Thesis Translation: Why? How? When?

Why thesis editing and translation is something you need to think about now

Female academic writes her thesis

If you are a graduate student or a postdoctoral fellow at a university outside of the English-speaking world, chances are that you have spent some time thinking about when and whether to translate your research into English. In the humanities and the sciences alike, English is the dominant language of academic scholarship, and few would doubt that there are enormous advantages to producing journal articles and books in English. What younger scholars-in-training increasingly realize is that they also have good reasons to consider taking their first scholarly steps in English, even before their first academic article is published. Indeed, with wise use of thesis translation or thesis editing services, graduate students can get a head start in some very important ways.

Why produce a thesis in English?

Unlike a book or a journal article, a thesis or dissertation only officially needs to be accepted by your university department or your committee. This prevents some graduate students from ‘thinking big’ about the reach of their thesis or dissertation. Many universities outside of the English-speaking world offer the option of submitting a thesis in English, yet some graduate students don’t consider the option seriously. Here are a few reasons why it is worth doing so:

  • Wider audience for your thesis itself: While a thesis is not officially a ‘publication’ in the way a book or journal article are, in the 21st century your thesis will be as widely accessible to scholars globally as many academic journals, through ProQuest and other electronic repositories. Scholars looking for the latest research in your field will be much more likely to find – and use – your work if it is available to them online in a language that they can read.
  • Future applications: If you are writing an M.A. thesis, chances are that you are thinking about applying to doctoral programs. If you are finishing a doctoral dissertation, you might be thinking about post-doctoral fellowships. Whatever your next step, the application process is likely to require submission of a writing sample. If your best research is already in English, you will be able to use it as part of your application for most programs worldwide.
  • Future publication: Of course, most young scholars aspire to eventually publish their research in book or article form. If your thesis is in English, you will have a much wider range of publishers and journals to choose from. And once you are published, your work will be accessible to a wider range of readers.

Thesis translation: How and When?

Convinced? If so, the next question is when and how to go about translating articles into English. There are three main options:

  1. Thesis Editing: write it in English, then get it edited. If you have good English, you might decide to write your thesis or dissertation in English from the outset. If your supervisor and department give their blessing, this option might be the most efficient. Once your work is completed, you can employ thesis editing services to ensure it has the highest level of polish and clarity.
  2. Thesis translation before submission. Perhaps you are most comfortable writing in your mother tongue, but still want the advantages of a thesis in English. If so, you can employ thesis translation services as you go along – perhaps on a chapter-by-chapter basis. If your university gives permission, you may be able to submit the English translation as the official version of your thesis.
  3. Translation after acceptance. Even if your thesis needs to be submitted to your university in another language, it is never too late to produce an English version. When translating an already-accepted thesis into English, you might choose to think about it already as a book manuscript draft (or drafts of a series of articles). In fact, you might even want to edit and alter the original version before sending it for translation, in order to tailor it to your desired publishing house or journals.

In short: A scholarly output in English can be of great benefit, even at the earliest stages of an academic career. And there are many ways to make it happen!

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