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LINGUIST List 23.5133

Sun Dec 09 2012

Review: Translation; Applied Ling.: Hubscher-Davidson & Borodo (2012)

Editor for this issue: Joseph Salmons <jsalmonslinguistlist.org>

Date: 09-Dec-2012
From: Pier Toto <p.totolondonmet.ac.uk>
Subject: Global Trends in Translator and Interpreter Training
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Book announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/23/23-2834.html

EDITORS: Hubscher-Davidson, Séverine Emmanuelle; Borodo, Michał
TITLE: Global Trends in Translator and Interpreter Training
SUBTITLE: Mediation and Culture
SERIES TITLE: Bloomsbury Advances in Translation
PUBLISHER: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd
YEAR: 2012

Pier Antonio (Piero) Toto, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, London
Metropolitan University

The collection of articles was inspired by a panel on translation education at
the 3rd conference of the International Association for Translation and
Intercultural Studies (IATIS) held at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia,
in July 2009. In particular, the 12 chapters edited by Hubscher-Davidson and
Borodo focus on approaches to educating trainee translators and interpreters,
and their relevance for the job market.

The book opens with a preface by Jeremy Munday, general editor of the series
on Advances in Translation, who underlines the role of translation today as
not only an interlingual activity but also as intralingual transmission. This
has fostered the creation of several practices and subgenres within
Translation Studies which, as also explained by the editors in their
introduction, rely on interactions between distant cultures, academia, the
world of business, and international bodies, as well as approaches to training
which can be described as constructivist and holistic [pp. 1-2] and which are
dealt with in the ensuing chapters.

The book is divided into four parts: Part 1, ‘Curriculum Issues in an
International Context’, deals with the backdrop against which choices around
translator training are currently made, in light of the adoption of
translation standards, especially at European level, and current definitions
of translator competence; Part 2, ‘Global Trends in Technology for T&I
Training’, focuses on the increasing use of technology and IT tools in the
classroom, and their impact on both students and trainers; Part 3,
‘Translation, Intercultural Communication and Empowerment’, shifts the
attention from the tools to the subjects involved in the translation process
by addressing issues such as student/trainer empowerment and assessment in the
classroom; Part 4, ‘Global Perspectives on the Translation Process’, provides
an overview of translation/interpreting practices in three different
environments (namely Australia, the UK and Austria) with the aim of
highlighting current idiosyncrasies and suggesting best practices for future

In Chapter 1, “Curriculum Ideologies in Translator and Interpreter Training”,
John Kearns discusses ideologies in designing translator and interpreter
training, paying particular attention to the apparent discrepancy between
vocational training (i.e. professionalization) and academia. He highlights the
‘inevitable ideological matrix underpinning the delivery of [curricula]’ [p.
16] which poses a challenge in terms of educational planning, seeing as the
needs of the translation industry (job market and professionals) can be rather
volatile. In this respect, he presents two opposing views on translator
training, those of Federica Scarpa (2006) and Anthony Pym (2006), which show
how reconciling market-oriented technical training and academic education
remain at the heart of discussions on translator competence. He then suggests
focusing on local ‘real-world’ contexts in which training/education takes
place in order to prepare trainees for their future challenges as

On the subject of professionalization, Christina Schäffner’s chapter,
“Translation Competence: Training for the Real World”, contains an overview of
translation competence, as defined by the European Master’s in Translation
(EMT) project, and observations about of the introduction of the standard EN
15038 for translation service providers (TSPs) in Europe. The author discusses
the impact of both on the core module ‘The Translation Profession’, run as
part of three postgraduate translation programmes offered at Aston University
(Birmingham, UK), and acknowledges the benefits of cooperation between
academia and the translation industry, in particular in terms of the relevance
of translation programmes for the professional world.

