The Interpreter and translator trainer

Published by St Jerome Publishing
Print ISSN: 1750-399X
Publications
Trainers commonly use group work in translation classes, as it is thought to provide a beneficial learning experience for students. However, according to informal feedback from undergraduate students gathered in 2006, working in groups is not perceived by all to be a positive experience or useful method of learning. The aim of this project, carried out in 2006-2007, was to gain a better understanding of both trainers’ and students’ perspectives on – and perceptions of – group work, and assess its generally unchallenged use in the classroom, to the detriment of other methods of working. In order to gather feedback from participants, the author chose to use questionnaires and to video-record a translation class. Although the Action Research produced mixed results, the collection, analysis and interpretation of data made it possible to reflect on the processes inherent in Action Research. Methodology, power relationships, perceptions and expectations of participants are discussed, with a view to understanding the benefits and drawbacks of this type of research, and to encouraging translation studies trainers to engage in continual reflection on their practice.
 
This paper starts with defining 'theory', 'translation' and the type of training given in translation institutions. The trainers on whom the paper focuses are professional translators, and the trainees are advanced-level students. The question is raised as to whether trainers should also be translation scholars, and whether they should be cognizant with one or all of the various theories of translation. Several theories used in translator training are then reviewed. The paper finally discusses a number of theoretical principles (mostly based on the interpretive theory of translation, though some are common to several theories) and their implications for translator training. These principles enable trainers to explain to trainees the difference between language and discourse, and hence the reason why literal translation does not work at text level; the way understanding emerges from the merging of linguistic meanings with real world knowledge, and hence the necessity of documentary research; the way the text should be analyzed in order for trainees to internalize its sense; how trainees may detach themselves from the meanings and structures of the original in order to reformulate it idiomatically. Drawing on such principles, trainers can give their students a working methodology – they are able to build up a didactic progression grounded on a rational grading of texts, and to assess the work of trainees on the basis of objective criteria.
 
With the advent of new technologies, such as the Web 2.0 and the Internet of things, the consumption of audiovisual programmes, websites, video games and multimedia content has grown exponentially over the last few decades. A similar technological revolution as the one induced by the arrival of the DVD and cable TV at the end of the 20th century is now taking place with the development of cloud-based and online systems. The consumption habits of today’s audiences are also changing, favouring the use of online platforms, streaming mirrors and video on demand sites, such as Amazon Prime, Movistar+, Netflix, Vimeo, Wuaki TV and Youtube, to name but a few. In the same vein, recent advancements in translation-specific software and applications have set the ground for further changes in the ways in which translators translate and localise such texts, with memory tools, automatic speech recognition and machine translation engines making inroads in the field of AVT. The teaching methodologies currently used in translator training programmes are sometimes out of date, relying on translation theories and trends, instead of current professional practices. The use of cutting-edge technology in the translation classroom is thus limited to translation departments that receive more funding (often from well-established, powerful academic institutions) and can, thereafter, establish connections with the industry’s main stakeholders. The gap that exists between academics and professional translators, as is the case in many other professions, has also propitiated the following trend: audiovisual translator trainers are often either translators with professional experience and little research, or academics with little professional experience and much scholar research behind them. To bridge such gap, many translation departments across the globe have attempted to establish solid links with professional partners, not only with the aim of purchasing appropriate software but also of increasing the availability of internships, workshops and real-life professional experiences to translators-to-be. This volume aims to shed light on current teaching and learning practices, methodologies and training issues encountered by translator trainers who specialise in audiovisual translation (AVT) and translation technology. A special emphasis is put on the importance of cloud-based systems, since more and more of these CAT tools and platforms are now being made available to professional audiovisual translators.
 
[ABSTRACT]: The growing need to improve the quality and efficiency of translation by using technology has stimulated the practice of and research into translation technology teaching (TTT). Naturally, there is a need to analyse the state of the art and development of TTT from a quantitative perspective, because such research is still very scarce. This paper uses the bibliometric technologies, CiteSpace and VOSviewer in particular, to delineate the publication information of TTT-related research mainly in two citation databases, i.e., Web of Science (WoS) and China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), from the year 1999 to 2020. It finds that China is gaining importance in TTT-related research, that international English-language publications pay more attention to the teaching of MTPE, while Chinese-language publications focus more on corpus-based TTT, and that English publications tend to use empirical methods, while Chinese publications tend to adopt non-empirical methods. The differences between the two publication communities in research methods and focuses call for contact and exchange between the two communities. [KEYWORDS]: Translation technology teaching (TTT); bibliometric analysis; CiteSpace; VOSviewer
 
This paper presents the outcome of an action research project designed to develop a new pedagogical approach named Curriculum 2.0, after DiNucci’s Web 2.0. The project was motivated by recent developments in translation and interpreting (T/I) teaching methods and by a vision to promote a genuine student-centred pedagogy based on the crowd creation and cloud-based storage/use of students’ material, especially multimedia content. Through continuous reflection and experiments, the project team identified issues that were addressed through tailored actions until the new content was institutionalised and routines were built to enable its use for learning and teaching purposes. The various issues, actions and subsequent outcomes are discussed in detail in this paper.
 
