LINGUIST List 23.5133

Sun Dec 09 2012

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

Editor for this issue: Joseph Salmons <>

Date: 09-Dec-2012
From: Pier Toto <>
Subject: Global Trends in Translator and Interpreter Training
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Book announced at

EDITORS: Hubscher-Davidson, Séverine Emmanuelle; Borodo, MichałTITLE: Global Trends in Translator and Interpreter TrainingSUBTITLE: Mediation and CultureSERIES TITLE: Bloomsbury Advances in TranslationPUBLISHER: Continuum International Publishing Group LtdYEAR: 2012

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

SUMMARYThe collection of articles was inspired by a panel on translation education atthe 3rd conference of the International Association for Translation andIntercultural Studies (IATIS) held at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia,in July 2009. In particular, the 12 chapters edited by Hubscher-Davidson andBorodo 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 serieson Advances in Translation, who underlines the role of translation today asnot only an interlingual activity but also as intralingual transmission. Thishas fostered the creation of several practices and subgenres withinTranslation Studies which, as also explained by the editors in theirintroduction, rely on interactions between distant cultures, academia, theworld of business, and international bodies, as well as approaches to trainingwhich can be described as constructivist and holistic [pp. 1-2] and which aredealt with in the ensuing chapters.

The book is divided into four parts: Part 1, ‘Curriculum Issues in anInternational Context’, deals with the backdrop against which choices aroundtranslator training are currently made, in light of the adoption oftranslation standards, especially at European level, and current definitionsof translator competence; Part 2, ‘Global Trends in Technology for T&ITraining’, focuses on the increasing use of technology and IT tools in theclassroom, and their impact on both students and trainers; Part 3,‘Translation, Intercultural Communication and Empowerment’, shifts theattention from the tools to the subjects involved in the translation processby addressing issues such as student/trainer empowerment and assessment in theclassroom; Part 4, ‘Global Perspectives on the Translation Process’, providesan overview of translation/interpreting practices in three differentenvironments (namely Australia, the UK and Austria) with the aim ofhighlighting current idiosyncrasies and suggesting best practices for futuretrainers.

In Chapter 1, “Curriculum Ideologies in Translator and Interpreter Training”,John Kearns discusses ideologies in designing translator and interpretertraining, paying particular attention to the apparent discrepancy betweenvocational 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 theneeds of the translation industry (job market and professionals) can be rathervolatile. In this respect, he presents two opposing views on translatortraining, those of Federica Scarpa (2006) and Anthony Pym (2006), which showhow reconciling market-oriented technical training and academic educationremain at the heart of discussions on translator competence. He then suggestsfocusing on local ‘real-world’ contexts in which training/education takesplace in order to prepare trainees for their future challenges asprofessionals.

On the subject of professionalization, Christina Schäffner’s chapter,“Translation Competence: Training for the Real World”, contains an overview oftranslation competence, as defined by the European Master’s in Translation(EMT) project, and observations about of the introduction of the standard EN15038 for translation service providers (TSPs) in Europe. The author discussesthe impact of both on the core module ‘The Translation Profession’, run aspart of three postgraduate translation programmes offered at Aston University(Birmingham, UK), and acknowledges the benefits of cooperation betweenacademia and the translation industry, in particular in terms of the relevanceof translation programmes for the professional world.

Chapter 3, “The EN 15038 Standard: Is there a Washback Effect on TranslationEducation?”, is the section’s last chapter. Anca Greere discusses theusefulness of the standard EN 15038 and its pedagogical relevance, inparticular after its adoption by the Romanian Standards Association in 2006and its translation into Romanian in 2007. Standardization is then evaluatedin terms of its impact on translation education in Romania, especially afterthe redesign of a postgraduate translation programme based on that standard.It highlights the existence of an academic-vocational hybrid, whose key aspectis the relationship between commissioner and translator, as well as activitiessuch as negotiation, project management, terminology work and the translationprocess proper [p. 49]. The adoption of the standard in an educationalenvironment has had an impact on the validation of curricula and curriculumdevelopment, as well as enhancing the status of formal translator training.

In Part 2 the focus switches to translation technology and its applications inthe classroom. In Chapter 4, “Translation Technologies as Seen Through theEyes of Educators and Students: Harmonizing Views with the Help of aCentralized Teaching and Learning Resource”, Elizabeth Marshman and LynneBowker discuss training resources for translator education, identifying basicneeds and challenges through the adoption of a centralized tool, theCollection of Electronic Resources in Translation Technologies (CERTT), tomeet specific learning outcomes included in the curriculum adopted at theUniversity of Ottawa, Canada. In particular, they stress the importance ofencouraging critical thinking about tools in translator education [p. 89] andbetter integration of technology in translation programmes, so as to fostertransferability of skills and meet both students’ and trainers’ expectationsabout the effective implementation of electronic tools in their daily routine.

