurring pieces that come up. How do we help people learn? That’s the point of our field.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

And the question about the public teaching background being helpful, where it’s really, really helpful, is if you’re trying to get into youth and international education. Which is not to say that you can’t go into any part of the field and that it wouldn’t be helpful, but it’s exceedingly helpful there to have both credentials because then you’re really focused on both the international and intercultural piece. And with the teaching credential, you can get into the schools in ways that some of us without the teaching credential can’t, so.

Grace O’Dell:

Great. Another question has come in from one of our listeners where we’ve received feedback that some university intensive English programs are not necessarily in a great position to hire: “How would we respond to the idea of someone who wants to work in an intensive English program? And what would your advice be?”

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Yeah, it’s tricky. All programs in language or in any other program have ups and downs in their enrollments. And then that means ups and downs in their hiring. There are always some that are in expansion mode and others that might be contracting a little. And of course, it depends. Many programs are small. So as people come and go and leave their jobs, whether there’s an opening in any given program at any given time. So there’s that level of some of it’s just being a little bit flexible about which organization you work for and keeping an eye out for the openings.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

We have an ESL program here on our campus. Actually, we’ve had many students work part time as student assistants in their programs during the school year and the summer, which gives them a little bit of a leg up. People can do the language program administration or the teaching English as a second or other language or the teaching foreign languages specialization, so that can be useful.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

The reality of sort of the ebbs and flows of the economy are a little bit hard to change. As you mentioned, the external and internal forces. We can’t necessarily change those, so we racked[RJL1]  them by being as strong as we can in terms of getting out there in the field. We have quite a few alumni that do work in language program administration. And we would help you network as an individual, figuring out where you want to go and trying to make those connections and those networks for you. Trying to make sure that your projects align in that direction that you’re doing in class. And also, that your practicum sets you up in that area so that you’re the most competitive candidate out there. When there’s not as many positions, you just need to be the best one. And that’s what we’re there to support you in doing.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

I don’t know if you might have any other take on that.

Grace O’Dell:

That’s a great way to look at it, actually. I’m thinking of that Venn diagram I shared and how there’s internal and external factors that inform our career search. And on the internal side, if you’re looking for a position in a field that is increasingly competitive, whether that’s because of the qualifications you need or the positions available, the best way we can respond is to make ourselves the strongest candidate as possible.

Grace O’Dell:

And doing that skills gap assessment to figure out what skills do we need to show to the employer that we are the best person for their team. On the other side, doing that career research to figure out if there is possibility in that field or if it’s not the time yet. As we do more and more career research about these trends, about where the opportunities are, what we’ll begin to uncover is that the research, the trends might be showing reduced hiring in some areas. But as a response, increased hiring in another. The way “traditional”—and I’ll use that word in quotations, really—“traditional” programs are offered is changing.

Grace O’Dell:

There are a lot of language programs that are shifting towards different models, towards different curriculum. And two different ways of incorporating technology into them. And those types of positions are definitely on the rise because we all need to adapt and we need to know what these trends indicate so that we can all get ahead of them, not just as job seekers, but as organizations who are offering these programs to other scholars and students.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Thank you.

Grace O’Dell:

We’ve got another question here for us. “Can you talk about the relationship between international education and development? And do MIIS programs offer development courses, particularly, under the IEM program?”

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

I’m not entirely sure what the question means for development. Like “international education,” another word with multiple meanings. When we talk about it at MIIS, we mostly mean international development meaning using—and we talk about education and development—using education to alleviate poverty around the world. So that’s what I’m going to talk about but please type in … Yes, thank you, international development. Please tell me if we meant advancement in fundraising, which is another term for development.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

But international development has long been a strength at MIIS. We have a large development policy and practice program. And students in international education have some electives that they could take from anywhere on campus, including that program. But we also offer a course, specifically on education and development. And it’s a specialty of one of our faculty members.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Students in that program that are taking those classes that are at that intersection of education development, many of them are in our master’s of public administration and international education dual degree. They’re looking at global policy around the sustainable development goals, the education components of it in particular, and how education policy around the world is shaped. How those decisions are made? What the outcomes are for real people and then what the outcomes are for society? So there’s definitely that element. I think most of our students in the IEM program that have a strong interest in international development do the joint degree with public administration to get those two components to bring them together.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Grace advises students a lot about, sometimes people come in thinking they want to do international development and they might take some classes from IEM. Sometimes, they’re going to do IEM, take some classes from …

Grace O’Dell:

MPA.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

… development, from the MPA program. Some people are definitely in the joint degree and wanting all of both. And she helps you pick and choose classes to explore that and people change their minds a lot. Once they’re here, they add the joint degree or re-navigate as their choices evolve.

Grace O’Dell:

And I help advise, not just from my role as a career and academic advisor, but also from my own firsthand experience. When I first came here to Monterey, I was a student in the public administration program. And I was convinced that my own career goal was one that was setting me out to work in international development. I’d been doing that for several years before I attended the Middlebury Institute.

Grace O’Dell:

But then, when I got here, I realized that I was missing a key element of what would allow me to pursue a career of passion and interest, and it was the international education side. So we could talk more about my background, but you’ll see that I am a graduate of both of these degrees. I would be happy to share more about that experience.

Grace O’Dell:

Any other questions? Here’s one: “What does a typical day look like in the IEM program?”

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Typical day. I’m not entirely sure there’s a typical day but I would say, our students, the classes are in the daytime, Monday through Thursday for the most part. Students are usually in a language class several days a week. In addition, their International Education Management classes, I would say, two to three classes on an average day.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Some people pack their schedules to take all their classes on Tuesday, Thursday, so they can do nothing but homework on Monday, Wednesday. I don’t know. Other people spread it out. It’s definitely plenty of homework outside of classes. It’s graduate school. You need to be prepared for reading, writing projects.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

International education is not very lecture-oriented. It’s not any of our teaching philosophies. We do much more discussion-based, project-based, interactive work in our classes. So we expect people to come prepared to class, having done the readings, for example. And then be ready to start applying in the class time and to get the feedback on the application from the faculty members who are all professionals in the field. We’ve all worked in the field for 15 or more years as practitioners before switching to this teaching role. So I think that’s one of our strengths.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

But in terms of the typical day, then students are probably in several classes. They have many hours of homework, of course. And usually, several group projects. I was mentioning all those applied projects, students are definitely working in teams on those, so navigating that.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

We had some pictures on the slideshow. I hope you saw the Monterey area. And it’s beautiful here. We’re like four blocks from the coast. Just less than a five-minute walk and you’re by the ocean and the seals are out there and the sea lions and the otters and it’s a great place to be in that regard. So I just add, occasionally students get out and explore nature too, enjoy the beautiful area. What would you add to a typical day?

Grace O’Dell:

I might add an online call with a client or a learning partner. Because so many of our courses are focused on that hands-on work with an organization in the field, chances are you need to connect with them pretty regularly. And depending on how many courses you’re in that work with a client or learning organization, that could be a very regular interaction. Yeah.

Grace O’Dell:

All right. I think we’ve got time for one final question here: “What websites can we use to monitor the job trends abroad?”

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

That’s an interesting one. Websites to monitor the job trends abroad partly depends on the different sectors. There are different areas of the field with different job boards. So having some individual communication about your interests could give the better advice.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

One I really like, there’s something called Professional International Educators, PIE is the acronym, P-I-E. And they have a great e-newsletter that you can sign up for, which really focuses on international education all around the world. A lot of the other ones are more U.S. based, but that one’s really good at getting at some of the trends and the articles about international education around the world.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

For more research focused, I would look at the IDP database. That’s I-D-P, the initial, the letters. That’s out of Australia, and they have a whole database of research in the field that’s searchable. And you can look at all sorts of different topics that might be of interest to you and see who’s doing what.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

The big professional associations, NAFSA, I’ve mentioned before, N-A-F-S-A, is the largest international education association in the world. They’re U.S. based, but there’s also the European Association of International Education, Asia Pacific Association of International Education, many different countries have their own association. So if there’s a part of the world you’re interested in, following those. Most of them, of course, you can become a member and go to their conferences. But they often have online publications on trends and on research. Many of them have newsletters, so it’s worth following them. Something you would add?

