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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Translating Europe Forum

This is a very interesting way and strategy to mobilize all stakeholders in the translation & interpreting industry. There is a huge knowledge capital about the field that is generated from these types of forums. I wonder if there will be a way to do the same in the Arabic context: encouraging dialogue between academics, professionals, the private and public sector through platform ( online or face to face like the one organized by the Directorate of the European Union)

Translating Europe Workshop London - Dorothy Kelly

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Dorothy Kelly, Implications of the EHEA (Bologna) for translator trainin...

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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Sharing my experience : The importance of creating and operating within a community of practice ( case of translation educators)

Discussion on course contents and design
( Course name : Multimedia Translation II)

One of the best ways to promote the field of translator education and translation studies in general is that our community of practitioners ( academics, professionals, practioners, future academic or professionals...etc) should engage in a discourse via the use of social media resources and the internet, in addition to networking in meetings, conferences, online forums ...etc. This solidarity and exchange of ideas, experiences, suggestions, initiatives and innovative approaches in either teaching, the profession or research would certainly help to empower members of the profession ( teachers or practicing professionals). Here is an example of an exchange between me and a colleague who was given a course I was teaching last semester ( Multimedia Translation II). I was teaching in that university for one semester as a visiting lecturer and I was the first to design and teach the course for that department. Myself, it was the first time I taught such course. Here is what we discussed:

Him :

".........your course content seems largely technical, which calls for having technological resources in place! It is evident that you did a challenging and hard job! 
However, I would like to share this with you and have your valuable feedback: Don't you think the course content could be geared towards highlighting the strategies employed by translators in subtitling and interpreters? I feel it would be more straightforward and practical to focus, in this higher-level course, on what translators/interpreters do and what roles they assume in the media. This can include showcasing and discussing audiovisual and online samples. I have done some research work on Reuters translation, which may be relevant here, when compared with that of other media, say, Al Jazeera. Film subtitles can be another topic, whereby cultural norms condition and constrain translation, e.g. principles of politeness.   "

My reply to him was :

 I invested quite a large amount of time and efforts to conceptualize the course in such as way. I took into consideration the student profiles/needs as well local and regional practices (profession) that I documented already in my ongoing doctoral study. The class size was another element which conditioned the design of such course  and with such activities, teaching modes and assessment tools (i.e favouring a workshop, coaching and training mode of instruction instead of predominantly providing lectures). Two out of the four enrolled students wished to study in the TII doing a Masters in AVT next year. This was also taken into perspective in the design phase. 

The ICT element was integrated in a way to align with the hands-on and coaching mode of instruction described above: I used many open e-resources that I placed on blackboard for students to refer to in order to solve  terminology and documentation problems.  I used videos to explain to students the mechanism of subtitling. At first, I did not use the subtitling software, but used educational videos to first demonstrate how manual subtitling works, and then introduced software  to train them on how to do caption (or do transcription) and then subtitle the caption. Students liked cartoons. So I used some of these (Ara/Eng) as well as some news reporting and documentary type of discourses where speed is regulated. I focused more on enhancing students instrumental and reflective competence and I provided them with the technical material highlighted above, and some of the knowledge on audiovisual translation from the literature in the field such as  Diaz, 2007).

Another phenomena that is related to audiovisual translation is audio interpreting or even video interpreting (remote interpreting). This is an ongoing practice in the profession and I felt that students needed to be introduced to that. Multimedia translation is a diverse phenomena and it is not only about subtitling as students think. To back up that practice, I referred to recent publications in the field and best practices published in professional associations sites and formal consortiums or forums.

Your plan sounds rational and clear. You may follow that mode of conceptualizing your course. The way I see it is that it makes sense for an undergraduate  minor program. You focus on comparing media samples, case studies as well as highlighted strategies and techniques. You are a translatologist and you certainly know what you will provide for the students. Such material and content you mentioned would be another way to facilitate the course, although it is different from mine.