Chapter 3, “The EN 15038 Standard: Is there a Washback Effect on Translation
Education?”, is the section’s last chapter. Anca Greere discusses the
usefulness of the standard EN 15038 and its pedagogical relevance, in
particular after its adoption by the Romanian Standards Association in 2006
and its translation into Romanian in 2007. Standardization is then evaluated
in terms of its impact on translation education in Romania, especially after
the redesign of a postgraduate translation programme based on that standard.
It highlights the existence of an academic-vocational hybrid, whose key aspect
is the relationship between commissioner and translator, as well as activities
such as negotiation, project management, terminology work and the translation
process proper [p. 49]. The adoption of the standard in an educational
environment has had an impact on the validation of curricula and curriculum
development, as well as enhancing the status of formal translator training.

In Part 2 the focus switches to translation technology and its applications in
the classroom. In Chapter 4, “Translation Technologies as Seen Through the
Eyes of Educators and Students: Harmonizing Views with the Help of a
Centralized Teaching and Learning Resource”, Elizabeth Marshman and Lynne
Bowker discuss training resources for translator education, identifying basic
needs and challenges through the adoption of a centralized tool, the
Collection of Electronic Resources in Translation Technologies (CERTT), to
meet specific learning outcomes included in the curriculum adopted at the
University of Ottawa, Canada. In particular, they stress the importance of
encouraging critical thinking about tools in translator education [p. 89] and
better integration of technology in translation programmes, so as to foster
transferability of skills and meet both students’ and trainers’ expectations
about the effective implementation of electronic tools in their daily routine.

Chapter 5, “Assessing Competence in Using Electronic Corpora in Translator
Training”, by Patricia Rodríguez-Inés and Amparo Hurtado Albir, deals with the
use of electronic corpora for translator training. Students are encouraged to
use such tools in order to solve translation problems whilst their competence,
defined by the authors as a ‘combination of capabilities and skills […] used
efficiently in situations with common characteristics’ [p. 97], is assessed by
employing a range of evaluation tools (learning diaries, questionnaires).
Competence is assessed for formative and summative purposes and the authors
ultimately provide useful tips for lecturers who wish to enhance their
students’ learning experience.

Chapter 6, “Subtitling and the Didactics of Translation”, by Laura
Incalcaterra McLoughlin, concludes this second part of the volume by analysing
the didactic application of Audiovisual Translation (AVT) modes in training
translators, focusing mainly on collaborative work for the creation of
interlingual subtitles. Students work with a variety of materials, namely
scripts, software programmes and their own subtitling files, as part of a
postgraduate module in AVT at the National University of Ireland in Galway,
favouring ‘collaborative learning’ [p. 138] and the creation of a ‘space for
reflective thinking’ [p. 139]. The authors suggest further research to
evaluate improvements in AVT translator training and to aid practice with
different subtitling strategies.

Part 3 opens with an essay by Valerie Pellatt on ideology and student training
in China. This 7th chapter, “Teaching and Learning the Importance of
Ideological Awareness for Chinese-speaking Trainee Translators”, outlines the
impact of ideology on Chinese students’ approaches to English translations and
highlights the peculiarities of intercultural communication in this
particular instance by explaining the characteristics of ‘official Chinese
English’ [p. 153]. This is a variant of English which is derived from
centuries of translation practice in China, and whose main traits are extreme
fidelity to the original, the use of official equivalents for specific terms
(some of which verge on excessive wordiness, with mixed results in terms of
clarity) and strategies such as explicitation, omission and addition.
Translations from Chinese into English are usually carried out and
commissioned by the producers of the source text (so-called ‘autotranslations’
[p. 150], i.e. translations which are likely to be edited by the commissioning
body). This raises issues of accountability and detachment as far as the
translator is concerned, as pointed out by Hermans (2007), and highlights the
peculiar relationship that Chinese translator trainees and professional have
with both the source and the target culture. As a solution, the author
suggests raising student awareness of source and target culture behaviours and
ideologies, so that these can be effectively transferred in translation.

