With the exception of small family-run businesses, practically every company in Hong Kong needs translators and interpreters. 'They are needed across all industries,' says Polytechnic University's Professor Chu Chi-yu. 'Most companies have websites, and they have to be bilingual. Promotional materials also have to be bilingual.' The problem is that many of the people called upon to translate or interpret don't have any formal training. There is an assumption that because you are bilingual, you should be able to perform these tasks. But it is not always that simple. 'Students come to us because they have to do translating or interpreting in their jobs, but most have not had any formal training,' Chu says. Baptist University launched a master of arts in translation and bilingual communication in 2008 in response to the increasing demand for professionals with an ability to communicate across languages and cultures. 'We strive to create a coherent, comprehensive and flexible programme that caters for the different learning needs and career aspirations of students,' says Dr Yau Wai-ping, director of the MA programme in translation and bilingual communication. 'We strive to help students become an inquirer, a thinker, a communicator and a risk-taker by encouraging them to actively participate in class and by organising cultural outings that give them a flavour of Hong Kong as a cultural hub,' Yau says. The Chinese University (CUHK) launched the master of arts in translation in 1984, the first of its kind in Hong Kong. Aimed at university graduates with a good command of Chinese and English, and who want to pursue of career in translation or language, it has attracted a diverse ethnic and cultural mix of students. 'The diverse occupational backgrounds of our students also help them understand the operations of other professions and their language use,' says Professor Jason Gleckman, director of the MA programme in English (literary studies), CUHK.