The Translator or Language Services Provider: Assessing the Standard Profile of the Translator in Cameroon and its Impact on Translator Training | April 2015 | Translation Journal

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The Translator or Language Services Provider: Assessing the Standard Profile of the Translator in Cameroon and its Impact on Translator Training

The Translator or Language Services Provider

ABSTRACT

This study examines the profile of the translator in Cameroon and posits that the translating activity is increasingly becoming part of the translation service, reflecting the market expectation to train translation service providers rather than translators. The paper demonstrates that the translation profession as it is performed in the field and portrayed in job adverts reveals that a wide range of employers are looking for translators and their services. A survey of the Cameroonian translation market was carried out to raise awareness of the language skills translators need in order to work successfully as language services providers. The data for this study was obtained from 36 professional translators drawn from the public service, the freelance and in-house corporate translation market in Cameroon. The study argues that today's new translator's profile and his activities are basically variants of interlingual communication in which the traditional concept of translation constitutes only one option and that these 'add-ons,' which contribute to a better professionalization of the translator, pose new challenges to translation pedagogy in terms of both content and methodology. In this vein the study proposes a translational language teaching model aimed at making training more responsive to market exigencies in this era of modernization.

Key words: Translator Training, Translation competence, Market Research, Translator Profile, Translational language competence.

0. Introduction

According to The Oxford English Dictionary (2007), a translator is "one who translates or renders from one language into another." However, in real life, people involved in translation work may not have the job title of translator. They may be called communication officers, editors or sometimes secretaries, personal assistants, etc. Conversely, translators may be asked to work on transcription, editing, terminology management, rewriting, and desktop publishing. Because translators have to play so many roles in a language service market, it is perhaps not surprising to find that the translation market is heterogeneous and highly fragmented.

The translator's profile is not to be confused with how well anyone translates. It concerns the perception of a translator's value - what employers think a particular translator can do, and how well or badly the translator is assumed to do it. A 'profile' can be regarded as a summary of the competences which are considered necessary in order to function in a given professional context. This definition of the translator's profile aptly situates the 21st century professional as a performative translator, to use Uwajeh's (2001: 229) terminology. Performative or transformative translators refer here to translators who have changed from what they used to be, this time not completely from what is traditionally called translators but to what one might style 'translators plus'. That is, translators who can provide suitable translation services in the 21st century by virtue of the kind of competences they possess - language service providers.

The questions that will naturally come to mind are: Is the profession changing as a result of the changes in society, and how? What do employers expect from translators? What do they expect from universities and training institutions? Which skills are essential for translators to adapt to the new scenarios? What are the pedagogical implications of the language-specific challenges in professional translating today in Cameroon imposed by changing market trends? More specifically: can the varieties of specific linguistic skills performed by professional translators pose as a challenge for teaching? Is it possible to describe the standard profile of would-be "Language Service Providers" (translators), and design the architecture of a teaching programme and methodology geared to that profile?

Working from the premise that trainee translators need to be trained for the much wider variety of linguistic roles imposed by current changing market trends for 'language service providers,' the results of this study will raise awareness of the actual linguistic challenges facing the 21st century translator in Cameroon and in the world at large.

1. Theoretical Framework

The standard profile of the translators in Cameroon is discussed using insights from the literature on market research and the competency-based approaches to translator training. Within this theoretical framework, the concept of translational language skills is deconstructed into 'separate language skills' and 'enhanced language skills.'

Drawing from a survey of the Cameroonian translation market context, the study demonstrates that an explicit inclusion of workplace realities in Training would represent the progression of competency-based training required for successful participation in the workplace. The study posits that multi-competence is an added value of translation studies and that training programmes concentrating on core translation competence with parallel emphasis on market awareness and transferable skills would present significant advantages.

The study draws from the Flexible Professional in the Knowledge Society (REFLEX) analytical model by Seamus
McGuinness and Peter J. Sloane (2009) which examines the labour market status of graduates after graduation and distinguishes their currents job, their vertical and horizontal mismatches and under skilling as well as a range of questions on the nature of work organisation and individual competences. A framework, informed by Second Language Teaching (SLT) is proposed with the aim of ameliorating the teaching of finely- tuned language structures and skills to trainee translators.