Grace O’Dell:

I like to go straight towards some data sources as well as looking at other organizations that would interpret the trends for us. One of those is the Institute of International Education and their Open Doors Reports. And really, they publish information about data about where folks, the exchange of scholars and students is happening across the globe. Where and from and to and why and under which programs.

Grace O’Dell:

And using that type of data, you can make your own inferences about where you see that growth happening and how you can possibly tap into it. If there’s a large number of students coming from a new area of the world, chances are universities and organizations need to respond to that by hiring people to accommodate those types of increases.

Grace O’Dell:

Well, folks, I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got time for today. Thank you so much for joining us. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to anyone here at the Middlebury Institute. And you can find our contact information listed online.

Grace O’Dell:

Thank you so much.

Dr. Katherine Punteney:

Thank you.

Finding a Career in the $40 Billion Language and Technology Industry (plus STEM information)

Localization is the process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale or market. The language services industry recently surpassed the $40 billion mark and is projected to continue its rapid growth. There is a great need in this industry for localization professionals who are proficient in translation, technology, and business skills. Middlebury Institute alumna and career advisor Winnie Heh shares information about how to prepare for these new career opportunities in this webinar.

This updated version of our discussion with Winnie features information on our MA in Translation and Localization Management now being designated a STEM program and the benefits that provides for international students.

Finding a Career in the Language and Technology Industry (plus STEM information)

Brandon:

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the latest episode of our online discussion series, where we connect you with members of our faculty and staff here at the Middlebury Institute of International studies at Monterey. I’m Brandon. I’m a member of the enrollment team here. I have a guest with me, Winnie Heh. Before I introduce her, I want to just make sure I make a couple of quick notes for technical setup. You’re using the Zoom platform right now. You should notice a couple of icons in the bottom left corner of your screen for audio and video. Make sure to keep the audio icon muted at the moment, but feel free to share your video so that we can see who’s with us today.

Brandon:

In addition, I wanted to give a warm welcome to anybody who’s out there who’s going to be watching this after the fact. We understand that there’s a lot of times zones that make it prohibitive to join us live, but anybody who signs up for these will get a recording of the session after the fact. And then I’d love to introduce Winnie Heh. She’s the career advisor for the Translation, Interpretation, and Localization Management program here. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your background, résumé, and then some of your experience. Let me just get this presentation set up for you real quick. There you go. You’re good to go.

Winnie Heh:

Thank you, Brandon. Hello, everyone. First of all, I like to tell you a little bit about myself. As Brandon mentioned, I’m currently the career advisor for the Translation, Interpretation, and Localization Management programs. I’m an alum. I graduated with a conference interpretation degree in 1990, and in the last 30 years I have worked as a conference interpreter. I’ve taught interpretation, and I’ve spent most of my time working in the business sector, managing language businesses. And as you can see from the slide, I’ve done almost every job in the language services sector. And in 2016, the company that I helped build was sold for $1.5 billion. And I share that number with you not to impress you with a big number, but to impress upon you that the language business is no longer the cottage industry that I graduated into, but it is a big and solid field right now. And the good news is that means opportunities for all of you.

Winnie Heh:

And this year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of our translation and interpretation program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Our school is world renowned for our translation/interpretation program. When people think about our school, this is the typical image that they think of. This is a picture taken during the historic visit by president Obama to Hiroshima, Japan, and the interpreter standing to his right here is one of our alumni. Here’s another picture. This is President Trump visiting China, and the interpreter standing between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Trump is also one of our alumni. And so that’s what people think of when they think of our school. But the language industry is much bigger than diplomatic interpretation. Just wanted to give you a sense of the kind of organizations that our alumni work for.

Winnie Heh:

On the left-hand side of the slide, you see public organizations; these are the type of public organizations that our alumni go to work. And on the right-hand side, I also want to share with you on the private sector, according to the Common Sense Advisory, in their database, there are 18,000 language services providers in the world, and Europe represents 51 percent, and North America represents 38 percent. And here is a view of the size of the market. As you can see, 2017, the size of the market was $45 billion, and it is expected to grow. So, that’s why I said this is a solid and growing industry.

Winnie Heh:

And so in such a big industry, what do people do? What kind of jobs do people have? And this is important because we’re a professional graduate school. Students come to our school with a career goal in mind, and so I think understanding the ecosystem of the career opportunities is very important. So here’s a view of it. You can see on the upper right-hand corner, there are different types of interpretation positions that one can have. On the upper left-hand corner, you can see different types of translation positions. And below translation, you see project coordinators, project managers.

Winnie Heh:

I’m going to talk a little bit more about this later, but picture a complicated translation project that involves language and technology. There are hundreds of decisions that need to be made, large teams that need to be managed. And so you need professionals to manage the whole process. More and more, there’s the convergence of language and technology. So on the lower left-hand side, you see a lot of engineering positions that really encompass both language expertise and also engineering skills. And I’m often asked the question with artificial intelligence: Do you think language jobs will go away? Will Google Translate replace translators and interpreters? And the short answer is no.

Winnie Heh:

Actually, this slide was not developed by me, but by a colleague, that was presented to us at the American Translators’ Association Conference in 2016. These are the new jobs that have been created or will be created thanks to artificial intelligence. As you can see, some keywords: technology; machine learning, which is AI, terminology; and data collection. You hear “big data” all the time, and big data also plays a role in the language industry moving forward.

Winnie Heh:

With that in mind, I want to ask you a question, and that is what do these tech firms have in common other than the fact that all of them have headquarters or offices within 100 miles of our school? What they have in common is we have alumni working in every single one of them. And so you may wonder why would language people work in these tech firms? I will explain more later. So here’s a map of California. As I mentioned earlier, our translation and interpretation program was established 50 years ago. And I think 50 years ago, the founders of our program could not have anticipated what’s going to happen in 2019. But we’re very fortunate that we’re only about 60 miles away from Silicon Valley, very close access to the big tech players and the big employers. In fact, I go to Silicon Valley very regularly to attend networking events and meetings, and that’s another benefit of our location.

Winnie Heh:

I’m going to talk about localization, and this is the new opportunity. When I was a student here 30 years ago, the word localization did not even exist. It was not a thing. But our school established a localization program about 12 years ago. And what is localization? Localization is the process of adapting product or content to the local market. And it goes far beyond just translating the language. Picture eBay. eBay has your website in around 10 languages. And if you need to see the website in Russian or in Spanish, that reflects the same content as English, and when the English content is updated, the information in the Russian and the Spanish website is updated at the same time. That requires a lot of rigorous processes in this project. It goes beyond the language. It goes beyond the graphic.

Winnie Heh:

I’ll just use a simple example. When we express dates in the United States, the norm is month, day, and year. In Asia, it’s year, month, and day. In Europe, it’s day, month, and year. And so when you are adapting your website to a different location, that needs a different format. Just getting the language correct is not going to give you the right result. You also need to work with the engineering team to make sure the code embedded in the program can allow you the flexibility to switch the date—the month, and the day, and the year—for the right location. On top of that, there are different legal and regulatory requirements in different locations, and you need to take those into consideration as well. So this is the localization process.

Winnie Heh:

So what do we do to prepare our students to be leaders in the localization industry? There are three key components in our training. It’s the translation, the language, the culture, business, and also technology, because as you can imagine, a localization professional needs to work closely with the linguistic experts, with the business managers, and also with the technical staff to make sure the result comes out correctly. Here are just some examples of the technical and the business classes that we train our students on.

