Between patchwork quilts and vortices
Massey, Gary; Ehrensberger-Dow, Maureen (2016). Between patchwork quilts and vortices: Incorporating intra-curricular professional interactions into translator education. In: 1st CTER Congress 2016: Inspirations for Translation Pedagogy. Conference paper. (14-16 March 2016). Krakow: Jagellonian University.
In a recently published chapter, Kiraly and Hofmann (2015) criticise the compartmentalised “patchwork quilt” of courses in the linear, subcompetence-oriented curricular design resulting from the Bologna Process. Instead, they propose an emergentist multi-vortex model of competence development (Kiraly 2015) in which strategic workplace competence plays a prominent role and work placements are a key factor in merging “fragmented” subcompetences into a unified translator meta-competence. The experiential aspects of the model parallel reports from recent language industry forums (e.g. LIND-Web Forum 2013; Translating Europe Forum 2014) which call for the closer integration of universities and the industry to bridge the skills gap by improving student contact with professional practice and heightening awareness of workplace requirements. This has led to initiatives such as EGPS and ELIA Exchange, which set out to forge closer links between the language industry and educational institutions by providing, among other things, international platforms for internship and mentoring partnerships.
Yet the constraints faced by many programmes and institutes, in the form of modularisation, credit allocation, study duration as well as administrative and staffing issues, place severe limitations on implementing such extra-curricular solutions, necessitating alternative measures to enhance student employability, professionalism and ultimately translator competence. In this paper, we report on ways in which curricula can be designed to provide a flexible range of intra-curricular opportunities for students to interact with professional practice. Alongside authentic experiential learning scenarios such as real-world translation assignments in collaborative project groups and simulated student companies, measures include targeted staff recruitment and development, close cooperation with professional associations and local LSPs as well as the deployment of combined CPD and graduate programme resources. From our perspective, structured interactions with professional practice as part of a holistic approach to curricular development are a viable way of preparing students for the realities of the translation workplace.
Kiraly, D. (2015). ‘Towards a postpositivist curriculum development model.’ In: Kiraly, D. et al. (eds.), Towards Authentic Experiential Learning in Translator Education. Göttingen: V & R unipress (Mainz University Press), 67-87.
Kiraly, D. and Hofmann, S. (2015). ‘Authentic project work and pedagogical epistemologies: a question of competing or complementary worldviews?’ In: Kiraly, D. et al. (eds.), Towards Authentic Experiential Learning in Translator Education. Göttingen: V & R unipress (Mainz University Press), 53-66.
LIND-Web Forum (2013). Workshop Conclusions. 2nd Forum of the Language Industry Web Platform. Joining Forces for a Stronger Language Industry, 24 October 2013. Brussels: European Commission Directorate-General for Translation.
Translating Europe Forum (2014). Report & Follow-up Actions. Translating Europe Forum 2014. Linking Up Translation Stakeholders, 18-19 September 2014. Brussels: European Commission Directorate-General for Translation.