Recent decades have witnessed the development of translator- and interpreter-training programmes at various levels worldwide. Researchers have paid increasing attention to translator and interpreter training but there is a dearth of meta-analyses of research in this field. There has been no systematic and comprehensive review since 2000. The aim of the current article, therefore, is to map the research in this field by constructing a database of publications on translator and interpreter training, covering major translation and interpreting journal articles during the period 2000 to 2012. The analysis of the database was conducted using a combination of scientometric methods, thematic analysis and corpus analysis tools. Both top-down and bottom-up thematic analyses were performed and a multilayer categorisation scheme applied. This article presents this analysis and also addresses the social-geographical distribution of the data entries, including those providing information on (co-)authorship, institution and country. A general picture of studies on interpreter and translator training since 2000 is shown. The database is intended to serve as a resource for translation and interpreting (T&I) researchers, providing them with the most up-to-date information on developments in T&I, problems with current T&I programmes and possible directions for future research.
 
In settings involving a language of low diffusion, people have traditionally invested considerable effort in learning foreign languages and translation has played a crucial role in cultural, social, technological and economic growth. Such cultures, in which translation remains a necessity when communicating with the world, are therefore ‘translation cultures par excellence’ (Cronin 2003). In such settings, a large amount of translation and interpreting for international purposes is done into the translator’s foreign language (L2 or B language), most frequently, but not exclusively, English. This makes L2 translation – and translation directionality in general – a burning issue for research and training, despite its apparently controversial status. In this special issue we want to bring to the fore these and other translation-related issues resulting from the imbalance in the status and prestige of languages that need to be addressed by translation trainers, translation researchers and technology providers. We are particularly interested in the way in which they impact on the future of translator (and interpreter) research-informed education.
 
The point of departure of this article is an immersive (avatar-based) 3D virtual environment which was developed in the European project IVY – Interpreting in Virtual Reality – to simulate interpreting practice. Whilst this environment is the first 3D environment dedicated to interpreter-mediated communication, research in other educational contexts suggests that such environments can foster learning. The IVY 3D environment offers a rajavascript:;nge of virtual ‘locations’ (e.g. business meeting room, tourist office, doctor’s surgery) which serve as backdrops for the practice of consecutive and dialogue interpreting in business and public service contexts. The locations are populated with relevant objects and with robot-avatars who act as speakers by presenting recorded monologues and bilingual dialogues. Students, represented by their own avatars, join them to practise interpreting. This article focuses on the development of the bilingual dialogues, which are at the heart of many interpreter-mediated business and public service encounters but which are notoriously difficult to obtain for educational purposes. Given that interpreter training institutions usually need to offer bilingual resources of comparable difficulty levels in many language combinations, ad hoc approaches to the creation of such materials are normally ruled out. The approach outlined here was therefore to start from available corpora of spoken language that were designed with pedagogical applications in mind. The article begins by explaining how the dialogues were created and then discusses the benefits and potential shortcomings of this approach in the context of interpreter education. The main points of discussion concern (1) the level of systematicity and authenticity that can be achieved with this corpus-based approach; and (2) the potential of a 3D virtual environment to increase this sense of authenticity and thus to enable students to experience the essence of dialogue interpreting in a simulated environment.
 
Whatever the epistemological underpinnings and the resulting pedagogies that one adopts for translator education, it is critical that one sets the learning goals adequately. After all, irrespective of whether one follows the lines of the read-and-translate methodology, constructivism or emergentism, one needs to know whether the learning outcomes truly equip translation students for their professional lives. With that in mind, a survey was conducted to investigate whether the oft-cited gap between academia and the translation industry continues to exist in two countries: Poland and Ukraine. The research focused on selected components of the models of translator competence proposed by PACTE Group and EMT. This article reports on the findings obtained and sheds light on the extent to which academics’ and professionals’ views on translator competence within and between the two countries diverge.
 
The overwhelming dominance of English as a lingua franca in the academic domain is having an insidious effect upon other languages, leading to the curtailment or erosion of their traditional scholarly discourses. Translators are often unwitting agents in this process, whether they are translating into or out of English. In the first case, market forces ensure that texts written by foreign academics need to be thoroughly domesticated to ensure acceptance by international journals, a process that sometimes involves the destruction of the entire epistemological infrastructure of the original. In the second, the prestige of the source language often means that English rhetorical patterns are calqued upon the target language. To date, little attention has been given to these matters in training translators. This paper suggests ways in which these issues may be confronted in translator training programmes. The aim is to alert trainees to the ideological issues involved in academic translation, and equip them with the linguistic, cultural and interpersonal skills to challenge dominant discourses, without losing sight of the real-world constraints under which they will be expected to operate.
 
