Our Faculty

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.

Robin Halle

Robin Halle is Head of Language Services and Chief of English Translation at the World Trade Organization (WTO), which deals with the global rules of trade between nations. He leads a team of 44 translators, five interpreters and six translation support staff. Previously, Robin worked as a freelance translator for various organisations and as a field officer for the UN Refugee Agency. He also spent five years as Deputy Director of a Swiss Company specialized in marketing in the USSR. Robin holds degrees in History and Russian Studies from Tufts University, a certificate in Russian Studies from Leningrad State University, and a degree in translation from the University of Geneva. He teaches Spanish to English economic translation.

Mariarosaria Cardines

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.

Lance Hewson

Lance Hewson is head 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. He teaches a general French-English translation workshop and a translation criticism course, and also regularly teaches translation theory seminars. When he is not at the University, Lance is often listening to classical music, or playing the violin as leader of a string quartet.

Jonathan Dearden

After an abortive career in banking and a (relevant) postgraduate qualification from Central London Polytechnic in the UK, Jonathan 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.

James Tarpley

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.

Ian MacKenzie

Ian is a former English language teacher – on the American Language Program, Columbia University (briefly), and in three different faculties at the Université de Lausanne – and now a late-onset linguist and translation teacher. At FTI he teaches French-English translation and courses on translation theory, the history of translation, the English language, and intercultural communication. He has written books about literary interpretation and pragmatic linguistics, and English as a lingua franca, as well as a bunch of best-selling English language teaching coursebooks about which he is insufferably smug.

Ed Friesen

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.

David Jemielity

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 or 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

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 FTI (the MA program for English speakers didn’t exist at the time). Having completed her PhD in 2014, she is now a researcher and lecturer, and co-coordinates the Virtual Doctoral School. Ashley teaches Spanish-English translation at both the MA and BA levels, English for non-native speakers, and sections of Translation Criticism and Translation Theory. Her research interests include literary translation, translation criticism, contemporary fairy tales, feminism and representations of France and Switzerland in English-language news. Ashley is an avid traveler, museum-goer and hiker, and a mediocre but keen skier.

Alexandre Guigue

Alexandre Guigue received his Master’s from the Université Pierre-Mendès France (Grenoble II) and both his Bachelor’s and PhD from the Université de Savoie. He is an associate professor and the associate head of the Faculty of Law at the Université de Savoie. 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. At FTI, he teaches two courses: a theoretical and comparative introduction to law, and a course on legal concepts and the challenges of legal translation.