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

Chapter 6, “Subtitling and the Didactics of Translation”, by LauraIncalcaterra McLoughlin, concludes this second part of the volume by analysingthe didactic application of Audiovisual Translation (AVT) modes in trainingtranslators, focusing mainly on collaborative work for the creation ofinterlingual subtitles. Students work with a variety of materials, namelyscripts, software programmes and their own subtitling files, as part of apostgraduate module in AVT at the National University of Ireland in Galway,favouring ‘collaborative learning’ [p. 138] and the creation of a ‘space forreflective thinking’ [p. 139]. The authors suggest further research toevaluate improvements in AVT translator training and to aid practice withdifferent subtitling strategies.

Part 3 opens with an essay by Valerie Pellatt on ideology and student trainingin China. This 7th chapter, “Teaching and Learning the Importance ofIdeological Awareness for Chinese-speaking Trainee Translators”, outlines theimpact of ideology on Chinese students’ approaches to English translations andhighlights the peculiarities of intercultural communication in thisparticular instance by explaining the characteristics of ‘official ChineseEnglish’ [p. 153]. This is a variant of English which is derived fromcenturies of translation practice in China, and whose main traits are extremefidelity to the original, the use of official equivalents for specific terms(some of which verge on excessive wordiness, with mixed results in terms ofclarity) and strategies such as explicitation, omission and addition.Translations from Chinese into English are usually carried out andcommissioned by the producers of the source text (so-called ‘autotranslations’[p. 150], i.e. translations which are likely to be edited by the commissioningbody). This raises issues of accountability and detachment as far as thetranslator is concerned, as pointed out by Hermans (2007), and highlights thepeculiar relationship that Chinese translator trainees and professional havewith both the source and the target culture. As a solution, the authorsuggests raising student awareness of source and target culture behaviours andideologies, so that these can be effectively transferred in translation.

In Chapter 8, “The Role of Translation in Other Learning Contexts: TowardsActing Interculturally”, Maria González Davies discusses translation as alanguage learning strategy which enhances intercultural competence andimproves general expertise. This exploratory study relies on trainees involvedin the teaching of children literature in English and explores the theoreticalframework underlining such context. The author distinguishes betweenTranslation for Other Learning Contexts (TOLC) and translation for thedevelopment of professional translator competence [p. 163]. This challengesthe trainees’ views of culture and reinforces a view of translation as anactive agent of transformation, in that students are encouraged to query theirrationale behind the solutions adopted, thus stimulating discussions aroundthe role of translation as a learning tool for non-professional trainingpurposes.

Konrad Klimkowski and Katarzyna Klimkowska’s case study in Chapter 9, “TowardsEmpowerment in Translator Education: Students’ Opinions and Expectations of aTranslation Training Course” explores the notion of empowerment -- defined asthe ‘power to act in accordance with the knowledge and skills [developed]’ [p.181] -- and students’ opinions, attitudes and beliefs about it in apostgraduate translation training course in Lublin, Poland. The authorsinvestigate teacher and student empowerment in developing skills andcompetences, thus also providing insight into the students’ level of intrinsicmotivation to learn following an empowered assessment process (mainlypeer-reviewing, with a clear indication of the relevant assessmentobjectives). In the author’s view, this provides essential career buildingskills for their future work as professionals.

The final part of the volume (Part 4) opens with Marc Orlando’s research onevaluation tools used in training in different contexts to enhance students’awareness of the practices and requirements of the translation industry. Hisstudy, “Training of Professional Translators in Australia: Process-orientedand Product-oriented Evaluation Approaches”, is based on the use of such toolsin the Master of Translation Studies at Monash University, the tools beingevaluation grids derived from translation and interpreting agencies as well asthe Australian National Accreditation Authority for Translators andInterpreters (NAATI), and translator’s diaries. Orlando’s methodology relieson the different ways of evaluating a translations, taking into account notonly previous work (Gouadec, 1989; Nord, 1997; Schäffner, 1997) but alsoquality assurance as carried out in the translation industry. In this respect,translations are seen as products in which a careful balance must be struckbetween objective and subjective textual factors [p. 205]. The results showthat students’ involvement in the learning process is more effective whenevaluation tools, created from a combination of theoretical, professional andpedagogical elements, are integrated in students’ training in such a way thatstudents can better familiarize themselves with the discipline and ultimatelydevelop useful professional skills later in life.