1.1. The Translation Market Challenges

For over thirty years now, a number of new skills and sub-competences have

emerged. In his manual for new translators, Daniel Gouadec (2007: 120) mentions some of

them: The new translator must in fact be ready

[...to become] an information management expert, technician, terminologist, phraseologist, translator, adapter, proof-reader, reviser, quality control expert, post- editor, editor, graphic design expert and Web page designer, technical writer, Web site designer, Web page integrator, file manager, macro-command writer and in some cases IT specialist, all rolled into one

In this vein, Ulrych (2005: 21) writes:

(...) evidence from the working world indicates that professional translating entails multiple forms of communication once considered as lying on the periphery of what was considered "translation proper": activities such as technical writing, editing, language consultancy and screen translation, for instance, are becoming core components of a translator's day-to-day practice

The implications of this process have been addressed by several authors (e.g. Bowker 2002; Fulford and Granell-Zafra 2005; Pym 2003). They all seem to agree that there has been a shift towards large language service providers, full document production and automation. Similar trends are reported by Boucau (2006), who observes that the translation market remains very fragmented. In 2009, the Editorial of the Applied Language Solutions, a Translation Services Company, published a long list of tasks performed by 'language service providers. These include interpretation, project management, terminology, language teaching, linguistics, cross-cultural training, diplomatic work, intelligence work, technical writing, DTP/page layout, web work, international work, stand-up comedian, bilingual editors, multimedia designers, research and information specialists, cultural assessors, multicultural software designers, software localizers, and terminologist.

All of the above-mentioned tasks involve collecting, processing, manipulating and validating language information. These requirements and the conditions of modern translation professional life, as well as the impact of globalization are challenges for teaching, as learners need to learn these new skills in order to be able to confront them. Edmund Berger (1999: 6) points out: "I believe that the most valued possession of a translator is his/her intellectual honesty (...) keep abreast of new developments affecting your business."

Ulrych (2005: 21) notes that these profound transformations in the profile of the translator are bringing the translation activity closer to that of monolingual text production. Some authors would even say that translation activities can no longer be called translation but rather "reader-oriented writing" or "multilingual technical communication" (Kingscott 1996 in Ulrych 2005: 21), because the term "translation" cannot transmit the range of skills that are necessary.

Andreu, M., and Berenguer, L. (2003), scholars of the GRELT research group

working on Language for Translators, have underscored that the new translator's profile, as

defined by market forces and social pressures makes it incumbent on training institutions to

factor in the new profile into their training. The translator is not only, or not any more, a

multilingual de-coder, but he/she is required to do, or to be prepared to do, rather more than

just translate. Pym (1995: 600) discusses the roles translators should be encouraged to take:

If they are in a position to carry out other mediatory tasks, they should do so. This could involve things like actively preselecting information, advising on how a particular text should be translated, and suggesting how best to act in order to attain cooperation. A final consequence is of course that translators should be trained to carry out this wider range of mediatory tasks. More pointedly, they should be trained to know when not to translate.

Alina Secara (2005: 1) opines that this new trend is now being standardized with the appearance of new job titles, such as 'translator-editor'. These have pushed the job specifications - and thus the skills required for what was initially a translation position - one step further. Mossop (2001), taking a market-oriented perspective, points to a growing tendency for employers to seek multi-skilled employees who are not only willing to learn and develop those skills, but who have already acquired them. In the translation market, this refers to translators who are ready to carry out more than just mechanical translation tasks and who have actually received training in that sense.

Mossop (2001: IV) provides an example of a new job description, that of translator-

editor, a job particularly interesting because of the wide variety of competencies it envisages:

Translate, revise, standardize and re-write public and internal documents such as reports, announcements, decisions, ministerial orders, brochures, press releases, memos, etc. for employees and managers of the agency. Coordinate the preparation of briefing notes for the Minister and, when the responsible person is absent, of ministerial and executive correspondence. Research, write, edit, French copy related to scientific technological exhibits and programs for visiting or virtual public. Produce small publications, write for websites, copyedit, translate English material with extensive scientific content into clear, interesting, understandable French copy and meet deadlines.

Consequently, if trainees are willing to enter the translation job market nowadays, they should expect to perform tasks varying from actual translating to writing summaries of a translated document, preparing material for publication or internal use, acting as an editor on source or translated texts and adapting the content of a text for a new audience. The students should be more specialized, more technical, but also be able to work within a wide range of subject areas. Teachers in translation teaching institutions are now faced with a new challenge, which Guadec (2001) terms an "unstable equilibrium", something really complex but necessary for the molding of multipurpose translators with skills in many fields and the capacity to adapt to the new expectations of the society.

