Learning from the experts
From a former naval engineering officer to a renowned translation critic and theorist to the head of English translation at the International Labour Organization, our teaching faculty is an eclectic bunch. They’re also among the top academics and professionals in their fields.
Having studied sociology rather than languages as an undergraduate, Stuart Coe was nonetheless “recruited” for the programme by FTI students who thought he had a great gift for languages. They were right: he is now an editor at the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, having previously worked as a translator at a bank, the UN and the ILO. Stuart’s masters thesis was on translating wordplay and puns, and he continues to bring his highly developed sense of the sheer fun of playing with language(s) to his work at the Red Cross and his teaching at FTI, where he joined the Faculty in 2013.
Melissa DunLany grew up in South Carolina and has been a Genevan since 2009. She holds a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and is an FTI alumna, with a Master’s degree in specialized translation. Early in her career, she was a technical writer for a software company. She currently works as a freelance translator and editor for various organizations. At FTI, Melissa teaches a Master’s class in specialized writing and an American culture & communication class for Bachelor’s students. Her research interests, leftovers from her doctoral dissertation on the aesthetics of trash, include the relationship between writing, translation, and waste.
Ed Friesen fell into the language cauldron as a baby: he was born into a German-speaking community in the former Soviet Union, where he started his schooling. His family then moved to Canada, where he completed an engineering degree and went on to serve in the navy. He spent a happy couple of years dabbling in philosophy, linguistics and literature in Germany, before moving on to translation full-time. Ed has worked as a linguist for manufacturers and international bodies in domains as diverse as space exploration, fundamental physics, human rights and climate change. A five-year excursion into the fascinating world of terminology at the United Nations was followed by a return to the world of technical translation. He now teaches German-to-English translation at the Faculty and works as a translator and reviser at the International Telecommunication Union.
Alexandre Guigue completed his Master’s at the Université Pierre-Mendès France (Grenoble II) and received both his Bachelor’s and PhD from the Université Savoie Mont Blanc. He is an associate professor and the associate head of the Faculty of Law at the Université Savoie Mont Blanc. His areas of interest include constitutional law, public finance law, comparative studies, legal theory and legal translation. He is a co-founder of Jurisprudence Revue critique, a legal journal that is aimed at creating a critical legal movement in the French-speaking world. In 2020, he published a book on the UK's public finance law (Bruylant). At FTI, he teaches two courses: a theoretical and comparative introduction to law with a special focus on the common law system, and a course on the sources of law in common law countries.
Lance Hewson is an Emeritus Professor of the English Unit. A graduate of Oxford, Université de Provence and Université Paul Valéry (Montpellier), Lance has held teaching posts in Aix-en-Provence, Paris, Montpellier, Toulouse, Texas and Geneva. In addition to French, Lance works with Croatian and German. His research interests include translation criticism, literary translation, creativity in translation, translating culture, and translation and adaptation. He is the author of one and co-author of two books on translation, and has written many articles and book chapters on these and related topics, such as the role and importance of explicitation, implicitation, addition and elimination, the problems posed by concepts used in translation studies and the challenges of international English when considered from the translational perspective. He is a sought after conference speaker and guest lecturer, with recent keynote presentations given in Limoges and Avignon, and guest lectures at Princeton and University College London. Lance served as Dean of the Faculty from 2005 to 2008 and 2010 to 2014. You will often find Lance listening to classical music, or playing the violin as leader of a string quartet.
David Jemielity is Vice President, Head of Translations and Senior English Translator at Banque Cantonale Vaudoise (BCV), in Lausanne. He is also a member of the bank’s Comité éditorial, which determines BCV’s overall communications policy, and since 2015 has been creative director and overall project lead for the bank’s brand identity advertising. At FTI, Dave teaches masters-level classes financial and general translation in the English Unit. He also co-teaches a faculty-wide class on how you create brand communications and then “transcreate” them into other languages and cultures. Dave has spoken and written widely on translation in corporate settings and “high-ambition” translation processes, most notably as Distinguished Speaker at the 2010 American Translators Association Annual Conference, Keynote Speaker at the European Commission’s 2019 annual translation conference, and Keynote Speaker at the 2019 Mediterranean Translators and Editors Association Conference. A native of Indiana, Dave studied philosophy and English literature at Amherst College (BA) and Oxford University (MPhil). He qualified for and raced in the European Ski-Mountaineering Championships in 1997 and 2000 and occasionally translates and writes on mountain-sport subjects.