In Chapter 8, “The Role of Translation in Other Learning Contexts: Towards
Acting Interculturally”, Maria González Davies discusses translation as a
language learning strategy which enhances intercultural competence and
improves general expertise. This exploratory study relies on trainees involved
in the teaching of children literature in English and explores the theoretical
framework underlining such context. The author distinguishes between
Translation for Other Learning Contexts (TOLC) and translation for the
development of professional translator competence [p. 163]. This challenges
the trainees’ views of culture and reinforces a view of translation as an
active agent of transformation, in that students are encouraged to query their
rationale behind the solutions adopted, thus stimulating discussions around
the role of translation as a learning tool for non-professional training

Konrad Klimkowski and Katarzyna Klimkowska’s case study in Chapter 9, “Towards
Empowerment in Translator Education: Students’ Opinions and Expectations of a
Translation Training Course” explores the notion of empowerment -- defined as
the ‘power to act in accordance with the knowledge and skills [developed]’ [p.
181] -- and students’ opinions, attitudes and beliefs about it in a
postgraduate translation training course in Lublin, Poland. The authors
investigate teacher and student empowerment in developing skills and
competences, thus also providing insight into the students’ level of intrinsic
motivation to learn following an empowered assessment process (mainly
peer-reviewing, with a clear indication of the relevant assessment
objectives). In the author’s view, this provides essential career building
skills for their future work as professionals.

The final part of the volume (Part 4) opens with Marc Orlando’s research on
evaluation tools used in training in different contexts to enhance students’
awareness of the practices and requirements of the translation industry. His
study, “Training of Professional Translators in Australia: Process-oriented
and Product-oriented Evaluation Approaches”, is based on the use of such tools
in the Master of Translation Studies at Monash University, the tools being
evaluation grids derived from translation and interpreting agencies as well as
the Australian National Accreditation Authority for Translators and
Interpreters (NAATI), and translator’s diaries. Orlando’s methodology relies
on the different ways of evaluating a translations, taking into account not
only previous work (Gouadec, 1989; Nord, 1997; Schäffner, 1997) but also
quality assurance as carried out in the translation industry. In this respect,
translations are seen as products in which a careful balance must be struck
between objective and subjective textual factors [p. 205]. The results show
that students’ involvement in the learning process is more effective when
evaluation tools, created from a combination of theoretical, professional and
pedagogical elements, are integrated in students’ training in such a way that
students can better familiarize themselves with the discipline and ultimately
develop useful professional skills later in life.

In Chapter 11, “Addressing the Question of Ethical Dilemmas in Community
Interpreter Training”, Łukasz Kaczmarek shifts attention to community
interpreting, stressing the importance of preparing future professionals for
ethical dilemmas and scenarios they will face. He focuses on the suitability
of current codes of conduct, such as the code issued by the National Register
of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) in the UK, in preparing future
professionals to deal with such dilemmas (e.g., intervention) in light of the
restrictions imposed by the current codes in place. He proposes a model of
community interpreter competence (CIC) based on the model of intercultural
communication competence originally presented by Spitzberg (2009), which
evaluates competence on the basis of the community interpreter’s performance
during interaction with other parties. In light of this, he suggests
abandoning codes of conduct which are potentially too prescriptive for
situations where ethical dilemmas cannot be anticipated, and suggests a more
constructive approach which grants interpreters more freedom during
interactions with clients.

The final chapter, “Tracing Strategic Behaviour in Translation Processes:
Translation Novices, 4th-semester Students and Professional Translators
Compared”, focuses on the notion of strategic competence, i.e. the rationale
behind translation strategies as implemented by three different groups: a
first group, made up of 12 translation students at beginner level; a second
group, composed of the same students in their 4th semester in the BA programme
at the University of Graz (Austria); and a last group, consisting of 10
translation professionals, all with at least 10 years’ experience. Their
strategic behaviour, defined as behaviour showing awareness of the
requirements of the target text in order for it to be a good match to the
relevant source text [p. 241], was analysed by submitting a set of texts for
translation (ranging from popular science to operating manuals) and by
implementing a series of tools (mainly electronic) to record their speed and
thought process. Problems in the translations were mainly classified according
to comprehension and production, with a third category being a combination of
these two. The results obtained showed that the professional translators were
more aware of coherence in the source text and therefore adopted more
strategic/acceptable solutions, based on other indicators within the text.
However, despite adopting strategic behaviour they did not produce target
texts which could be submitted to the client without final revision. Amongst
the possible reasons, the author lists the relatively limited feedback which
translators receive on their jobs, thus preventing them from continuously
developing their competence, but also the lack of familiarity with the text
genre and/or the differences in the translation approach adopted (i.e. whether
function- or equivalence-based).