Winnie Heh:

With the kind of training that we provide, what’s the career outcome? First, I want to share with you the internship outcome. This is a two-year program, and we highly encourage our students to seek internships between the first and the second year. And so, as you can see, we have a very, very high percentage of internship outcome looking at 2018 and 2017. 2017 was 100 percent, 2018 was 98 percent. In terms of employment outcome, you can find this information on our website. This is a survey one year after students graduate. As you can see, 94 percent of the students were employed. In terms of the type of organizations that they work for, as you can see, a very high percentage work for the private sector.

Winnie Heh:

I want to share an additional, very good piece of information with you. In the United States, an international student with an F-1 visa has the ability to use what’s called Optional Practical Training. You have 12 months to seek Optional Practical Training in the United States. But with graduates from our translation and localization management program, you have the option of seeking a 24-month extension. So the bottom line is, you have the ability to work in the United States for 36 months after you graduate, rather than the 12 months that most MA graduates receive. So that’s a very good piece of news that we wanted to share with you. So with that, I’ll open up for questions.

Brandon:

Yeah, absolutely. Let me just pull this down so you guys can see us again. Real quick, while I’m getting the chat box open, let me mention to everybody …  It looks like some of you’ve already found it, but if you guys want to ask questions, put it in that chat window at the bottom, and I’ll relay them to Winnie as I see them. I know my colleague Devin has been in there answering some questions already for you. While I’m looking at those, Winnie, I wanted to just touch on … A lot of our guests today, and a lot of our students, over a third of them, are international. So this last bit of information you shared is really important. Can you think of any examples of work that international students have been able to get in the U.S. after they graduated from our program?

Winnie Heh:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative). A lot of our students work for the private language services providers as project managers. As I mentioned, in a localization project, there are a lot of moving parts, so you need to have project managers managing the process. And many of our graduates work as project managers for language services providers, and for some of the tech companies.

Brandon:

Awesome. Great. And I’m also curious. I know that a lot of the questions that I field from prospective students are interested to know what … Are there any particular backgrounds or experiences that would make a potential applicant a good fit for this TLM program that you can think of?

Winnie Heh:

As I mentioned, there are three key components in the training: translation, which includes language and cultural knowledge, business, and technology. So, the stronger your background is in those three areas, you will get more out of your training here, and it will also enhance your employability.

Brandon:

Gotcha. Great. And then I’m curious more generally speaking, are there any trends that you see in the localization space right now in terms of maybe particular languages that are hot, or geographical locations where people are in more need, or is there any sort of trends?

Winnie Heh:

I think European languages traditionally have been strong, and Asia is becoming stronger and stronger. And the United States has been the engine of fueling localization, but I’m also seeing, for example, China is becoming a very strong economic power, and will be fueling localization needs as well. So taking Chinese products to other cultures. For example, in the United States, we localize the content from English into other language, into Chinese, Spanish, Russian. In China, I see a lot of need for them to localize their content into English, and then from English into other languages.

Brandon:

Got it. Great. Got a couple of questions coming in fast here. One student is curious if you feel that there’s a … the localization or management track is more likely to be able to get them a job in the U.S. Is there a tendency toward one or the other, or would you say that it’s more preference and they’re equally viable?

Winnie Heh:

I think they’re equally viable, but I would say regardless of the track that you take, always pay attention to what the employer’s pain points are. I think looking into the future, data management skills, your ability to analyze data, to pull data, will become a very important skill.

Brandon:

Cool. Keeping on the same track of jobs in the U.S., one person asks, Are there any limitations on where they could be doing that OPT work afterwards? So for example, could it be outside of California? Is there any limitation on that?

Winnie Heh:

There’s no limitation. You can do it anywhere in the United States.

Brandon:

Okay, great. That’s what I thought. Let me just read real quick, here. So one person is asking how long it would take for the STEM program standard to be applied to other translation and localization programs in other TI graduate schools in the U.S. I guess we probably can’t guess.

Winnie Heh:

Yeah. I can’t guess that because that’s not within our control.

Brandon:

Right. Got you. There’s a couple people who are asking very specific visa-related questions, and I’m going to refer you … I think that since it can get very individualized, and it can get very specific, the best resource here on our campus is the International Student Services Department. And you could actually email them at ISSS@miis.edu, and they’ll have great answers for your specific visa questions. I don’t think it’s right for us to try to field those right now. Could you speak a little bit to the STEM designation? This is actually the second program, by the way, that we’ve had certified STEM. The first one was the International Environmental Policy program. Could you say a couple words as to why we received this STEM certification for that program for TLM?

Winnie Heh:

Yes. So when we first started the localization management program, we used the same … There’s a code that’s used by the U.S. government to determine whether you are a STEM program or not. When we first established a program, we used the same code as the translation/interpretation program. And clearly when you look at the curriculum, the curriculum has a lot of technology involved, and has a lot of the business and the management aspect involved. So it’s clearly not the same kind of program. And so that’s why it’s designated as a STEM program. The question was whether other translation/interpretation programs will be designated as a STEM program. I can tell you our translation/interpretation program is not a STEM program.

Brandon:

Right. Got it. Perfect. One person has been checking out our website and has noticed that there’s a solid range of, in addition to the 94 percent who are getting jobs within a year, there’s a range of salaries. Many people are making very high incomes after graduating, in the $90,000 range, but there are some who are making more close to $50,000 a year when they first get their entry-level jobs. They’re cutting right to the chase and wondering if you have any tips on how you would pursue those higher-level jobs. What sorts of things are those students doing, if you have any sense, to get the high salaries?

Winnie Heh:

Yeah. In general, in localization management, we talk about positions on the client side and the vendor side. The client side will be working directly for tech firms, like eBay, or Google, or Facebook. On the vendor side will be positions working for a language services company providing localization services to the client side. In general … I’m generalizing. In general, I see higher compensation on the client side, so that’s one thing to think about. But I’ve also seen a good level of compensation on the vendor side, and that typically is when you have a language combination that’s unique, or you have particular background or skills that are hard to find. So those are the different ways you can get to a higher range.

Brandon:

Great. One person is asking … So, there’s a lot of applicants who are former translation majors or linguistics majors, and they might not have any of those technical skills, technical software background. Are they going to be at a disadvantage? Are they okay? Should they consider applying to this program? Can they get those skills here?

Winnie Heh:

Yeah. The bottom line answer is it’s okay. I’ll tell you, I was an English major. Okay? And I studied programming languages. I didn’t know whether I would find it impossible to learn, but actually, I found it easier than learning English. English is my second language. Because all it is, is grammar and logic. If you can master a second language, you can master a computer language. And in fact, one of my students was telling me last Friday, she said, “Actually, I find computer language is easier because when you are having … when you’re using natural language to communicate, you make a mistake, people are not going to stop you every second to say, ‘Oh, you made a mistake,’ and stop, right? But when you’re writing computer code, you make a mistake, it will stop you. It will yell. It will not let you move forward.” So in a way it’s a lot easier. So I would not let that scare you because from my experience, it’s actually easier.

Brandon:

Gotcha. So I’m just going to field a couple more, really quick here. Somebody just asked me for, if you know, some more specific details about the curricular breakdown in TLM. So they want to know if there’s … the percentage between translation, business, and technology work. And then they’re also very ambitious and want to know if it’s possible to pursue three languages at the same time in the TLM program.

Winnie Heh:

Well, I don’t have the particular breakdown. I think it’s a good blend. Pursue three languages, I would say anything is possible. Right? A lot of it depends on how high your language proficiency already is. Okay? If you have already very high proficiency, of course, it’s going to be easier. But if you are like a lot of people, you have two very strong languages, and the third one is pretty weak, I think it may be more difficult for you.

Brandon:

Right. And I don’t want to talk out of turn, correct me if I’m wrong. But I’ve heard some people who’ve graduated from this program discuss how they formally studied in one language, but they did know another language, and a lot of the things they learned in the program, they can easily apply to that other language now to some degree, since they’ve learned it in one language. So they may be more proficient in one, but professionally, they can work a little bit in the other one, too. Is that your experience?

Winnie Heh:

Yeah. Yeah. So I think if you’re interested in whether you can graduate with three languages, it’s a more individual question. Perhaps we can take it offline and evaluate the individual case.

