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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Important quote:

" Translation in language teaching has by no means the objective of educating translators; rather, it is an activity which might stimulate the cognitive potential of an adult or adolescent learner and is thus supposed to complement other activities, not to replace them" ( Little et al., 2009, p. 2)


My reflection:

The above quote refers to an ongoing issue in the orientation set in many of translation programs I informally reviewed during my doctoral work. The overall programs' objectives, for instance, in  most of translation programs at gulf-based universities is to prepare graduates for the translation market. Nevertheless, the predominant language oriented paradigm reigns over a translatorial , mediation-oriented type of knowledge and competencies that future language mediators (translators and interpreters)  will need when they start working in the real world. Developing cognitive abilities is only part or a chunk of the complex set of skills, knowledge and abilities that most professional translators do...and which we should prepare our students to do. Translation is a disciplinary area of knowledge that has been developed tremendously during the last three decades. The knowledge universe of translation as a phenomenon should be made clear to students either at undergraduate or postgraduate level. They should be introduced, on the one hand,  to the main constructs and concepts in the field and their inter-relation; and on the other hand , to their socio-economic and professional relevance.

 In our survey, we understood that the concept of translation should be re-examined amongst administrators, students and faculty alike in the region. Also, the idea of integrating translation programs in language faculties should be handled carefully and program orientation and objectives should be re-thought and not mixed with linguistics or literature studies disciplinary boundaries. A thing line disciplinary boundary ( but complimentary) need to be settled.As per Durieux (2010), translation is about translations and translators, language studies is about the study of language.



Thus, clarity in where we orient our program and providing the appropriate (qualified) human resources that could deliver such type of instruction and praxis-oriented type of knowledge and skill- set for students is a necessary hurdle to overcome and fix. Waisting students time via providing de-contextualised type of knowledge and profession oriented type of skills and abilities ( not only cognitive or linguistic) is a necessary task to do in such type of programs, otherwise these programs lose their socio-economic relevance.

We adopt in our approach a comprehensive and integrated approach to translator education whereby all the above elements are take into consideration with various degrees, but with focus on translatorial and mediation type of knowledge universe. In this case, a design based model of instruction whereby the focus is on facilitating learning environments rather then transmission of knowledge is ideal. Discipline related didactics as well pedagogies should be privileged over the ' one size fit all' model that has been promoted in higher education for so long : lecturing is not the unique and the only way to enhance adults' learning and transformation. There are other active pedagogies which can be used to empower and instigate significant learning experiences in students.

Fouad