Combining products and processes: implications for translator training
Massey, Gary; Ehrensberger-Dow, Maureen; Hunziker Heeb, Andrea (2011). Combining products and processes: implications for translator training: Conference paper. In: Text-Process-Text. Questions in process oriented research on translation and interpreting. Conference. (17-19 November). Stockholm: University of Stockholm.
Translation pedagogy has long recognised the importance of students reflecting on the decisions made and actions taken during translation as a means of acquiring translation competence. It therefore follows that the evaluation of translation can be aided by knowledge not only of the product, but also of the process by which it came about. Until relatively recently, the most common ways of accessing, analysing, evaluating and critiquing translational performance have been through student annotations and other forms of written commentary. Since the 1980s, however, translation process researchers have developed and exploited various other techniques to try to access the 'black box' of the translator's mind, some of which have been applied directly in translator training experiments and methodology (cf. Alves 2005, Dam-Jensen & Heine 20 2009, Gile 2004, Hansen 2006, House 1986, 2000, Kujamäki 2010, Kussmaul 1995, Massey & Ehrensberger-Dow, forthcoming, Pym 2009). Aiming to 'bridge the gap between declarative and procedural knowledge' (Alves 2005), this research has raised important questions about the added value of deploying process research techniques in educational settings and about the nature of the relationship between translation processes and translation products, including the quality of target texts. In this paper, we discuss the implications of a study carried out in the Institute of Translation and Interpreting at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in which screenshot videos, eye-tracking records, retrospective verbalisations and follow-up interviews were used to explore what students on our MA programme in specialised translation seemed to learn from viewing their own and others' translation processes, and what insights their teachers seemed to gain from observing these recordings. At the same time as providing researchers and trainers with useful information on students' problem awareness and identification, search behaviour, resource use, revision practices and work efficiency, this research sheds light on how students and teachers integrate new knowledge gleaned from observed processes into their existing conceptions of translation competence. The ultimate goal of our investigations is to discover how process-oriented components of translator training can be profitably incorporated into course development, curriculum design and translation quality assessment. We anticipate that, by building on the indications from the study discussed here, further research will enable us to validate the use of process research methods in translation teaching and training.
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