Learning from the experts
From a former naval engineering officer to a renowned translation critic and theorist to the head of the World Trade Organization’s Language Services, our teaching faculty is an eclectic bunch. They’re also among the top academics and professionals in their fields.
Mariarosaria Cardines studied at Naples University, with postgraduate research in Russian theatre at Leningrad University. After living in Scotland for six years she became a pluviometric refugee to Geneva. Her second degree, a DESS in Asian Studies at this university, focused on women's issues in China. She has worked for many international organizations, and is now a translator/editor with the World Meteorological Organization, working from French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Italian into English.
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.
After an abortive career in banking and a (relevant) postgraduate qualification from Central London Polytechnic in the UK, Jonathan Dearden has been a professional translator since 1990, initially at the US State Department translating Russian journalism (political harangues and military hardware), and after that at the United Nations in New York and Geneva where he specialized in human rights law, criminal justice and other technical fields such as transport and food safety. In 2007 he moved to the World Health Organization here in Geneva, where he now manages English translation and official records. His working languages are French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. At the FTI he teaches French to English legal translation.
Robert Dickinson is a translator/reviser at the United Nations in Geneva, working from French and Spanish into English. A graduate of Cambridge University, he has worked in both Spain and France, first as a teacher of English as a foreign language and later as Director of Studies of language schools. He has also worked for the Regional Council of Brittany as a European ‘ambassador’ promoting the work of the European Union among secondary and tertiary students. He started working for the United Nations Office at Geneva in 2009. From 2012-2014 he worked at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. At FTI, he teaches Spanish to English legal translation.
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.
A native of the Soviet Union, Ed Friesen owes his education and upbringing to his adoptive home, Canada. He ended up abandoning the country—and his first career as a naval engineering officer—to study philosophy in Germany, a decision understandably perceived as quixotic by his fellows. After becoming attracted to translation as an easy (!) way to make ends meet while philosophizing, he spent five years as a technical translator, working for German manufacturers but also, to vary his linguistic diet, for entertainment companies. There followed staff positions in the translation departments of European and global organizations (space and physics research, telecoms, United Nations) translating from French, Russian and German. Ed is currently the English terminologist at the United Nations in Geneva. At FTI, he teaches German-to-English translation.
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 Senior English Translator and Head of Translations at Banque Cantonale Vaudoise (BCV), in Lausanne. He is also a member of the bank’s Comité editorial, which determines BCV’s overall communications policy, and Creative Director for the bank’s 2015-2018 brand identity campaign. At FTI, Dave teaches financial/business and general translation. His research interests center on style in FR>EN financial translation, how big-picture communications issues relate to translation in business settings, and high-end translation processes. He has spoken and written widely on these issues, most notably as Distinguished Speaker at the 2010 American Translators Association Annual Conference. For more on his approach to translating, click here. 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.
Ashley Riggs was born in Hawaii and raised in California. She attended Smith College in Massachusetts before masquerading as a native French speaker to do her Master’s at the FTI (the MA program for English speakers didn’t exist at the time). Having completed her PhD in Geneva in 2014 and a postdoc (funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation) in London and Granada, she is now a research and teaching fellow. Ashley has taught a variety of courses at the FTI since 2008 and currently teaches Spanish-English translation at both the MA and BA levels, and Translation Criticism. Her research interests include literary translation, translation criticism, contemporary fairy tales, feminism and cultural representations in the news. Ashley is an avid traveler, museum-goer and yogi.
Christopher Scala grew up outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He embarked on a career in international development in Washington DC and Ukraine before discovering the field of translation. Since then, he has worked as a freelancer and held several in-house positions, including at Exane-BNP Paribas in New York, Banque Cantonale Vaudoise in Lausanne and, most recently, the International Committee of the Red Cross, where he served as head of language services. He currently co-owns a small English-language communications firm in Lausanne. Chris holds a BA in French and a BA in Russian from Pennsylvania State University, a Master’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Master’s in French Literature from New York University. Early in his career, Chris taught English in Caen, France, on a Fulbright Grant and French at NYU. Soon after moving to Switzerland, he started a bilingual outdoor sports magazine with some friends and ran it as editor-in-chief in his spare time for two years.
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 between Baltimore, Maryland, and Ogbomoṣo, Nigeria. After an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, he studied French at the University of Pittsburgh, meeting his Swiss wife Noémie in the PhD program. He taught at the Université François Rabelais in Tours, Middlebury College’s Ecole Française, and Florida State University. Jamie strongly believes in the value of living-learning programs: he was a summer-camp counselor, coordinated residential programs at the PA Governor’s School for International Studies, and directed study-abroad programs in Paris for FSU. The birth of his son Guillaume led to a reevaluation of educational policies in northern Florida and a subsequent move to Switzerland in 2011. Jamie is an alumnus of the English Unit, holding a Master’s degree in specialized translation. His freelance translation clients include the Chaplin’s World museum and the Montreux Jazz Festival.
Although she studied piano for over twenty years, Danielle Thien had long given up on the idea of a career in music. Then when she came to FTI, she met Professor Lance Hewson who, as a violinist, shared her love for classical music. Under Professor Hewson’s guidance she delved into the world of opera translation, all the while keeping her professional options open with an internship at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and a freelance contract at Banque Cantonale Vaudoise. She is now doing a PhD and working as an FTI assistant, continuing to unite her love for languages with her passion for music.
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.