In light of the overwhelming engagement we received following our article on Education in Localization, we decided to place a spotlight on a unique partnership that has recently developed in Russia between AKM Translations and Northern (Arctic) Federal University (Arkhangelsk, Russia).
A very unique and progressive partnership in Russia has caught Nimdzi’s eye – a partnership between AKM Translations and Northern (Arctic) Federal University (Arkhangelsk, Russia).
Over the past year, AKM Translations, in partnership with Northern (Arctic) Federal University, has created the Department of Translation Technology and Practice at AKM Translations for students of translation and interpreting. Maxim Berendyaev, the Technology and Quality Director for AKM Translations, sums up this partnership as “the most important step” for the company, and arguably, a pretty significant step as well, for the university.
Although he admits that the project has required considerable time and effort, he stresses that it has been an honor to have created the first shared department between an LSP and a university in Russia. Both the university and AKM Translations have worked closely over the past year to formalize the departmental structure, develop the cost-sharing agreement, determine the department’s policies, and decide which subjects they would focus on and teach together. By the fall of 2018, the agreement was signed, and a week later, classes began – quite the impressive undertaking in less than a year’s time.
Mr. Berendyaev is quick to point out that in general, universities are conservative in nature, but he is grateful that E. Kudryashova, the rector of Northern (Arctic) Federal University, A. Polikarpov, the head of the traditional translation department within the university, and all key players were more than ready for this partnership. There are currently four staff members within the department who focus on technology, and on the automation of translation and interpretation. While other departmental colleagues, including the head of department, Elena Kokanova, are responsible for approximately 900 teaching hours throughout the academic year, Mr. Berendyaev and Mr. Kulikov, CEO of AKM Translations, are responsible for teaching 360 hours per year and offer these classes online.
All subjects concern translation projects, computing and CAT tools, as well as classes for technologists (automation), and students will be required to take classes from the Department of Translation Technology in order to receive their Bachelor’s or Master’s. Mr. Berendyaev is also responsible for coordinating internships at private or state-owned companies. To date, AKM Translations has around 100 students already connected with the department as interns or as students enrolled in various classes. Some of the internship projects have lasted as long as six weeks and have focused on translating and editing within Memsource. Students are also conducting studies on different systems and evaluating how well they work. The department has received a lot of support from different CAT-tool providers.
Although AKM Translations cannot currently allow the students to work directly on client projects, Mr. Berendyaev is hopeful that this may be on the horizon. The company is ready to offer free and/or cost-effective translations for their clients as soon as they have enough students, project managers, and editors to make it happen.
Being that AKM Translations teaches the departmental classes online, they are in need of reliable, high-quality tools. The company is currently toggling between email, Skype, Zoom, a private Facebook group for teachers and students, as well as an academic edition of Memsource. The company is on the lookout for a developer who can help them with a platform that will allow them to house all activities in one space – student registrations, homework assignments, conferences, student conferences, classes, one-on-one sessions with students, and more.
AKM Translations will share in the costs associated with running the department in order to continue to develop and strengthen the collective vision between academia and business. Perhaps Mr. Berendyaev said it best when he stated, “the university trusts us, and we trust the university – we are making history.”
Mr. Berendyaev has worked hard to develop a positive rapport with the language services industry as a whole, and through this dedication, has developed an impressive network of translators and interpreters within Russia. He and his staff believe strongly in keeping plugged in to industry events and collectively, they attend as many conferences as they can muster, including student conferences and workshops. It is this vision and dedication that he believes got the company to where they are now.
The company first started connecting with academia about four years ago at the Nizhny Novgorod State Linguistic University. They began by providing no more than one-hour workshops on how to use Memsource and various CAT-tools. They were then invited by other universities (namely Siberian Federal University, Krasnoyarsk) to provide one and two-day workshops, which then led to participation in the “Summer School of the Union of Translators of Russia.”
AKM Translations then joined the union and were later invited to the Russian New University RosNOU, in Moscow, a private institution, where they were allotted 32 hours to teach translation technology and to explain how a translation company operates (the company also administered an exam, and still teaches students at the university every Friday morning). Now, their new department within Northern (Arctic) University offers more than 2,000 hours of instruction. Hard work and dedication certainly does pay off.
Mr. Berendyaev would love to see like-minded competitors in the language services sector reach out beyond the Russian capitals and invest in various regions within Russia. In his opinion, students in these regions need the leadership and expertise that these LSPs can provide, and he is hopeful that his company’s unique partnership with academia will be the spark they need. “I think it is a very positive example of [a successful] relationship between businesses and universities.” M. Berendyaev
AKM Translations is a mid-sized company that has been operating within the translation and interpreting space in Russia since 2002. Since then, AKM Translations has continued to grow despite the fall of the ruble against the US dollar in recent years. In fact, the company now coordinates operations among five offices, including a representative office in Sochi.
The company currently offers language services for over 70 languages and can provide translation services in almost any language pair. AKM Translations specializes in translation and language services for several industry sectors, including:
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