In Chapter 11, “Addressing the Question of Ethical Dilemmas in CommunityInterpreter Training”, Łukasz Kaczmarek shifts attention to communityinterpreting, stressing the importance of preparing future professionals forethical dilemmas and scenarios they will face. He focuses on the suitabilityof current codes of conduct, such as the code issued by the National Registerof Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) in the UK, in preparing futureprofessionals to deal with such dilemmas (e.g., intervention) in light of therestrictions imposed by the current codes in place. He proposes a model ofcommunity interpreter competence (CIC) based on the model of interculturalcommunication competence originally presented by Spitzberg (2009), whichevaluates competence on the basis of the community interpreter’s performanceduring interaction with other parties. In light of this, he suggestsabandoning codes of conduct which are potentially too prescriptive forsituations where ethical dilemmas cannot be anticipated, and suggests a moreconstructive approach which grants interpreters more freedom duringinteractions with clients.

The final chapter, “Tracing Strategic Behaviour in Translation Processes:Translation Novices, 4th-semester Students and Professional TranslatorsCompared”, focuses on the notion of strategic competence, i.e. the rationalebehind translation strategies as implemented by three different groups: afirst group, made up of 12 translation students at beginner level; a secondgroup, composed of the same students in their 4th semester in the BA programmeat the University of Graz (Austria); and a last group, consisting of 10translation professionals, all with at least 10 years’ experience. Theirstrategic behaviour, defined as behaviour showing awareness of therequirements of the target text in order for it to be a good match to therelevant source text [p. 241], was analysed by submitting a set of texts fortranslation (ranging from popular science to operating manuals) and byimplementing a series of tools (mainly electronic) to record their speed andthought process. Problems in the translations were mainly classified accordingto comprehension and production, with a third category being a combination ofthese two. The results obtained showed that the professional translators weremore aware of coherence in the source text and therefore adopted morestrategic/acceptable solutions, based on other indicators within the text.However, despite adopting strategic behaviour they did not produce targettexts which could be submitted to the client without final revision. Amongstthe possible reasons, the author lists the relatively limited feedback whichtranslators receive on their jobs, thus preventing them from continuouslydeveloping their competence, but also the lack of familiarity with the textgenre and/or the differences in the translation approach adopted (i.e. whetherfunction- or equivalence-based).

EVALUATIONThe volume presents an interesting and multifaceted picture of current trendsin translator and interpreter training against the background of the Bolognaprocess, and highlights practices adopted by academics around the world indealing with the challenges of developing competence in the classroom and ineveryday situations. Regardless of authors’ geographical location and thelocal implications of their studies, the practices investigated areimmediately recognisable as familiar to trainers around the world.

The chapters are organised in a way that provides a macro- to micro-levelperspective of the practices under discussion, from standardization toideology, to classroom-based activities, covering a range of issues which havebeen dealt with coherently and which may be of interest for trainers andscholars alike.

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

Nevertheless, the volume is a welcome addition to Translation Studies andsheds very refreshing light on common global approaches to the teaching of aprofession which at times is seen as endemically fragmented and notuniversally recognised as a true profession.

REFERENCESGouadec, 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. FunctionalistApproaches Explained. Manchester: St. Jerome.

Pym, Anthony. 2006. Eppure … A reply to Federica Scarpa’s reply. Paperpresented at the conference Tradurre: professione e formazione, Università diPadova, Italy, 6-8 April 2006. (22September 2012)

Pym, Anthony. 2012. Translation skill-sets in a machine translation age. (22September 2012)

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

Schäffner, Christina. 1997. Skopos theory. In M. Baker (ed.) Encyclopedia ofTranslation 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) InterculturalCommunication: A Reader (12th edn). Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning,381-393.

ABOUT THE REVIEWERPiero Toto is Lecturer in Translation at London Metropolitan University. Hismain field of specialisation is translation technology and training, inparticular electronic tools, information and technology management fortranslation, web-based resources for translation and localisation. He hasextensive experience as both in-house and freelance translator and is activelyengaged with industry partners and translation stakeholders in the developmentof best practices. His publications include translations into Italian andarticles on masculinity, queer studies and translator training.

Page Updated: 09-Dec-2012