This article presents the SONAR project (Subtitulación sOcial para proporcioNar Accesibilidad audiovisual en la univeRsidad [SOcial subtitliNg to provide Audiovisual accessibility at the univeRsity]). Conducted to assess the validity of the creation of social subtitling networks, its ultimate goal is to better understand the role that social subtitling, as a non-professional translation activity, can play in increasing access to audiovisual materials in academic environments. Following a task-based approach, 55 students from a translation module taught in the third year of the Degree in English Studies at the UNED worked online for two months and subtitled 82 videos. The videos had been selected from the audiovisual repository of the institution. The impact of this practice on the students’ general translation and foreign language competences as well as the participants’ degree of motivation for future related practices were quantitatively and qualitatively analysed. The results obtained from the experience are an encouraging starting point for the creation of similar collaborative subtitling experiences in higher education environments and confirm the potential impact of such a novel teaching approach.
 
The overwhelming dominance of English as a lingua franca in the academic domain is having an insidious effect upon other languages, leading to the curtailment or erosion of their traditional scholarly discourses. Translators are often unwitting agents in this process, whether they are translating into or out of English. In the first case, market forces ensure that texts written by foreign academics need to be thoroughly domesticated to ensure acceptance by international journals, a process that sometimes involves the destruction of the entire epistemological infrastructure of the original. In the second, the prestige of the source language often means that English rhetorical patterns are calqued upon the target language. To date, little attention has been given to these matters in training translators. This paper suggests ways in which these issues may be confronted in translator training programmes. The aim is to alert trainees to the ideological issues involved in academic translation, and equip them with the linguistic, cultural and interpersonal skills to challenge dominant discourses, without losing sight of the real-world constraints under which they will be expected to operate.
 
These days employability has not only become a veritable buzzword, but also one of the key indicators in the quality framework of Higher Education (HE) in so far as universities and degrees are regularly measured against the employability rates of their graduates and employers’ satisfaction. Accordingly, HE seems to be torn between two conflicting priorities: legitimate academic freedom and teaching autonomy on the one side and the necessary adjustment to constantly changing professional demands and job requirements on the other. Drawing on the Spanish higher education context, the article touches on issues relating to the tense balance between academic and professional practice knowledge in curricular development and the embedding of employability enhancing contents and activities into the T&I curriculum. The main purpose of the present contribution is to take into consideration the TSP employers’ view on T&I graduates' employability assets and to promote further discussion by trying to bridge the theory-practice gap and to advocate a curricular approach which allows for balancing academic subject matter and workplace skills in a way that they complement each other in a relevant and beneficial manner.
 
Concerns about poor L1 reading skills in undergraduate students have been expressed in several contexts. These skills form a basis for building robust L2 reading comprehension skills, vital for translators. This study, which is part of a larger organization-based action research study to improve L1 reading levels, aimed to explore how L1 reading comprehension skills were reflected and predicted the overall academic performance of students on a South American undergraduate translator training programme using regression modelling. Seventy-nine students from second, third and fourth year of the programme were recruited for this study. They were asked to take a standardized Spanish reading comprehension test measuring word-level comprehension, sentence-level comprehension and text-level comprehension. Also, participants’ final grades for all completed courses were obtained, as well as students’ scores in a pre-entry English test providing a baseline level L2 knowledge prior to being formally trained on English. The results showed that students’ overall grades were predicted by and correlated with lower order sentence-level reading skills, rather than higher-order text-level skills, which was found to be of some concern inasmuch as the translation process demands reading skills that go well beyond the sentence boundary. Given the impact that evaluation can have on student learning, and that the connection between reading comprehension and academic results on translation programs does not appear to have been considered in the literature previously, the study may highlight a need for other institutions wishing to improve L1 reading skills to similarly examine their summative evaluation practices.
 
Situated learning has become a dominant goal in the translation classroom: translation didactics is being developed in a learner-, situation- and experience-based direction, following constructivist and participatory teaching philosophies. However, the explicit use of situated approaches has, so far, not been the centre of attention in translation theory teaching and research training. As a consequence, translation theory often remains unconnected to the skills learned and topics tackled in language-specific translation teaching and the challenges experienced in real-life translation practice. This article reports on the results of an exploratory action research project into the teaching of academic research skills in translation studies at Master's level. The goal of the project is to develop and test possibilities for employing situated learning in translation research training. The situatedness perspective has a double relevance for the teaching project: the students are involved in an authentic, ongoing research project, and the object of the research project itself deals with authentic translation processes at the workplace. Thus, the project has the potential to improve the expertise of the students as both researchers and reflective practitioners.
 
Top-cited authors
Dorothy Kenny
  • Dublin City University
Stephen Doherty
  • UNSW Sydney
Maria Gonzalez-Davies
  • Universitat Ramon Llull
Anabel Galán-Mañas
  • Autonomous University of Barcelona
Jesús de Manuel Jerez
  • University of Granada