1.2 Impact of Competency-Based Approaches

As Winterton (2005: 2) rightly points out, there has been a discernible move towards a more outcome-based approach, reflected in the Berlin Communique of September 2003 which encouraged Member States to elaborate a framework of comparable and compatible qualifications for their higher education systems. This framework seeks to describe qualifications in terms of learning outcomes, competences and profiles (Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks, 2004). This trend has impacted a keen interest internationally in identifying the competences that are required by career guidance (CG) practitioners.

In Cameroon, the BMP system which is a step-child of the outcome or competency- based approaches was introduced into higher education in 2006. The intention is to express outcomes in the form of clear and precise 'competencies', so that (a) the needs of employment can be better communicated; (b) the goals of educational programmes can be re­defined and communicated with greater precision; and (c) straightforward judgments can be made about the extent to which any particular competency has been attained:

Rather than designing curricula to meet assumed needs, representative occupational bodies identify 'occupational standards' which are clear and precise statements which describe what effective performance means in distinct occupational areas. The standards are then used to develop 'new' vocational qualifications and the assessment which underpins them; plus learning programmes which deliver the achievements identified in the standards. (Mansfield, 1989: 26)

In this vein, a professional translator needs to have sound knowledge about best

practices in different situations and a variety of skills that will enable him/her to assess the

job at hand and apply the best possible management and translation strategies to a particular

situation. Much of the research effort in translation studies has been inspired by the need to

describe and explain the phenomenon of translation itself and to establish what may be

considered to be best professional practice. The competences required by a profession are

usually determined by studying the behaviour and actions of the field's successful

professionals. The competences described in these models are in turn used in translator and

interpreter training. After all, educating new professionals is always linked to the everyday

practice of the field and students are taught how to function in the professional arena. .

In the specific domain of translation, Schaffner and Adab, (1996: ix) and Neubert

(2000) share the same views on competency issues.

A first priority [...] is the need to define more clearly the different sub-competences involved in the translation process, in order to try and identify a set of principles which could form the basis for a solid foundation for training in translation. Only then will it be possible to work on the interrelationship of these principles and finally to incorporate these into a programme designed to enable translators to achieve an overall (desired) level of translation competence (Schaffner and Adab ix)

Translation practice requires a unique competence, perhaps a set of competences that comprise, of course, competence in the source and target languages. (Albrecht Neubert, 2000:3)

Identifying the subset of fundamental competences related to translation competence

helps to determine those to be prioritized in the language skills development class for

translators, with the aim of bringing the student closer to the translation market exigencies

with a body of knowledge acquired in advance.

The translation profession has known a remarkable evolution that Shreve (2000: 217

as quoted by Kelly (2005) has this to say:

The profession of translation (can be seen as) a special kind of ecosystem moving through time, modifying itself under the pressure of influences emanating from its socio-cultural environment, and evolving successfully from one form into another.

Seen in this new light as a Language Services provider, the translator should consistently excel in a number of specialties, and is generally regarded as one of the arbiters of very high level language consultancy. A weakness in any of these abilities will affect his performance adversely and have a negative impact on his employability.

As with all academic studies that have a vocational dimension, Translation Studies must balance the need to achieve full coverage of the discipline with the need to prepare graduates for the real professional world.

1.3 Translator Training Response To Current Trends

In view of these changes, society today requires Higher Education to provide not only training, but also clear careers advice and a real possibility of preparing graduates for the transition to joining the labour force with relative ease and confidence, and in the best possible conditions. These wide-ranging, fast-paced changes in the translation job market clearly imply that a higher level of initial training is necessary for trainees to prepare them to function as active members of the profession when they gain employment. These changes therefore pose new challenges to translation pedagogy in terms of both content and methodology.

Over the past decade, new dynamics have emerged in each of the key domains of higher education, particularly in research and innovation. This paradigm shift has ushered in a more profession- and practice-oriented translator training and necessitated the inclusion of a wide variety of activities professional translators perform (Nord 1997: 117). In this vein, translator training has undergone considerable changes since the beginning of the nineties, attempting to bridge the gap between the academic and professional worlds of translating. Translator trainers, often professional translators themselves, have started to look at real translation situations, investigating what makes certain translations (and translators for that matter), more successful than others and incorporating their findings into their translation teaching approaches and methodologies. Translator education now recognizes the need for students to acquire a wide range of interpersonal skills and attitudes in addition to the purely technical skills ('translator competence').