 Did you check with Porf XXX if she addressed that point in Media I?. I remember that she mentioned that she tackled that type of  declarative knowledge in Media I and she worked mostly on written texts (newspapers, advertising, ads). But, please check with her first. What I did in Media II is to extend the course and enrich it via enhancing two practical and missing points: profession and technology element. Being a minor course, I only introduced students to these areas with no further in-depth and details that could be done, for instance, in a major or professionally oriented BA or MA program. You may also try to diagnose students needs. This might help. Only if you think you want to do it.

I think I spoke too much here, but I hope that you have a clear picture of the mechanics and ideologies pedagogical rational and intended learning outcomes/ skills) orienting the design of such course. It is up to you to model the course the way you prefer. Your proposal sounds great and it makes sense. But, please check with Prof XXX about the course Media I) to avoid redundancy or misalignment. "


Monday, 12 October 2015

Does pedagogy matter in tertiary education?: case of translator education in the Arabic context.

Does pedagogy matter in tertiary education?: the case of translator education in the Arabic context.

I recently attended a symposium at the University of Laval here in Canada about literary versus non-literary types of translation. The participants tackled the theme from various perspectives such as linguistics, sociology, profession and pedagogical or education sciences . In this reflective text, I would like to talk about an ongoing element that was raised in the discussion and on which all participants agreed upon and acknowledged. Some of the participants are well-known scholars in the field of translation studies in Canada and worldwide.

So, one of the participants contended that it is quite bizarre that they (faculty/scholars/instructors) do not pay enough attention (and , sometimes, deliberately ignore ) the importance of the pedagogical dimension in their teaching of either literary or non-literary types of translation courses to their students. In my opinion, and I presume that many of my colleagues in the field would acknowledge, this specific point has been going on for a very long time in the university context. It goes back to the Humboldtian university model in the 18th century in Germany. This model contends on the PREDOMINANTLY research mission of the university and on the primacy of pure science over human or social sciences. Nowadays, in the 21st century, things are different. We witness a paradigm shift in higher education due to students mobilization, internationalization, low budgeting and fierce competition. Further, universities need to be  closer to society and eager to respond to social as well as economic concerns. The servicing need to be there.  The university as an ivory tower is no more working. Besides, universities do not own the monopoly of knowledge. Knowledge is everywhere.

Therefore, teaching and learning as well as ensuring that quality outcomes should be delivered put heavy pressure on universities to revise their approaches to teaching and learning in order to provide a 21st-century type of education and training for their cohorts. 

In the context of translator education, many elements need to be reconfigured. There are new concerns in translation programmes. Our recent review of the literature in the universities situated in the Arabic context, most of all Gulf-based universities, show that careful attention should be given to revising and remedying translation programs (Atari, 2012; Al-Qinai, 2010; Ferghal, 2009) at the following levels:

  • Types of contents delivered or facilitated ( de-contextualised from the real life of the MULTILINGUAL SERVICE PROVIDER )
  • Program orientation and departmental identities and ideologies
  • Staff PROFILES and competencies need to be re-checked/ professionals with TRANSLATION SPECIFIC academic qualification need to be integrated into the department.
  • Lack of teaching frameworks stemmed from mainstream applied translation studies ( rather than applied linguistics, linguistics of literary/critical literary studies) and theorised ( praxis based) types of knowledge.

We add to these:

  • Reviewing the instruction /training modes for specific courses ( specialised translation, literary translation, translation studies, revision) and the feedback from students.
  • Check alignment of content, activities and assessment modes provided in the syllabus for each course and get students feedback to triangulate the facts stated in the documents or do classroom observation . This is a crucial element to scrutinise as it is closely related to quality assurance.
  • Internship needs to be an integrated part of the program, it also needs to be structured.
  • Integrating in an efficient way the technology and the professional dimensions in the curriculum and providing the human and material resources to do that.