Brandon:

Sure thing. And then finally, somebody is wondering … I’m going to combine two questions. This will be the last one, I think. If you have any specific types of technology you know that they learn in the TLM program, and in particular, somebody else wants to know if they’ll learn any programming languages.

Winnie Heh:

Yes, our students do learn programming languages. In the website localization course, they learn HTML and they learn Python. They learn Java, and I think also learn CS.

Brandon:

Okay, so “many” is the answer.

Winnie Heh:

That’s right.

Brandon:

Great. So I think we’re going to wrap it up there. Thank you guys so much for being with us today. A couple of quick points to finish out. If you have more questions that I didn’t notice because they were flying by, or you didn’t get to ask them, you can email us at info@miis.edu. So, that’s info at M-I-I-S dot E-D-U, and we’ll get right back to you. If you have a question for Winnie, I’d be happy to pass it on to her, and she can answer it after the fact, as well. And then one final pitch is that if you’re really considering applying or are already applying to one of our programs, we have our Preview Day coming up on April … the weekend of April 5th and 6th. You can sign up for that on our website, right on the front page, if you click the visit option. But otherwise, enjoy the rest of your day, and thank you again for being with us.

Wanted: Japanese Language Professionals 

The demand (and earning potential) for professionals with Japanese language skills is significant. Top companies such as Honda, Netflix, Salesforce, Nintendo, and AFLAC are desperately seeking professionals trained in Japanese translation, interpretation, and localization management. Winnie Heh, Career Advisor, and Professor Tanya Williams of the Japanese Translation, Interpretation, and Localization Management programs will discuss this growing career field that can lead to high-earning and fulfilling career opportunities for individuals with the right language skills and training.

Wanted: Japanese Language Professionals

Brandon:

Hello, everyone. I’m Brandon, and I’m a member of the enrollment team here at the Middlebury Institute. Welcome to our spring 2018 online discussion series, where we connect you with our faculty and the directors of our innovative centers on campus.

This webinar will focus on the growing career opportunities for Japanese language professionals. Thanks so much to all of you who joined us live today. We’re glad to have you.

I’d also like to send out a warm welcome to those of you who will be watching this webinar after the fact. We know that many times zones can be a barrier for some participants who are unable to attend live, but everyone who signed up will receive a recording of this webinar session next week.

We’ll be getting started in just a few moments, but first I’d like to introduce our two speakers to everyone.

Winnie Hei is a member of our Center for Advising and Career Services. She serves a key role at the Middlebury Institute by helping to guide students through our programs so they’re best positioned for long-term success in the language industry upon graduation. Winnie received her master’s in translation and interpretation here at the Institute. Since graduating, Winnie has worked as a freelance conference interpreter, she’s taught interpretation here at the Institute, and held a variety of positions in the language service provider industry. She’s also held prominent roles for the past 25 years with Language Line Solutions, most recently serving as their vice president of transformation.

Joining Winnie is Tonya Williams, a professor in the translation and interpretation program here at the Institute. Born and raised in Japan, Tonya pursued an education and career in psychology, receiving a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a master’s in child counseling and assessment from the University of Toronto before transitioning into her career using her language skills full time. Tanya has been working as a translator for 30 years and has been teaching Japanese to English translation at MIIS since 1995, with expertise in medical, financial, legal, and technical translation.

Winnie and Tonya, thank you both so much for joining us to share your knowledge today.

Winnie Hei:

Thank you. Good afternoon. It’s great to be with you. Can we go to the next slide, please?

When I tell people about my education at Middlebury Institute, the typical image that people think of about where our graduates work is this. This is a classic image of where our alumni work. This is a picture taken when President Obama made his historic visit to Hiroshima, and indeed, his interpreter is one of our graduates.

But what we’re going to talk about today is above and beyond these very prestigious and great career opportunities serving as diplomatic interpreters. There are so many other opportunities in the industry. Next slide, please.

This is a graphic that was produced by an organization called Common Sense Advisory. This organization conducts research on the language industry, and this slide shows the growing demand in the language services industry.

As you can see, from 2009 to 2017, the industry has grown from $24 billion to $45 billion and it’s projected to grow. Just to give you a personal example of how I have seen the industry grow, when I joined the company that I worked for, Language and Solutions, when I first graduated from the Institute, it was a very small company. But in September 2016, the company was sold for $1.5 billion. I share that number with you not to impress you, but to impress upon you the fact that this is a solid and growing industry.

Let’s talk about what’s driving the growth. I want to pose the question to you. What do these tech firms have in common, other than the fact that most of them are located within 150 miles of our school, which makes it really great from a networking perspective? Every single one of these organizations has our alumni working in the organization. This is what they have in common from our perspective.

Here is some information about our Japanese alumni from our program. As you can see, about 80 percent of the alumni work in the private sector. I’d like to turn over to Tonya, to give us some examples of how our alumni are contributing to these great employers.

Tonya Williams:

In Japanese translation and interpretation, most of the market is in technology and engineering and legal, legal in the sense of patents. Again, we go back to technology. It’s really important that students understand technology and are able to read technical materials. For example, at Apple, our students are localizing the Apple’s iTunes website for the Japanese market. At Honda, they are interpreting and translating for Japanese engineers, who come from Japan, and letting them communicate with the American engineers in Ohio. In securities firms in Japan and banks, our graduates are translating securities and analysis papers for investors.

In these ways, our alumni are contributing greatly to the industry.

Winnie Hei:

I see. Japan is one of the United States’ key trading partners and also collaborates a lot diplomatically. That’s driving a lot of the demand, as well. Next slide, please.

Tonya talked about one example where our alumni are localizing websites. What is localization? When I was a student at the Middlebury Institute almost 30 years ago, the word localization did not even exist. We never even talked about it. But about 12 years ago, our school started a localization program. What is localization? Localization is the process of adapting a product or content to a specific location.

I’ll direct you to the bottom of the slide. The aim of localization is to give a product the look and feel of having been created specifically for a target market, no matter their language, culture, or location.

There are many different aspects to it. For example, you have to localize a graphic to the local market, and you have to make sure the currency is reflected and the date formatted or reflected correctly. For example, in the United States, when we express date, we express it as month, day, and year. In many of the Asian countries it’s expressed as year, month, and then day. In many parts of Europe, it’s expressed as day, month and year. When you take a website from language A to language B, if you don’t change the coding behind it, the translation may be correct, but the wrong numbers will be shown in the wrong places.

Another example, before this session started, Tonya and I were talking about a great example of localization. I was in Japan in January, and I found Kit-Kat in green wrapping paper rather than the red that we see in the United States. The Kit-Kat within the package, even the flavor is localized into matcha, rather than chocolate in the United States. That’s a great example of localization, from the flavor of the item to the packaging. There are so many examples like that. The next slide.

Localization is a growing field, so how do we prepare our students for this exciting industry? Broadly speaking, we prepare our students in the areas of translation, in business, and in technology.

In terms of translation, Tonya, can you talk a little bit about how we prepare our students for translation?

Tonya Williams:

For translation, the students generally take at least four units of translation classes, usually into their A language, and by A language, their mother tongue. Sometimes students opt to do two units of each, going into A, going into B, which is their acquired language, and they will take those translation classes with the translation majors.

Then there’s the cultural aspect of translation, which will also be taught in those classes. The students will get a familiarity with both the cultural aspect and the linguistic aspect.

Winnie Hei:

Great. To function successfully as a localizer, we need the translation expertise. Also, they need to have a good grasp of business. They get to take classes with our business majors, classes such as accounting, marketing, and financial analysis. In terms of technology, when you work as a localizer, you work very closely with the engineering team. You need to be able to speak their language, so to speak. Our students also take programming classes in order to be able to work well with the technology team. Next slide, please.

As we talk about the big industry, the industry has created so many exciting career opportunities for language lovers. Many of these opportunities did not exist when I was graduating 30 years ago, so this is really great.