As Schroeter (2009: 4) points out, it has become evident that successful economies are driven by innovation and knowledge. The skills required of workers have changed dramatically and rapidly over the last decades. Belinda Maia (2002: 9) writes in her introduction of the Proceedings of the conference on 'Training the Language Services

Provider for the New Millennium' in Porto , "Nowadays students need to be trained for the

much wider variety of roles summed up in the phrase, 'language services provider.' She

explains that in order to avoid the 'translation and interpreting' label:

we opted for the expression 'Language services provider', in the hope that this would focus the need for training students for other functions, like those of revision, re­writing and even writing the original texts, technical writing, terminology work, special language studies, dubbing, sub-titling, localization and the new technologies that have revolutionized the world of the more traditional translator and interpreter

As early as 1992, Mary Snell-Hornby (1992: 22) recognized the importance of a broader, more multi-dimensional approach to training the translator not only as an intellectual polymath, but also as a multicultural expert. In fact, whether they are working as freelance translators, in-house translators or part-time, translators have now moved from what Gouadec (2002: 39) calls the 'pure translator' to what he calls the translator with a lot of 'add-ons,' which he describes as the basic profile of what the market wants

In developing countries, substantial reforms are taking place in tertiary education systems mainly aimed at encouraging institutions to be more responsive to the needs of society and the market economy. For example, the implementation of BMP in Cameroon since 2006 implies a change for higher education institutions, which have now to ensure that the learning outcomes of graduates fulfill the competency needs of the labour market. As a result, Higher Education must take into account teaching methodologies which bring training closer to the professional world, that is, Bringing Professional Practices into Translation Classrooms, (Way, 2008). In translation, this implies providing students with the skills and competences required by practising translators in the workplace

In this vein, translation teachers and researchers must show increasing interest in seeking alternatives to effete teaching methods - alternatives that will be better suited to the needs of students and employers against the backdrop of the radically changed market conditions over the past half century. In Barabe's (2007) Towards a New World Order in Translation, he refers to the development of these competencies and skills as the process of translating the core abilities involved in effective practice into educationally useful elements. The translation market would benefit, as translators would be readier to adapt to emerging roles and more capable of sustaining quality and the argument for quality in the business

Pym (2005: 132) opines that the demanding professional translation market expects would-be professionals to have a broad knowledge of the profession:

Since translation is multidisciplinary, translator training programmes must instill not only proficient language command in both source- and target languages, but also, equally important, must bring together knowledge and skills that belong to different disciplines, such as documentation, terminology, desktop publishing, as well as some knowledge of specialized texts. Students must learn this so that they can ultimately thrive collectively as members of a profession.

Taking into consideration the growing importance of competency-based approaches, professional bodies, such as the ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting, UK), initiated programmes that facilitate such incorporation. The ITI brochure - Translation: getting it right (2003) - is a guide whose purpose is to educate all those taking part in the translation process. The brochure follows the example Mossop (2001) and Sager (1997) have set in describing the new roles that translators are expected to assume today. Consequently, it identifies the changing responsibilities and roles of translators, such as contributing actively to decisions made about the translatable content of the source text (ST), as well as the most appropriate translation approach and technique that should be employed.

2. Methodological Framework

This study adopts the empirical case study survey model in translation research. An outline of a model of the language skills translators need in order to work successfully as language services providers is developed through a case study opinion survey of 36 experienced service, freelance and corporate professional translators working in Cameroon. . Suggestions are made in the light of the model about curriculum design and teaching. The data collecting instrument used in this study is a questionnaire.

The informants for this part of the study are service translators working in the Cameroonian civil service and some freelance and corporate translators. The population was sampled using stratified and systematic sampling methods. Stratified sampling used variables such as gender and experience. Professionals who work both as freelance and in-house corporate translators from different cities were part of the sample.

Both quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis have been used in this study. The questionnaires were administered by the researcher in face to face situations with the informants and others were sent and returned by mail. Various sources were used to know where and how to meet translators in the field such as directories, and visiting various offices to administer questionnaires to translators.

The professional translators' questionnaire elicits among other things, the various language-specific challenges in their career today brought about by changing market trends and how these could be factored in the language teaching course for translators. It is divided into five main components of professional experiences: professional translator's profile, former training, translation competence, materials and professional add-ons, experience, theoretical beliefs and recommendations. These instruments are used to validate the hypothesis on the pedagogical implication of the wider variety of linguistic roles imposed by changing market trends.

3. Results and Analyses

This section presents survey results on the pertinent issue of the profiles of translators in Cameroon and the major pedagogical problems involved: Is the profession changing as a result of the changes in society, and how? Which skills are essential for translators to adapt to the new scenarios?

