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Saturday, 11 January 2014

Not reforming our translation curriculum and pedagogies but rethinking , 'renewing' and 'remedying' them !

In the case of the Arab-based university translation programs, and as a result of our recent review of the literature on teaching and curricula design practises in translation programs  in the region (especially gulf countries), as well as my own experience as a practitioner (educator) in the field, led us to conclude that there is a disturbing and amateurish practise of planning courses and programs of translation within faculties where the program is installed. Furthermore, we realised that the classroom teaching practices (interventions in the classroom) needs to be reviewed and re-approached in a way that could match the way other professionally oriented programs were delivered/facilitated ( engineering, law, medicine) in higher education contexts.

We think that there is an issue with the above. Traditional curricula evaluation have always addressed 'content' issues and less has been placed on process(translator agency/competencies) or human capital issues (students, trainers, faculty) (Kelly, 2005, 2008). Besides, most of these evaluated programs were carried out by organisations or external evaluators that have little to do with MAIN FRAME discipline of TRANSLATION STUDIES and its various approaches and dimensions, the new sub-field of Translator Education and Training that is taking pace, and last the mainstream pedagogy and curriculum studies . In our opinion, these are the knowledge frameworks we would preferably seek into the entity which will give us feedback on our programs. 

The worst thing is that these programs are, according to our experience as trainers and faculty in the field, designed by internal faculty operating in different knowledge frameworks (linguistics, literature) and know little about 21st century translation industry, translator work patterns, employers' requirements, type of competencies that would lead students to employment ..etc. Consequently, the program suffers from disturbances either at the design/development or implementation/intervention levels ( including modes of assessments). Also, social and institutional criteria are rarely included in the design process (local issues, institutional criteria).

That is the point we addressed in our title as an issue . Hence, reforming could not be the answer, but perhaps 'renewing' (Kearns, 2006) and 'remedying' (Atari, 2012) could be the answer. We are currently working on that issue in our ongoing doctoral research. Instead of relying only on our experience and what the literature said about the topic, we are going to undertake a ground research with the stakeholders (immediate and on-immediate) to determine their needs and perceptions about translation practise and how we - as training providers- could develop a framework for university trainers/faculty to undertake sound approaches based on informed decisions and data.

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