Frequently Asked Questions regarding courses


What is the difference between an "On-site", "On-line" and "Hybrid" course?

Each course listed is executed in one of three possible formats: on-site, on-line or hybrid

  • On-site: course will be in a computer lab or lecture hall at a single location in a traditional 6-12 week format or a week long intensive. Students must be able to attend classes at the physical location listed.
  • On-line: course uses the same collaborative technology that most major companies and academic institutions use today for on-line meetings and “virtual” classrooms. You will meet the instructor and all your classmates in an on-line forum via this technology. Before each class you will be emailed attendance information which will enable audio and video feeds for class. Students can attend from anywhere in the world if they have ready access to a high-speed internet connection.
  • Hybrid: course will include a combination of on-line and on-site sessions. Sessions that are less technically demanding are conducted on-line. Those sessions that require full hands-on instruction are compressed into a few consecutive, 6-hour days in a computer lab. On-line sessions can be accessed from anywhere in the world, while on-site sessions require physical attendance on location.
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How do I register

Please register at least a week in advance of the first session by sending an email to the contact person listed at the bottom of a course description. Indicate:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • A phone number(s) at which you can be reached
  • The email address at which you prefer to be reached
  • Your source and target languages
  • For "On-line" and "Hybrid" designated classes only, please note your computer operating system:
    • "Windows" or "Mac" and version (e.g., Windows XP, Vista or 7; Mac 10.4 "Tiger", 10.5 "Leopard", 10.6 "Snow Leopard")

You will then be sent additional information for the course selected including payment information.
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What if I need to drop out early, or I decide after the first class that I don't want to continue?

Please get in touch with the contact person listed in the course description to find out the refund policy. Depending on which institution is offering the course, the format of the course and the duration, the refund policy will differ.
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How many students are allowed in a class?

Typically from around 14-18 depending on the course offered. Note that classes can fill up quickly and you should register as soon as possible because space is limited. If in the unfortunate event that a class does not run due to low attendance, you will be granted a full refund of any deposit or registration fees.
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How much of a time commitment are your courses outside of class?

In order to really get the most out any course Jon Ritzdorf leads, you should plan to spend about 2-4 hours on homework per session. Obviously, your actual time spent can vary depending on your current level of computer skill, familiarity with the subject and how far you personally want to take a particular assignment. For all classes, you should be committed to putting in the extra time needed to practice outside of class in order to get the most out of your learning investment.
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What computer skills do I need?

You must be a strong user of Microsoft Windows. At the minimum you need to already know:

  • How to create, rename and move files and folders
  • How to save a file to a particular location or folder and remember where you saved it
  • How to navigate your hard (C:\) drive
  • How to navigate folders in a directory/folder tree
  • How to download files off the internet

You don't have to be a master of computing, but if you are not comfortable with basic computing skills, you will struggle. Basic computer skills for Windows are outlined at
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Do I need to buy additional software or materials for the class?

All the tools and applications we are going to be using in the course are either a) preinstalled b) on a standard Windows operating system or c) can be downloaded for free off the web (some as time-limited trials).
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Computer Hardware

Do I need to bring my own computer to on-site classes or sessions?

No, you do not. Full-service computer labs with an instructor terminal, LCD overhead projector and all required software preloaded onto the machines will be provided.
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What kind of computer/internet connection do I need for on-line classes?

You don't need a super-fast, completely up-to-date computer. However, I would recommend a system that isn't more than 3 years old. Since we will have on-line meetings with live demonstrations over your internet feed, it is more essential that your computer have a high-speed internet connection. If you have concerns about your computer or home setup, send an email to Jon Ritzdorf (
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I only use a Mac. Can I attend the classes?

If you are an avid Mac user and do not have a PC, be advised that the large majority of translation technology software out there is still only available for Windows. That said, if you use Boot Camp on your Mac (which will allow you to boot your Mac with the Windows operating system) or if you are already a strong user of Parallels Desktop, you should be OK.
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Are your classes language-specific?

No. All courses are taught without any bias towards a particular language. I have had students with language backgrounds from Arabic to Swahili with all languages in between.
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Why don't you offer everything on-line?

Certain concepts are simply not able to be grasped in-depth via an on-line format. The mantra of the Ritzdorf Academy is to "make the complex simple and fun"...for some skills (particularly those requiring technical acumen) this goal can only be realized in a traditional classroom environment. Where possible "hybrid" courses are available which allow for the basics to be taught on-line, with more complex content reserved for 1-3 days of consecutive on-site instruction. For some, I understand that on-line courses are the only option. Others feel the quality of instruction is worth the trip for intensive on-site classes or full-day sessions (many make a small vacation out of it!).
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Jon Ritzdorf teaching classes Lecturing during a typical class

What students are saying

He made us all feel good about a seemingly boring and difficult topic and we all learned so much.

A wonderful class — very helpful, both in terms of CAT-tools, computer usage in general, and self-confidence.

Truly a gifted instructor: knowledgeable, thorough, and with the patience of a saint.