3.1. Professional Translators' Profile Instrument

The first part of the profile instrument covers essentially demographic information of sampled professionals.

Table 1. Professionals' Institutions of Service

No

Place of service

Frequency

Percentage

1

The National Assembly

07

19.4%

2.

Presidency of the Republic

04

11.1%

3.

Ministry of Finance

03

08.3%

4

Ministry of Higher Education

03

08.3%

5.

Corporate translators

04

11.1%

6.

Freelance translators

02

5.6%

7.

Ministry of Trade

01

03%

8.

The Supreme Court

02

5.6%

9.

Ministry of Forestry and W.L.

01

03%

10.

Ministry of Territorial Ad/Dec.

01

03%

11.

Ministry of Secondary Education.

01

03%

12.

Ministry of Public Works

01

03%

13.

The Ministry of Public Health

01

03%

14.

Ministry of Communication

01

03%

15.

MINEPATI

01

03%

16.

MINIMIDT

01

03%

17.

Ministry of SME, Social Econ.

01

03%

18.

Ministry of Public Service

01

03%

 

Sampled population

36 Respondents

The results computed on table 1 reveal that the selection is representative because it covers all the major ministries including the Presidency of the Republic and the National Assembly. Furthermore, most of these translators also work for corporate bodies on a part time basis, and they also do some freelancing.

Further survey results from the demographic profile prove that 70% of professional translators in Cameroon are often asked to translate into their B languages.

3.2. The Professional Translator's Competence Notions Assessment

This section provides a retrospective benchmark of professional standards against which development activities can be planned and prioritized. The section among other things seeks answers to questions relating to: Professionals' Assessment of language-specific communicative skills in professional translation; types of CAT tools used/mastered by professionals; list of texts translated by professionals in the field, and Language-specific activities that professionals perform as add-ons.

Table 2. Professionals' Assessment of language-specific communicative Skills in professional translation

Skills

Very

important

Important

Not

particularly

important

Not

important

Total

Linguistic accuracy

29

05

-

-

34

Appropriate style

23

15

01

-

39

Terminological correctness

30

04

02

-

36

Consideration of textual conventions

14

19

01

-

34

Sense for sense translation

15

05

01

-

21

Creativity in cases of non equivalence

13

12

-

-

25

Cultural knowledge

16

18

01

-

35

Communicative appropriateness

16

08

-

-

24

Lexical and syntactic equivalence

10

06

07

05

28

Textual competence

16

15

01

-

32

Fluency

03

05

03

-

11

It skills

20

15

01

-

36

Average Total

205

127

18

05

355

Percentage total

58%

36%

5%

01%

100%

Sampled population

36 Respondents



Important components of communicative competence in translation include; cultural knowledge (44.4%), communicative appropriateness (44.4%) and textual competence (44.4%). On the other hand, those skills which are not particularly prioritized are lexical and syntactic equivalences and oral fluency.

Table 3. Types of CAT tools used/mastered by professionals

CAT Tools

Frequency

Percentages

Trados

13

36%

Wordfast

10

28%

SDLX

02

06%

Deja vu

01

03%

Trainspro

01

03%

Transit

00

00%

Passolo

-

00%

Across

-

00%

RC WinTrain

-

00%

Taught in school

-

00%

None

34

94%

Sampled population

36 Respondents

 

According to the results, the majority of professionals (95%) are not familiar with CAT tools and translation software. Wordfast (38%) and Trados (36%) are the only CAT tools that most of them are acquainted with. Furthermore, none of these CAT tools were taught them in school.

A similar question was asked with regards to terminological tools mastered by professionals. Three popular terminology tools (Multi Term, Term Star, and Termium) were used to validate professionals' acquaintance with terminological software germane to the translation profession. The results of the survey show that like with CAT tools, 94% of the professionals studied are not familiar with terminological tools. Very few, that is, 3% know about Multi Term and Termium.

3.3. Translated Material, Text-Types and Professional add-ons

This section of the study examines the materials, text-types and professional add-ons that professionals encounter in their workplace. This study analyses both perspectives and focuses on translational add-ons as a factor that is crucial for the design of a training programme that conforms to the current profile of professional translators.