I want to illustrate the different opportunities. If you look at the upper right-hand side, you see a variety of different forms of interpretation. You can interpret in different settings. Then once an organization has a sufficient number of interpreters, they need to start building the support system for the interpreters. You need to start to have the infrastructure and the personnel to recruit, to test and train, and to QA the interpreters, and you go from there. That’s pretty much the career path that I have taken, going from being an interpreter to managing various functions. When I left the private sector, I was VP of global operations.

Then on the upper left-hand side, you see a variety of ways you can use your translation skills. You can translate, you can be an editor. Also, as the world is becoming more and more hungry for digital content, a lot of times you get to work on subtitling, where you do linguistic QA of a variety of multimedia content. You can also work as a project manager. A lot of our students’ graduate work is project managers in localization projects. Because as you can imagine, whenever you have to localize content with a tight timeline, you have to make hundreds of decisions in a very short timeline, and you need somebody to really steer the boat. That’s a critical function for many organizations.

If you are interested in the technical side of the business, on the lower left-hand side, you can see a variety of engineering functions. Having some technical training in computer science and different programming languages will be very useful for you.

Those of you who are listening, if your major is not language, you love languages and you have technical backgrounds, that’s going to be a great opportunity for you. Those of you with business backgrounds, the customer support functions, such as solutions architect or a variety of customer service functions, will be great for you. This is just to illustrate there’s a whole ecosystem that needs a variety of talent with understanding of languages to support the growth of the industry. Next slide.

AI is such a big topic these days. I’m asked the question all the time, “Winnie, do you think AI is going to replace translators and interpreters?” and the answer is no.

In fact, AI will create more jobs, and here’s an example of a variety of jobs that are being created thanks to AI. Next slide, please.

I think, just to summarize, we’re seeing great potential in this industry. The industry is growing. There are a variety of different career options for those who choose to get into this variety, and we’re grateful that what we’re seeing here is the convergence of language and the development of technology.

As access becomes easier for the population worldwide, companies and organizations are increasingly looking at the population that they serve beyond their national boundaries. That’s what’s driving the growth of the industry.

Tonya talked about the fact that she teaches a variety of different classes. People ask me, “So, what do you do, Winnie?” What I do here is this: I tell my students I’m the personal coach. As they prepare themselves for entering into the professional world, I’m here to work with them to develop a variety of skills in order to position themselves well in the industry. I think that’s the end of our presentation. We’re open for questions.

Brandon:

Awesome. Thank you both so much. Yeah, we’ll move right into questions and answers at this time. It looks like we already have a few. If anybody viewing can think of some more, please make sure to write those in the Q and A comment box at the bottom of your screen. I’ll be looking out for them and I can relay them to our speakers for you.

Just to start off, to carry on exactly where you just ended off, Winnie, I understand that one of the things you do to help advise students here is to prepare them for interviews that they’re going to be going into. Maybe you can give some practical advice to our viewers who might be facing that sort of hurdle in the near future. What’s a tip that you could give to somebody who’s about to go into an interview in this industry?

Winnie Hei:

I think first thing to remember is actually, it’s easier than you think. First thing is, don’t overthink it. When you are preparing for an interview, research the industry. Research the company that you’re applying to and research the job that you’re applying for. LinkedIn is so easy these days, you can even research your colleagues. Understanding who you’ll be working with will help you prepare your mindset for the interview. That’s one.

And two, be prepared to talk about your technical skills. Not so much in technical terms, but describing how you see the technical skills can help the organization. Another thing that employers are very interested in finding out is, “Would I feel comfortable working with this person eight hours a day in the same office?” Your ability to have some self-awareness and also have awareness about your environment and being willing and able to communicate well and work in the team will become very important. Thinking about examples of how you have demonstrated those skills in the past would be very helpful to you.

Once again, don’t overthink it. Prepare by researching; you’re only as good as your research. Then, be able to talk about your technical skills in layman’s terms, and be able to use your past experience to demonstrate that you’re somebody that you will want to work with.

Brandon:

Awesome. That’s great advice. I would imagine that would be just as practical for people who might be facing some admissions interviews if they’re looking to go to grad school soon.

Tonya, I think this one is best for you. Your unique background gives you a great perspective on the benefits of studying and training in either Japan versus the United States. For anybody who’s in Japan right now watching, what benefits are there, in your opinion, to doing your localization and translation training here in the U.S. that such people should take into account?

Tonya Williams:

One of the things that especially Japanese language people should be thinking about is their ability to speak English. While it’s possible, obviously, to learn English in Japan, it’s not as easy to advance your skills beyond a certain point. It’s much easier to do that living in the United States and training in the United States.

Secondly, a lot of companies are localizing. Most of them, like Winnie said, are within a very short distance of our campus, and American companies are being much more aggressive about localization. One of the things that Japan has done in the past is to tailor-make their software, and in the United States, we’ve used prepackaged software. When we have prepackaged software, then they need to be localized instead of starting a new program from scratch in a second language. In that sense, it’s much easier to find a job in the United States than it is in Japan as a localizer.

Brandon:

Awesome, great tips there. We actually have a question coming from our friends just down the road at CSUB who are studying Japanese there. They’re asking if, for a student who already has a background in language—for example, they’re doing a BA language right now—would you recommend that they go into a more technical field when doing their master’s program to get into these sorts of lines of work in the sectors, or should they continue their language study and do translation or interpreting courses?

Tonya Williams:

I think you have to do both. One is not enough. You need to improve your language skills and continue to improve your language skills, but also, it helps a lot if you have the technical knowledge. For example, one of my specialty areas that I started out with was medicine, medical translation. That’s because I was a pre-med major in addition to a psych major in college. Just having that kind of information at my fingertips made it a lot easier for me to tackle medical translation and gave me a competitive edge.

Brandon:

Awesome, great advice there. Maybe you could build off that a little bit, Winnie. In our translation and localization management program here, I believe that they get exposed to a bit of both. Do you want to touch on what the path and exposure a student would get here, to that end?

Winnie Hei:

My understanding is, in terms of the curriculum design, we expose students to a variety of topics like economics and politics and technology and the environment. Our students are exposed to a variety of topics, and having been through the program myself, I feel like we’re also being taught how to research. Nobody’s good at everything, and so you have to be able to research quickly, and no matter how much you research, you will never be as good as the subject matter expert in the field. But you have to understand enough in order to do a good job. I feel that that kind of research ability has actually helped me a lot in my business career.

Brandon:

Great. We’ve got a question here from Linka, who’s watching. She’s about to graduate with a BA in Japanese studies and would like to know what the best steps that they could take next would be in getting into the interpretation or translation field. For example, they asked, would it be better to get related experience before applying to a place like MIIS, or just go right into it after the BA?

Tonya Williams:

Usually with a BA program, your language skills are not at a level enough to pursue TNI effectively. The best thing that I have found students do is to go to the JET program, and that is the Japanese Educational Ministry, I believe.

The JET program will allow students to live in Japan for a number of years as they get paid, and there are two courses that they can pursue depending on your language facility. If your language skills are high enough, you can work for a branch of the Japanese local government, so that will help.

If your language skills are not at that level, then the students can pursue teaching English in Japanese schools. There are a couple of different options that people can pursue, and then living in Japan for at least a couple of years before they come to the TNI program at MIIS will improve your chances of succeeding here greatly.

Brandon:

Couple of related questions coming up here. First, a follow-up to that last one. In your experience, do most professional translators or interpreters have a specialty like medicine, or law, or some sort of engineering background? Do a lot of them in the working world have that, and if so, what could somebody do to try to acquire that on their way to embarking on this career?

Tonya Williams:

Taking courses at a community college can help. A lot of my friends who were interested in doing medical translation ended up taking courses in microbiology and pharmacology, chemistry. That really helped out a lot. For finance, if you don’t have a financial background but are interested in it, then taking courses in economics and finance will help out a lot. I think taking courses at community college levels can be very helpful.

