GPTI 2020 Thesis Forum: Thoughts from the Presenters
It was 8:45 a.m. on a lazy Friday morning. The day had just begun for many, but not for the participants of the 2020 Thesis Forum, who were already slowly filing into Conference Room 1 in the College of Liberal Arts. The participants entered the room with a knowing smile — in a short while they would take the stage (podium really) and present their thesis to an online audience of about 20. But they could worry about that later. First, some catching up with peers they hadn’t seen in a while was in order (while practicing social distancing of course!)
We spoke to four participants regarding their experience at the Thesis Forum, namely Christina and Sarah from the interpreting track as well as Bernie and Terry from the translation track. Here’s what they had to share:
Q: What was the most challenging aspect of preparing for the Thesis Forum? How did you overcome this challenge?
Bernie: To even begin writing is the hardest part. I had read the text I was analyzing and reviewed many papers in preparation, but I just couldn’t bring myself to start writing! The only way to overcome this was to just start writing and embrace the many different ideas that came to mind.
Sarah: Making the presentation slides simple and succinct might have been the most challenging part of preparation. Luckily, I had someone who was willing to criticize my lousy slides and tell me blocks of text were illegible to the audience. While I knew this was a problem, as a presenter, I got lost in so many trivial details I wanted to share or I thought I had to share.
Q: Over the course of preparing for and presenting at the Forum, what would you say you have learned, realized, or now understand better?
Christina: When presenting our research to an audience, so we should do our best to communicate the research to the audience in a way that’s most comprehensible to them.
Terry: Thanks to my commentator’s feedback, I can now develop my thesis in a more constructive way. It seems to me that I did not pay attention to some context in my writing of thesis.
Q: What is the best advice you have gotten while writing your thesis and preparing for the Forum? What advice do you have for those planning to present at next year’s Thesis Forum?
Christina: This is perhaps not advice but just something learned from experience: just keep going, even when you want to give up. Especially when you want to give up.
Bernie: My instructor and commentator shared many valuable insights but the greatest takeaway has to be the notion that translation doesn’t just happen. The translation process is affected by many external factors, and these factors should be taken into consideration when discussing translation. If you haven’t decided on what you’d like to research, I would suggest finding your answer in the details of your daily life, e.g. in the books you read or in class.
Terry: Concerning the topic of the thesis, it’s most important to write something you are interested in. My instructor told me that the writing of thesis is like building a relationship with your lover. As long as you are passionate about it, sooner or later you will make it.
Sarah: The best advice I’ve received while writing my thesis is that I have to keep asking myself whether I have gathered enough evidence to support each argument so that the thesis is based on academic integrity. Of course we only have so much time, so it’s impossible to get down to every detail. So I guess the best way to address the integrity issue is to admit that inference is not reality, and that limitations do exists.
All in all, the forum was a fruitful one. We wish all participants every success in developing and presenting their thesis, and look forward to the next Thesis Forum.
See you in 2021!