Table 4. List of Texts translated by professionals in the field

Type of text

Very often

Often

Some­times

Rarely

Never

Total

Correspondence

12

11

07

08

-

38

writing Reports

07

13

12

03

-

35

Contracts and agreements

04

09

09

08

04

34

Scientific reports

06

08

10

07

06

37

Budgets

01

05

03

07

-

16

Press releases

-

10

04

02

-

16

Bid notices

06

08

10

07

03

34

Programmes

02

09

04

01

-

16

Precis writing

06

10

06

01

-

23

Speeches

13

05

06

01

-

25

Presentations

03

10

07

-

-

20

Tenders

07

11

03

-

-

21

Conventions treaties and judgments

10

       

10

Diplomatic notes

02

01

08

-

-

11

Laws and decrees

09

09

02

01

 

21

Interviews

03

02

01

-

-

06

Press agency reports

05

 

05

-

-

10

Exposes

04

03

01

-

-

08

Average Total

100

126

98

46

13

383

Percentage total

26%

33%

25%

12%

3%

100%

Sampled population

36 Respondents

The statistics reveal that a majority of these text-types are often carried out in the field (33%) while 26% of them come up very often. Secondly, regular texts activate both language and specialized domain competences requiring both written and oral expertise in language skills.

The study also specifically wanted to know what language-specific activities professionals perform as add-ons to translation per se. A total of 21 activities were computed and are presented on table 5 below.

Table 5. Language-specific activities that professionals perform as add-ons

No

Language specific activities (Translation Add- ons )

Very often

Often

Some­times

Rarel y

Never

Total

1.

Re-writing of texts

07

13

08

04

03

35

1.

Writing of Reports

08

12

05

09

01

35

3.

Writing of adm. Correspondences. and business letters

10

11

06

04

 

31

4

Writing of Scientific reports/minutes

09

10

05

06

-

30

5.

Localization

03

03

04

03

10

23

6.

DTP page layout

04

05

05

-

14

28

7.

Terminology work

11

15

-

05

01

32

8.

Special language studies

06

14

05

04

05

34

9.

Writing original texts

07

11

05

06

03

32

10.

Technical writing

06

09

08

03

05

31

11.

sub-titling

06

06

01

02

14

29

12.

Revision/Editing

10

12

08

04

02

36

13.

Interpretation

07

13

09

04

03

36

14.

Managing new

language

technologies

07

09

06

02

07

31

15.

Public relation work

10

11

05

05

05

36

16.

language teaching

09

09

06

06

03

30

17.

Giving lectures and talks

06

10

07

04

05

32

18.

Teaching translation

03

02

-

-

-

05

19.

Reading of letters and memos of the ministry

07

06

06

03

 

22

20.

Drafting of mails

06

03

06

-

-

15

21.

Supervision of trainees

10

06

03

04

-

23

Average Total

152

190

108

78

81

609

Percentage total

24.9%

31.1%

17.7%

12.8%

13.3%

100%

Sampled population

36 Respondents

As the results of table 5 shows, professionals are increasingly involved in carrying out a lot of language-specific activities (add-ons) in the field. Out of a total number of 21 language-specific activities computed, 14 (66.6%) of these activities have become a frequent practice.

3.4. Interpretation of Findings

  • Holders of Bilingual degrees in English and French make up only 50% of the sampled population of professionals. The other 50% obtained degrees in various fields: history, Spanish, law, political sciences, sociology etc. This is an indication that, translation training has for long been opened to candidates from other professions other than language studies thereby confirming its interdisciplinary nature and the need to cater for candidates without a language background.
  • The sampled population is largely made up professionals with long standing experience who can provide studied information. However, the majority of

respondents (88.90%) have never published in the field of translation. This means that a creative writing and research tradition has not been imbibed in most of the professionals. This explains why there is little information flow between professionals in the field and training institutions. Hence, Trainee translators are cut off from professional life experience. The introduction of academic and technical writing is very imperative for budding translators.

  • Results also reveal that close to 70% of professional translators in Cameroon are often asked to translate into their B languages. These results point to the importance attached to bidirectional translating in many contexts and which can only be aided by further language training in the second language in translator training programmes, particularly in Cameroon
  • Professionals consider the language courses more important for various reasons: more efficient use of language; the need to master the language before engaging in translation proper; helping those of them who did not do language studies to master the language; providing them with skills in writing etc. These results demonstrate that language problems in translator training are real for trainees, professionals and trainers.
  • A majority of sampled professionals (64%) reveal that as students in their former schools, they applied a systematic study of grammar, stylistics and dictation to boost their language competence. Some 22 (61%) respondents consulted grammar reference books, while some 20 others (56%) read newspapers and journals. These results reveal that guided learners' autonomy can be an effective approach to language teaching in translator training.
  • The results also show that professionals are increasingly involved in carrying out a lot of language-specific activities (add-ons) in the field. This explains why translators are now referred to as language service providers. These new activities are fast impacting on the definition of new profiles for modern translation practice and should have implications for translator training. These results indicate that the translator's work goes beyond mere translating and the teaching of these new skills should ideally be factored into a language for translator training course within the framework of competency-based approaches.
  • Activities like writing of correspondences, scientific reports/minutes, terminology work, revision and editing, public relation work, language teaching, and supervision