Brandon:

Great. I’m going to throw this one out there just because it’s topical, and we’ll see if you have any thoughts on it. Student is asking if you have any thoughts on participating in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in 2020, for example, as a medical interpreter, but I imagine there would be other opportunities there, as well. They’re claiming that according to the website, they’re looking only for volunteers, but did you suspect there might be some interesting opportunities that students could look into there?

Winnie Hei:

I think the volunteer interpreters are the primary interpreters that the Japanese government has decided to use, but for more high-profile interpreting, they are hiring interpreters. In fact, a lot of our instructors go to the Olympics. For example, in Pyeongchang, we had a German professor and another professor, I can’t remember what language, go to Pyeongchang and serve as interpreters. There are always opportunities there.

Brandon:

Awesome. Then, final one, I think this is just probably an opportunity for you to reiterate some of the things you said, but one of our guests is just wondering if you could expand on any other fields that might, might be growing in the Japanese to English translation and interpretation sector. It sounds like technology and media are our big ones. Is there anywhere else people should look?

Tonya Williams:

Technology is certainly one. Finance, financials are big. Investment. In fact, of all of our graduates, I think that the ones making the most money are the ones that work in finance, so if you’re interested in earning a lot of money as an interpreter or a translator, going into finance is the way to go.

Brandon:

Thank you guys so much. I think that’s going to conclude our discussion for today. I’d like to thank both Winnie and Tonya again for taking the time to speak with us, and thank you all for joining us.

A quick reminder for any of you who are considering the Middlebury Institute for your future studies, we have our next preview days that are going to be hosted just next weekend on March 9th and 10th. You can sign up to attend those by visiting go.miis.edu/previewdays. If anybody has additional questions that they’d like to ask that they didn’t get to ask today during the session, you can email us at info@miis.edu and we’ll be happy to get back to you or put you in touch with our speakers. Thank you again, everybody, and have a great day.

International Student Mobility: Why Student Exchange is More Important than Ever  

Dr. Anne Campbell has done extensive research on the intersection of international development and education. She discusses the current political climate for exchange programs, and why she encourages the U.S. to increase funding for international student scholarships.

International Student Mobility

Sustainable Development

The Policy and Politics of the Green New Deal

With climate change accelerating and the Trump administration rolling back environmental protections, the Democrats have come out with an ambitious new plan to go big on climate policy, called the “Green New Deal.” Professor Jason Scorse, chair of our MA in International Environmental Policy, will discuss both the policy and politics of this new agenda.

The Policy & Politics of the Green New Deal

Living with Climate Change: How Innovative Initiatives Could Save Our Coastal Cities  

Recent extreme weather events—including Hurricane Irma—have starkly revealed human vulnerabilities to climate change, especially in large coastal cities. What can be done—and what is being done—to increase resilience? Professor Lyuba Zarsky is spearheading research on new approaches to climate resilient coastal infrastructure. In this online discussion, she outlines and assesses initiatives by city governments, community groups, and businesses to increase resilience through investment and governance strategies.

Living with Climate Change

Are Surfers Raising Your Rent? How Environments Affect Our Economy

In this interactive discussion Dr. Jason Scorse, chair of the International Environmental Policy program and director of the Center for the Blue Economy uses recent investigations into the impact popular surfing locations have on local economies as a window into the value of economizing our natural resources in service of their protection.

How Environments Affect our Economy

Development Practice and Policy on the West Coast

Many of our students are planning to work in Washington D.C. after they graduate. Our large and influential alumni network in the capital highlight how well we prepare you for this step. Join Dr. Beryl Levinger, chair of Development and Practice Program, which includes the MPA and International Policy and Development degrees, as she explains why the Middlebury Institute is an excellent place to launch your career, whether your path leads to D.C. or another center of international activity.

International Policy on the West Coast

Maren Gauldin:

Welcome to our spring 2017 online faculty discussion series for admitted students. This is the first in a series of about seven, so we are glad to join you here for our live launch today. My name is Maren Gauldin and I am an enrollment advisor here at the Middlebury Institute and I’m joined here today by one of our favorite professors, Dr. Beryl Levinger. We are coming to you live from our downtown Monterey campus, so it’s a little bit rainy. You might not quite see the sun peeking out, but you may see some students in cars going by, and maybe even a fire truck if we’re lucky. In a moment, I will be introducing you to Beryl and giving you more of her background. She will be discussing how the Middlebury Institute degrees can prepare you for a career in Washington or even just working out of Washington.

But before we get started, I just want to briefly orient you to the platform we’re using. You should be able to find a settings menu at the bottom of your screen and a view menu at the top of your screen. And you can choose either presenter or gallery view, but we recommend the presenter view so you can see the faculty presenter in a larger screen. Otherwise, you’ll just see a lot of Brady Bunch style faces. Do keep your microphones muted, if you don’t mind, during the talk; it’s just going to help so that we can hear the presenter better, but during the Q and A, if you have questions, we will prompt you to turn on your mic at that point. We’d love to see you during the webinar so thanks for all of you who’ve turned on your videos. We are recording this session to be shared with those who signed up but couldn’t join us live today. So just know that, but it’s not for wide distribution. And without further ado, I would like to introduce you to our speaker.

Professor Beryl Levinger is the distinguished professor and chair of both our public administration and international policy development programs. Here at the campus we actually refer to them as our development practice and policy programs or DPP. You may hear Beryl refer to them that way, because of course that’s how they’re familiar here. She has served here at the Institute since 1992, and she’s also a very highly regarded development professional in the field. To give you just a very brief sample of her impressive career, last year she traveled to 11 countries working with organizations like the World Bank, UN HCR, US AID, Save the Children, and the Carter Center among many others. She’s also been a senior vice president at Save the Children and [CARE 00:02:44], and she has worked in nearly 90 countries.

She also happens to be the founder of the nationwide Peace Corp Fellows program and has worked extensively in and out of D.C. throughout her career. Although Beryl will be speaking from her experience on policy and development, the topics we cover today and the networks and experiences we’re going to be mentioning will be applicable to all of our degree programs. So I might also refer to the ways that what she’s talking about affect other degree programs as well. And with that, Beryl, I’d like to thank you so much for joining us.

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

My pleasure.

Maren Gauldin:

I’d like to kick off with a question about faculty. So based on your experience, working and teaching in D.C., how would you qualify the value of our faculty in comparison to D.C. schools?

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

Well, I think that one thing that you would be struck by the moment you come on campus is how accessible our faculty is. People are here because they love teaching and they consider it not only their job but their life’s work, their higher mission to reach out to our students. So if you come here, you’re going to be taught by full-time residential faculty, for the most part. Ninety percent of your course work is going to be done with faculty who live and work in this community and who are going to be accessible to you pretty much all the time. And that’s a little bit different than in D.C., because in D.C., the chances are that the bulk of your course work will be taken with the adjuncts who come in, teach a course, and then go about their regular work. So at first that may sound advantageous, right? I mean, you’re going to be taught by practicing professionals. But what’s interesting about our faculty is that we’re all practicing professionals as well.

So for example, I got up at, should I say?

Maren Gauldin:

Yeah, sure.

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

Four a.m. this morning to make it here because I was off consulting with the Grameen Foundation, which happens to be headquartered in D.C. actually, and working with them on strategic planning. Typically in the course of any given year, I’m probably doing six to eight projects with clients who are sometimes based in D.C., as is the case with the Grameen Foundation. But in general, that’s true for many of us. We’re working in the field, but we’re also living here and available to our students here on an ongoing basis so that really is different. One other thing that I’d like to add is that in our program, the development practice and policy program, which includes the two degrees that you mentioned, we have a faculty of 14 and seven of them are international. They were born outside the U.S. So that’s one of the ways in which our program is different. We’re residential, highly accessible, and teaching on a full-time basis, but also consulting on, in my case, nearly a full-time basis.

Maren Gauldin:

Awesome.

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

Makes for a busy day. That’s why I got up at four a.m.

