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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Translator training and education at Arab based universities.

The following is a quote from one of my ongoing reflections in my research on translator training and curricula development for translation programs in at Arab based universities (Gulf countries).


          The teaching and learning environment in traditional face to face translator training programs in the Arab world were portrayed as lacking relevant pedagogical approaches that are congruent with the real demands of the translation industry and market demands. (Al Qinai, 2010; Fargahl, 2009; Atari, 2012). And that translator training programs are not integrating valuable vocational and professional components showing a key requirement for the face validity of  such programs and that they remain confined to linguistically oriented models leading to decontextualising  the translation assignments which become unclear and purely translation for philological or pedagogical purposes sine qua (Atari, Ibid; Buhmaid, Ibid; Emery, 2000). Also, that course objectives or ‘intended learning outcomes’ were not clear from the list of objectives designed by the course designers or faculty ( Bahumaid, Ibid). Kelly (2005) had highlighted that assessments in any study outline of any course should be aligned with the listed objectives. In more depth and details Biggs (2007) referred to constructive alignment principle whereby intended outcomes, activities and assessment tools should be aligned. In relation to the situation in Arab speaking universities, Atari (2012, p. 110) quoting from (Buhmaid, 1995; Emery, 2000) stresses that ‘there is a lack of well defined and well-formulated learning outcomes- if existent in the first place’. This sounds very degrading for such a program whose responsibility –amongst others- is to educate and train  responsible citizens, who at one stage will undertake decisive and important decisions in their textual and discursive choices within society.

          Further, translation courses are embedded in English departments and they tend to be taught mostly by faculty holding degrees in linguistics or English literature. Some had experience in translating but with little knowledge of the 21st translation industry working patterns, and others who did moderately practice translation as amateurs or on a part time basis, while a big chunk of faculty practicing classroom teaching of translation had never been professional translators (Atari, 2012). It is also argued that there is insufficient competent translator trainers at the Arab universities, which represent a hurdle to advance and improve translator programs (Fargal, 2009). Given the impact of technology on teaching and learning, personnel with IT background, knowledge of the translation proper subject matter and with real world professional experience can be a good competitive advantage for the department. Al Qinai (2010) had already mentioned that there is a need for educators who can themselves be on the ground and carry out classroom research to really get the authentic feedback, insight and results that the translator training communities either in the Arab universities or elsewhere would be looking for to embrace....)

Extracted from an ongoing PhD work in progress....