of trainees have become a permanent occurrence. Most of these text-types are regularly carried on in the field (33%) while 26% of them come up always. These regular texts activate both language and specialized domain competences requiring both written and oral expertise in language skills.

• Furthermore, the majority of professionals (95%) are not familiar with CAT tools and translation software like with CAT tools, and another 94% of the professionals are not familiar with terminological tools. Very few, that is, 3% know about Multi Term and Termium. Conversely, a majority of the respondents (97%) are not familiar with any project management tool. This indicates that new language technologies should constitute an integral part of language learning skills.

3.5. Theoretical and Pedagogical Implications

The findings reported above provide interesting answers about the added value of deploying translational language skills which reflect current translation competence models and are closely matched by the translator training outcomes proposed in best practice guidelines, for example, in the reference framework of competences for the European Master's in Translation (EMT expert group 2009) and the BMP system in Cameroon.

3.5.1 Professionally-oriented Translational Language Teaching Model

The relevance of the findings in this study is that they are drawn from the opinion survey of professionals in the field with regards to the kind of language-based problems they encounter and the practices which engender them and how these can inspire the design of language courses tailored to translator training. Through this approach the study probes "into the inner workings of the professional world [and] not only views it from inside the academic cocoon" (Diaz Cintas, 2004: 201).

This method facilitates better needs-oriented analysis than product-oriented evaluations can, since many of the considerations in reaching translation solutions can be directly observed rather than assumed. It is believed that since the focus of interest involves the translation family, and the work they do, and since the aim is to try to understand why they do what they do in a specific way, researching their tasks may somehow feed into empirically tested theoretical knowledge and simultaneously bring about a change in pedagogical approaches.

3.5.2. Towards a Model of Translational Language Teaching

The model of separate and enhanced translational language skills proposed in this study derives from an interdisciplinary approach where Curriculum, Theory and Practice serve as filters for understanding how different translator competences, particularly language- based skills or schemes can best respond to training contexts and market needs.

It is modelled on Applied Linguistics which focuses on providing solutions to enhance trainees' declarative language knowledge base for translation training, as well as to separate language-based-skills problems that translators encounter in the real world.

As can be seen in table 6 above, Translation Pedagogy entails the balanced appropriation of theory and practice, and a total assimilation of interdisciplinary approaches, which are recommended for a translation Studies Curriculum.

The organization structure of the envisaged syllabus is based on five broad modules: functional and contrastive grammar, comprehension and text analytical skills, terminology and intercultural semantics, translator-specific writing skills, and language technological tools for translators. These modules adopt four major approaches to language teaching: focus on forms, meaning, function and skills

The proposed model of translational language syllabus is basically a skills-based one integrated with other types of personal, group and mass communication, and interrelating with the types of speaking and writing activities that are germane to the translation profession. The different units of separate and enhanced language skills can then be presented in a sequence determined by various notions of frequency, learnability, communicative importance, and difficulty. This model aims at making translator training and long-term employability to become compatible goals of translator training in ASTI.

Functional and contrastive grammar

Grammatical interest is on performative or functional aspects of language use. These include collocation (the importance of word order), constructivity (the building of grammar complexity from simpler forms to produce 'discourse-level chains'), contextuality (the focus on written and spoken discourse in presenting grammar points), and contrastivity (using the source language to point out differences and similarities with the target language). The module covers syntactic strategies such as shifting the word-class, changing the clause or sentence structure, adding or changing cohesion; and pragmatic strategies such as naturalizing or foreignizing, altering the level of explicitness, adding or omitting information (Chesterman 1996: 68). Other problematic areas like those of the use of language mechanics (e.g., punctuations), major language structures (e.g., phrasal verbs, synonymy, collocations etc.), have not been left out. A functional grammar is essentially a 'natural' grammar in the sense that everything in it can be explained, ultimately, by reference to how language is used. (Halliday 1985a: xiii)

Comprehension and text analytical tasks

The second module is made up of exercises on comprehension and text analytical skills which include text-sensitive issues like reading comprehension, precis writing, context- sensitive vocabulary use, key structures and special text difficulties, text-based tasks like thematic-expansion and creative writing. Each text has a communicative function and distinctive linguistic characteristics as well as its own generic structure. This task therefore is to test trainees' ability to give a detailed and comprehensive account of the way grammar operates as sets of options for making meaning, for as Halliday (ibid.) points out, language structure and language function are systematically related.

