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Monday, 4 November 2013

The concept of 'hidden curriculum'.....and its relevance to translator training and education?

This week I was reviewing Kearn's (2006)  PhD thesis on curriculum issues in Translator Training in Europe in general and mostly in his teaching setting (Poland). I compared his insights to the situation in the Arab World. I found many similarities in  terms of course contents, teaching methods and institutional (university and departmental) as well as faculty's ideologies in a translation programme.

One of the striking issues I paid attention to is the concept  of ' the hidden curriculum'. He means by this any curriculum  in translation or interpreting that is not based on curriculum studies/theories in higher education, disciplinary issues specific to Translation ( focus on translation studies as a framework of reference: theoretical and applied), the professional aspect of translation and -last- the pedagogical approach for subject specific domains ( professionally oriented disciplines) the likes of translation. Kearns(ibid) had deplored the ongoing use of unplanned , impressionistic and reductionist curriculum design and development strategies in translation programmes. Any faculty in the department, regardless of his or her being competent in all the previous knowledge domains and corresponding practices- could come forward and pretend to design/develop curricula for the corresponding department. 

We feel that this violates  the Quality Assurance criteria prescribed in both Higher Education Standards (Required knowledge frameworks/competencies  for teaching scholarship) as well as in the Professional Standards of the Translation profession ( Check The recent European Standard EN15038) which has been used by many curricular designers to develop quality-based and professionally-oriented translation/interpreting programmes within an academic context.

We really do need to redesign, develop and keep monitoring our pedagogies and curricula in translation programs. The type of epistemologies and ideologies as well as teaching approaching need to based on consciously planned criteria from either mainstream pedagogy/curriculum studies, translation studies and professional guidelines (market requirements). Only this could ensure  desired outcomes for todays translation market . In saying that, we stay very watchful to not get carried away by the unstable requirement of the industry, but we stick to our principles as academics with a fair stretch and flexibility to what the employers are looking for.

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