Danny Kutner, from New York, has been translating and revising at the United Nations in Geneva since 2006. He previously worked for 10 years at the ICRC and 2 years at the IPU as editor and translator/reviser; he also held numerous short-term translation and précis-writing appointments, including at ICAO, ITU, UNOV, WHO, UN Headquarters, UNOG and the ILO.
Danny obtained a B.A. in Russian language from McGill University before receiving an interpreters’ diploma from the University of Geneva, working from French and Russian. He has a passion for languages and has studied Spanish and Italian and has added Chinese to his language combination. He considers his greatest achievement to be his kids.
Susan Pickford is head of the English unit. She was born in Britain and grew up in Kenya, making Swahili her first foreign language. She fully intends to return to it one day. In the meantime, she translates from French and German, mainly for museums, cultural institutions and university presses. She previously taught at the Sorbonne after graduating from Oxford and completing a PhD in comparative literature at the University of Toulouse. Her research focuses on the history and sociology of translators, mainly in the literary sector, often in dialogue with book history. She is currently working on a book-length study of literary translators in nineteenth-century France. When she is not at work, she enjoys running and reading voraciously.
Kathryn Rowan began her career in publishing and interned at the European Commission in Brussels before moving to Geneva to study for a Master’s in specialized (legal) translation. She has worked as a freelance translator at the International Labour Organization, the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization, as well as at the United Nations, where she is currently the English terminologist. A graduate of Oxford University, Kathy enjoys running, hiking and cycling; sunny days on the ski slopes; and travelling widely. At FTI, she teaches Spanish to English legal and institutional translation.
James (“Jamie”) Tarpley is the English-language translator for the University of Geneva as well as an instructor in the English Unit. He was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and grew up in the US, UK, and Nigeria. After an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, he completed a PhD in French Literature at the University of Pittsburgh. He has taught at the Université François Rabelais in Tours, Middlebury College’s Ecole Française, and Florida State University, where he also directed study-abroad programs in France. Jamie is an alumnus of the English Unit, holding a Master’s degree in specialized translation. Jamie was the English translator for the Montreux Jazz Festival from 2012-2020.
Danielle Thien hails from Vancouver, Canada. She obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and French from the University of British Columbia, before moving to Geneva to do a Master’s in Translation. After an internship at the International Committee of the Red Cross and a freelance contract at Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, she was hired by the FTI as a PhD assistant. In the summer of 2022, she defended her thesis entitled “The Literary Genealogy of an Opera Libretto: Translation, Adaptation and Fidelity in Berio’s Otello”. In addition to her professional and academic activities, Danielle is an active musician and writer. She plays the drums and piano, and has published several short stories and nonfiction essays in lit mags in Canada and the US. She is currently working on her first book-length manuscript.
Rosie Wells is a British translator working from French and Spanish into English. She teaches a number of courses in English and translation at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels. After obtaining a Master’s in Translation from FTI, she worked as a senior translator at Banque Cantonale Vaudoise in Lausanne for nine years. She then went on to become a full-time freelance translator. In addition to working for a number of international organizations in Geneva, she now runs a small translation and communications company with a colleague.
How to Apply
Standards of foreign-language and writing-skills assessment vary widely from country to country. This is why all applicants are required to sit for entrance exams. The exams are held in Geneva and a few other selected cities around the world. Successful applicants come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but one thing they have in common is strong knowledge of French and/or Spanish and exceptional writing skills in English.