Maren Gauldin:

I know, we all joke around here, we don’t know when Beryl sleeps. I also will add just something I’ve heard students say, which is that what we do have, we do have some courses taught here by adjuncts, a few, and they’re typically professionals in the field, many of them from D.C. And when they come here to teach, you actually get exposure to them in a smaller group or more intimate groups. So rather than being part of a huge class in D.C., you actually get to meet them for a weekend workshop and build a more intimate relationship. So you get a kind of unique exposure to adjuncts when they are used here.

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

In our program, we use approximately five or six adjuncts a year. They are practicing full-time professionals who are here for just a few days at a time. And I think 60 percent of them are coming out of D.C. to come onto our campus.

Maren Gauldin:

Nice, great. I’m going to move to a question about how, if you could talk a little bit about the Middlebury Institute alumni network overall, and then specifically about D.C.

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

Great. So I should say that our graduates primarily work either internationally or in the D.C. area, and there are others who work in the Bay Area or in multicultural environments for international NGOs or for local nonprofits or governments. But if I were to say, where is the largest concentration, single concentration of our graduates, that would be D.C. Now the Institute is a small and intimate community. People who are going to school here are going to school here, you know, full time. And one of the odd things, and one of the lovely things about the teaching/learning culture of the Institute is that you do a lot of group project work, a lot of client projects where you’re on a team, delivering a product of value to a client who has a problem and a challenge that’s related to your development studies objectives.

What this means is that you get to bond in a very intimate way. People are living here full time. It is a residential community, you’re working in teams. And what happens is you develop a network where half of your network is going to end up one way or another, either working for D.C.-based organizations or living and working actually in D.C. itself. And so the social capital that we’re producing here, the bonds, the connections, the trust, the affiliation, the sense of friendship and belonging are deeply profound. In many D.C. schools, the difference I think is that students are not residential and they scatter to the four winds along with most of the faculty at the end of a class. And so what happens when you graduate here is you have a very deep, thick, rich network of caring individuals who are going to be helping you with your career.

I’ll just give you one quick example, and there are many, many examples. We have a program where we place students in usually semesterlong field-based practica. You can choose more or less where you want to go, and the group that just left for the spring term placements, about half of them went to D.C. and they predominantly went to organizations that already have our alumni in them. And this is what we call the miss mafia, that there is such a commitment to helping others because every single one of our students was helped by an alum over the course of the time here. And so it’s an opportunity to pay it forward.

Maren Gauldin:

Awesome. Yeah, and just to emphasize what you’re saying about this kind of residential nature, where students live usually within typically no more than five or five to 15 minutes of travel from campus, that’s most common. So rather than commuting an hour away you know, people actually just hang out together and build that really strong network. Also, just make a couple notes about the D.C. alumni network. The president there happens to be the international program specialist for NASA, so he travels internationally for NASA. His name is Garvey McIntosh. He’s actually a very nice guy, and he hosts events typically about once a month on a Thursday, where alumni gather to do social networking and to do, you know, just social events with faculty. So there’s a very active alumni network. There’s also a D.C. networking trip that happens every spring here, and that’s where our advisors and faculty take students to D.C. You’ll see a link coming up here to describe this event, not this link, but a different link. There it is. Hopefully you can see this from our Center for Advising and Career Services. So there’s details here.

Alison, who’s actually manning our computer here, might be able to text this to you or chat it to you. But this list that you’re looking at right now is a list of the employers that our students will be visiting when they travel to D.C. Many of these are set up by our alumni, and you’ll also see that there’s a pretty wide range of options here in terms of different careers. So again, you know, Beryl is talking mostly about the development sector, but this also relates to our nonproliferation and terrorism studies program or international trade and economic diplomacy programs. So we really have a wide variety of employers that our students can go network with every spring.

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

Do we have time for me to just mention one new program that we’re launching actually this spring?

Maren Gauldin:

Sure.

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

So it is a one-week practicum that actually will be held during spring break. I’ll be taking a group of nine students who are divided into three teams of three each, and each team will embed in a D.C. organization as a consulting team. And the three organizations are Grameen Foundation, FHI 360, and a social enterprise called Root Change. They’ll be working in their organizations with a specific terms of reference document that specifies what it is that they’re supposed to do and create. Then I’ll be visiting them once a day onsite to give them whatever technical additional input they need. And then we’ll be meeting probably two times during the week in the evening for seminars, where we compare experiences. So this is an opportunity to briefly live and work in D.C., but also to make a different kind of contact that’s not a long-term contact, but that gives you a sense of what it would be to live and work in D.C.

Maren Gauldin:

Awesome. And that’s a great example of kind of the constant, innovative opportunities that we have here. I’ll just mention a few more because we want to make sure that we have plenty of time for questions, but I will just mention that if you do want to build connections in D.C. while you’re here, we have internships available. Many students take internships in either the summer, now spring break is an option, January term, and then their final semester—150 students at the Institute every year out of our 800 student body do internships in the spring. Those internships are available anywhere in the world. Just last year some of them in D.C. were, for example, our U.S. State Bureau of Human Rights, the IRS Criminal Investigations branch, Council on Foreign Relations, the Department of Defense, the Pentagon, the World Bank, Government Accountability Office, U.S. State Department, Mercy Corps. So those are just a few examples of where students had internships in D.C. last year. And we’re going to wrap up in just a moment, to bring it to questions, but could you just answer the last question about what do you think Monterey offers as a grad school location that D.C. does not? In terms of not just the way that we can also meet what D.C. schools are offering, but what do we have that they don’t have?

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

Okay, so it’s a little drizzly outside. So you can’t point to the window and say, we have beautiful weather here, but we do. We’re surrounded by beaches, hiking trails. So we talked about the importance of building social capital, building deep bonds, and one of the ways that those bonds are built are using the beautiful, natural wonders that we have for hiking and outdoor barbecues. Obviously we promote a lot of those events formally, but informally as well. We’re near Salinas. We’re very close to Salinas, about 20 minutes from here, and Salinas is an area that has many of the same kinds of problems that our students who are hoping to work in developing countries will be facing. There are challenges around poverty, employment, social integration, education, nutrition, food systems, food security, and physical security, human security as well.

We’re not very far from Silicon Valley and the hub of social innovation and social entrepreneurship, and some of our students go there. So this is an area that promotes community building, but also puts our students in very close proximity to innovation—that’s the Silicon Valley piece—and an opportunity to get hands-on practice with social change, which is the Salinas, Monterey County, piece.

Maren Gauldin:

Awesome, great. And you know, that’s also just to emphasize that you know, with the Middlebury Institute name, not only do you have this really solid network in D.C., but you also have a name that has really strong affiliations on the East Coast, you know, the Middlebury name. But then you also have our Middlebury Institute connection. So you really amplify your alumni network as well. So with that, I want to shift into our question and answer mode. Because really, we want to give you a time to chat directly with Beryl. We will be using the chat feature to kind of figure out who would like to ask a question and then we will help you turn on your mic at that point. So now for those of you who do have questions, feel free to type them into the chat box. If you feel comfortable speaking your question, just say, I have a question. We will unmute your mic. If you’d rather not do it yourself and want us to read the question, that’s fine too. You can just type it in, but now would be a great time to do that.

And in the meantime, while we’re waiting for somebody to put in a question, Beryl, anything else that comes to mind that you didn’t get to say yet?

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

Wow.

Maren Gauldin:

I put you on the spot.

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

I think that one of the most difficult decisions that anyone has to make is where should I go to graduate school and is the massive investment that I’m going to make in my graduate education, a good value proposition for me? I think that the one thing that we do better than almost anyone is integrate the academic piece and the career piece, whether it’s through academic advisement, field-based practica, or just one-on-one sessions with your faculty. There’s not a week that goes by, there’s not a day that goes by that I’m on campus where I’m not meeting with students and talking about what the next step is and their career trajectory. Just as an example, today I have two meetings already scheduled and it may be that some other students wander in with the same set of questions. But I think that our value proposition is that we’re going to work in a very intimate way with you to get you the academic and professional credentials and training that you need to make a difference in the world. And there’s nobody anywhere who’s going to do a better job with that.