Terminology and intercultural semantics.

The module is made up of a series of tasks relating to Terminology and intercultural semantics. Exercises in lexical analysis enable translation students to discern the patterns of underlying meanings. The value of these tasks lies in the fact that trainees are evaluated on skills of extracting conceptual meaning from a source text, and to base their translation on a reformulation of that meaning, not on the words or structures that codify it. Some tasks on semantics in this section include: substitution, reasoning on contextual meaning, and matching. Similar tasks on terminology and intercultural semantics cover specialized domains. The aim is to test students' graphic representation of how English and French divide up the same semantic space, and see distinctions made in one language that are not made in another. This could be gained through language and cultural awareness tasks. The process of learning how to translate could be considerably enhanced by making students conscious of the degree to which languages coincide and differ.

Translator-specific writing tasks

This module tests students' knowledge on samples of technical writing, such as Correcting and editing, formal reports, abstracting and popularizing. This section tests the students' knowledge on specialized concepts and writing conventions of different fields of knowledge that students are likely to meet in the field. By testing them on samples of technical writing, administrative documentation such as formal reports, technical descriptions, or operating manuals, etc., their familiarity with such style, formats and subject material of the texts, is evaluated. The objective is to enable them develop a methodology of situated analysis, useful for the evaluation of terminology resources meant for translation.

This section thus clearly distinguishes between what constitutes knowing a language (knowledge) and using a language (skill).

Language technology Tools for Translation

This last part is intended as a generic introduction to the specialized software packages that have been developed for making translation more efficient. Essential parts of these are translation memories, which store and retrieve old translations, and terminology management systems. The theoretical part will concentrate on the general principles underlying such packages and elaborate on the way they interact with the workflow of professional translators.

This study posits that in teaching these modules, collaborative training should be complemented by more traditional, result-oriented correction devoted to communication and quality. That is why the distinction between macro- and micro-level aims in language communication is prioritized. As Robinson (1998: 8) puts it: "These syllabuses assume the learner will be able to put together, or synthesize in real world performance, the parts of the language system they have been exposed to separately." The teaching method that can suitably be adopted in this scenario is the blended interactive socio-constructivist student- centered collaborative teaching method based on the cognitive theory that suggests that learners learn when they actively think about what they are learning. It heavily relies on teacher's "manipulation" - of learner teams to promote interdependence, accountability, interaction, collaborative skills and the conscious processing of group performance. This structuring includes the conscious formation of mixed ability teams and the changing of teams to ensure homogeneity of performance.

4. CONCLUSION

In this study data analyses identified diverse types of separate and enhanced language add-ons current in professional practice which provided a guideline on how translations should be analyzed theoretically, practically, academically and professionally.

The findings of this research confirm that Translator trainers should take a big picture approach to the changes in the profession. This study argues that many of these changes stem from an underlying paradigm shift. By examining this shift and looking for connections between various changes in the translation profession, the translator's profile can be better understood and the need to introduce 'Rich' courses made more patent.

It is clear that learning outcomes now play a key role in ensuring transparency of qualifications, of qualification frameworks, and employability. They are also central in the implementation of the various action lines of the BMP in most countries in Africa, particularly in Cameroon. This is the roadmap that this study has for ASTI and by extension, for all other training institutions which share in ASTI's translational language competency- centered consciousness.

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About Dr. Sakwe George Mbotake

Dr Sakwe George Mbotake

Dr Sakwe George Mbotake is a Lecturer of Translation Studies and Applied Linguistics at the University of Buea. He holds a PhD Applied Linguistics (Translation Studies), an MA in translation from the Advanced School of Translator and Interpreters of the University Buea, Cameroon, and an MA in TOFFL University of Buea/Grenoble France. His research Interests include Translation Pedagogy, Translation Competence, History/Theory of Translation, Comparative Stylistics, and Applied Linguistics. Dr. Sakwe can be reached at: gmsakwe@yahoo.com 

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