The volume presents an interesting and multifaceted picture of current trends
in translator and interpreter training against the background of the Bologna
process, and highlights practices adopted by academics around the world in
dealing with the challenges of developing competence in the classroom and in
everyday situations. Regardless of authors’ geographical location and the
local implications of their studies, the practices investigated are
immediately recognisable as familiar to trainers around the world.

The chapters are organised in a way that provides a macro- to micro-level
perspective of the practices under discussion, from standardization to
ideology, to classroom-based activities, covering a range of issues which have
been dealt with coherently and which may be of interest for trainers and
scholars alike.

Despite the title, somewhat more essays focus on translation rather than
interpreting. Considering the implications that the adoption of IT tools is
having on the delivery of translation programmes at university level, as well
as the changes to the nature of the professional profile of the translator as
a consequence of this (Pym, 2012), it would have been interesting to see
further indications of what scenarios are currently being developed around the
world for trainers involved with translation environment tools
(TEnTs)/translation memories (TMs), machine translation (MT) or
voice-recognition software for interpreting. This could perhaps be explored in
a future volume as part of the same series, which could also further look into
the use of audiovisual translation (AVT) in language training, for example, as
already emphasised by Incalcaterra McLoughlin’s contribution.

Nevertheless, the volume is a welcome addition to Translation Studies and
sheds very refreshing light on common global approaches to the teaching of a
profession which at times is seen as endemically fragmented and not
universally recognised as a true profession.

Gouadec, Daniel. 1989. Le Traducteur, la traduction et l’entreprise. Paris:
AFNOR Gestion.

Hermans, Theo. 2007. The Conference of the Tongues. Manchester: St. Jerome.

Nord, Christiane. 1997. Translating as a Purposeful Activity. Functionalist
Approaches Explained. Manchester: St. Jerome.

Pym, Anthony. 2006. Eppure … A reply to Federica Scarpa’s reply. Paper
presented at the conference Tradurre: professione e formazione, Università di
Padova, Italy, 6-8 April 2006.
http://usuaris.tinet.cat/apym/on-line/training/Pym_Reply_to_Scarpa.pdf (22
September 2012)

Pym, Anthony. 2012. Translation skill-sets in a machine translation age.
http://usuaris.tinet.cat/apym/on-line/training/2012_competence_pym.pdf (22
September 2012)

Scarpa, Federica. 2006. Some issues in specialist-translator training: A reply
to Anthony Pym. Paper presented at the conference Tradurre: professione e
formazione, Università di Padova, Italy, 6-8 April 2006.

Schäffner, Christina. 1997. Skopos theory. In M. Baker (ed.) Encyclopedia of
Translation Studies. London: Routledge.

Spitzberg, Brian H. 2009. A model of intercultural communication competence.
In L.A. Samovar, R.E. Porter and E.R. McDaniels (eds) Intercultural
Communication: A Reader (12th edn). Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning,

Piero Toto is Lecturer in Translation at London Metropolitan University. His
main field of specialisation is translation technology and training, in
particular electronic tools, information and technology management for
translation, web-based resources for translation and localisation. He has
extensive experience as both in-house and freelance translator and is actively
engaged with industry partners and translation stakeholders in the development
of best practices. His publications include translations into Italian and
articles on masculinity, queer studies and translator training.
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