Maren Gauldin:

Nice. I’ll also add something I forgot to mention—there are several short courses and actual course opportunities that can be taken in D.C. as well.

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

One of which I direct, actually.

Maren Gauldin:

One of what’s called … Oh, it looks like we have a question too. But yes, there’s one that happens during J-term that Beryl may end up being able to talk a little bit about as well. But we’ll go to the first question we have, which looks like, do you earn credit for these D.C. practicums?

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

Indeed. Yes, you do.

Maren Gauldin:

Indeed you do.

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

In fact, if you wanted to do this program that we were alluding to a moment ago, it’s got an acronym name, DPMI, which stands for program in design management, partnering and innovation. It’s a three-week certificate program that can be taken for credit or just for the certificate. If you take it for credit and then do your practicum in D.C., you will have spent a full semester in D.C. plus a little bit, about three additional weeks.

Maren Gauldin:

Yeah, yeah. And typically the practicums…it depends on which program, so for the development practice and policy program, it’s often a six-credit practicum and you would take those other eight credits that you might typically take in a semester. You would just take those in your first three semesters. So you overload a little bit on courses your first three semesters, which allows you to still get six credits, but not miss out on a lot of extra course work.

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

If I can say, it’s even easier than that. In our program, you would do DPMI for six credits and then six credits practicum, that’s 12, and if you do a J-term, at any point.

Maren Gauldin:

Right.

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

You’re finished.

Maren Gauldin:

Then you’re done, yeah. It’s great, and you actually are not just doing an internship. You are producing a set of deliverables during the internship for a client, that with your faculty you’ll have mentorship for and faculty real review. So you’re actually getting credit for what you’re producing and what you’re accomplishing, not just for, you know, having the internship by itself. Let’s see, I think we have another question coming up here and you’ll have to forgive me, I’m reading your questions from a little bit further away. Is, are these open to people in all programs? Great question. So the international trade and economic diplomacy program has a built-in semester in D.C. in which most students are doing internships, but there’s also a lot of classwork involved and networking. The practicum is available for most of, pretty much any of the duel policy degrees—nonproliferation and terrorism studies has this option. They also have a specific international organization on nonproliferation internship that’s designed a little bit for them. We also have our international environmental policy that has a semester spring option. Our international education management has a built-in practicum, so for most of our policy degrees, it’s built-in that a semester is either required or an option.

Speaker 3:

We have two questions, one [inaudible 00:20:43] President Trump [inaudible 00:00:20:46].

Maren Gauldin:

Okay.

Speaker 3:

And one about differentiating [inaudible 00:20:50].

Maren Gauldin:

Okay.

Speaker 3:

[inaudible 00:20:53].

Maren Gauldin:

Okay. I’m going to ask one of these questions versus a little simpler one to answer is, can you please speak about international professional service semester and how it differentiates from the practicum in D.C.? Would you be able to take that one, and then I’ll take the bigger?

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

Definitely. So we use the term practicum to encompass multiple experiences that include IPSS, the international professional service semester, and another program called DPMI plus, which is also a practicum. You can do an individually supervised practicum and all of these practica are either four units, four credits, or six credits, depending on what you select. So there are lots and lots of opportunities for engaging in a practicum away. I should also add that there are students who choose to do their practicum relatively nearby, including in Salinas. So we’re not limiting you in terms of what your location is for a practicum experience, rather broadening opportunities. About half of our students do the practicum outside of the U.S. and of the remaining half, who do it in the U.S., the plurality go to D.C. for it.

Maren Gauldin:

Yeah, and just to say that the different names that you see are usually subtle distinctions in either there might be a preparatory class you take before, or there might be an internship name that’s set up for your specific degree. But in essence, they’re all going to be a four- to six-month full-time working position. And then the subtleties and the names are partly internal to help us match them with different degrees. Okay. Now the bigger question. Can you please speak a bit about the … Oh, sorry. I just need to scroll up a little bit. What is the potential effect of President Trump’s policy on the diversity of [missed 00:22:52]?

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

That’s a great question. That’s a wonderful question, and I would be foolish to say that I know the answer to that or that anyone knows the answer to that because whoever it is that chooses to come here is subject to two factors. Factor number one is, can they—that means if they need a visa—can they get a visa, if they need funding, will loan mechanisms come into place? And the other is, is this a good time in the world to be studying international development and social change and activism and all the other things that are embedded into our programs? So I’m going to answer the second question, which I do know the answer to and say that whatever trends are afoot, they’re going to affect all institutions, I would say equally, not ours more than others. If anything, our student body is very diverse because California is very diverse. California is an international hub unto itself, unlike any other.

I say this as a person from the East Coast. I’m originally born and bred on the East Coast and am relatively a latecomer to California. But the diversity in the state of California is far more significant. I believe that we’re currently a minority majority state or cusping to be one very soon. But the point that I can make, and I can say this with sincerity, is there’s no better time to go out and professionally prepare yourself to do the work that you want to do around the issues that we focus on at the Institute. There’s never been a time, probably in the course of most of our lifetimes, where the world needed the skills that we can help you develop.

Maren Gauldin:

Yeah. Thank you. I can just add one more note from the enrollment side. I work with students who are applying or hoping to come, and we are watching very closely. We’re working with our students. We just got an email from the president of Middlebury regarding the institution-wide support that we’re offering as best we can. So we are going to do everything we can to continue to have the high level of diversity that we have and we’re going to advocate for our international students and faculty. So far it doesn’t look like in terms of the spring, or even next fall, we’re necessarily going to see a drastic change in our numbers and we’re doing everything we can to support our international students.

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

It’s a core value and when we talk about diversity, that includes students who are, who have lived and studied in many, many other countries and nationals of many, many other countries.

Maren Gauldin:

Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. I think we might have time for one more question and it looks like we have one here. Are students able to take advantage of some of the resources available in the Silicon Valley, San Francisco area, such as internships or seminars?

Dr. Beryl Levenger:

Absolutely. That would be the short answer. We have …

Maren Gauldin:

It’s way closer than D.C., actually; it’s just a couple hours away.

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

It’s way closer. So we have a program that looks at social innovation and social entrepreneurship and social impact investment. So social impact investment means investing in order to use capital markets and capital mechanisms, business-driven mechanisms, to address social problems. A lot of our students who are interested in this actually get placements within Silicon Valley. Additionally, we’ve had students work in Facebook, at Google, a number of smaller …

Maren Gauldin:

LinkedIn. There’s an event tonight in San Francisco at LinkedIn that one of our alumni is hosting in their cafe or conference center. I think so.

Dr. Beryl Levenger:

Yeah, an ideal, also, which is not really, per se, what we think of in terms of social technology, but is part of being embedded deeply into the tech community.

Maren Gauldin:

Certainly. And I’ll also just add that a really high percentage of our applicants come and admitted students come from both Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. So those are our two largest hubs of where people are coming from and where networks are coming from, but also where they’re heading back to. So certainly I would say that employment in both Silicon Valley and the Bay Area and D.C. and New York are probably our highest employer areas. So great.

Unfortunately, I think that, that’s all we have time for today. We would love to continue the conversation. Hopefully you’ve all been invited to the My Community space and hopefully you’ve gotten logged in there. You’ll be able to actually see all the recorded webinars from this series in that space. So if you happen to miss any of the others, you’ll be able to watch them there, and we do hope that you will join us for the next series. You should have links and invitations; you can always contact us or your enrollment advisor if you need more information about that. And thank you so much for joining us and thank you so much…

Dr. Beryl Levinger:

My pleasure.

Maren Gauldin:

…for getting up at four a.m. to drive down to join us. So with that, have a wonderful rest of your day, everyone.

The Culture of Innovation at the Middlebury Institute   

Join Dr. Jeffrey Langholz to learn about how one student and faculty collaboration resulted in a $50,000 prize and a highly successful innovative business, Water City.

The Culture of Innovation