Translation Curriculum Development

 Volume 5, No. 2 
April 2001

  Moustafa Gabr




Another Milestone
by Gabe Bokor
Index 1997-2001
  Translator Profiles
The Translator Is a Writer
by Eileen Brockbank
  The Profession
The Bottom Line
by Fire Ant & Worker Bee
Marketing Your Translation Services: Test Translations—To Do or Not to Do?
by Andrei Gerasimov
The Changing World of Japanese Patent Translators
by Steve Vlasta Vitek
Sounding the Language-Elephant's Trumpet (a guide for intelligent buyers of translation services)
by Paul Sutton
  Translator Education
Toward a Model Approach to Translation Curriculum Development
by Moustafa Gabr
Translators or Instructors or Both
by Carol Ann Goff-Kfouri, Ph.D.
World Translation Contest
by Danilo Nogueira
  Literary Translation
Three Translations of La Chanson du mal-aimé by Guillaume Apollinaire
by Giovanna Summerfield
Translating The Sisters and Happy Endings: a proposal of a model of translation and a discussion on women's language and translation
by María Calzada Perez
  Financial Translation
Problématique de la traduction économique et financière
by Frédéric Houbert
The Check is not in the Mail—Banking in Brazil
by Danilo Nogueira
  Science & Technology
A Translator’s Guide to Organic Chemical Nomenclature XXIII
by Chester E. Claff, Jr., Ph.D.
  Dictionary Reviews
Emotions, Taboos and Profane Language
by Zsuzsanna Ardó
  Caught in the Web
Web Surfing for Fun and Profit
by Cathy Flick, Ph.D.
Translators’ On-Line Resources
by Gabe Bokor
  Translators’ Tools
Translators’ Emporium
Letters to the Editor
Translators’ Events
Call for Papers and Editorial Policies

  Translation Journal

Translator Education


Toward a Model Approach to Translation Curriculum Development

by Moustafa Gabr

he first stumbling block that threatens the success of a translation program is an erroneous approach to curriculum development, that is, course design and development. Curriculum development is a dichotomy of flair (or creativity) and systematic thinking. Creativity in curriculum development without a systematic approach may produce interesting class activities, but it will not engender effective training; the broad goals of the program will not be achieved. On the other hand, elaborate systematic approaches, without the spark of creativity, will result in routine, uninteresting class material and activities. They will fail to motivate participants and engage them actively in the learning experience.

Process Initiation Phase

Curriculum development is a gradual multi-tiered process, in which each step must be performed in order and at the right time. It starts with the rather administrative step of initiating the process. This step is traditionally taken by the department head or program coordinator. It involves looking not only at available information (such as data from previous course evaluations or even information about courses available at other institutions), but also constraints (such as availability of time, finances, classroom facilities, etc.). All actors involved in the process of course design and development need to be clearly briefed on this situation of resources and constraints. Then, four essential steps will have to follow in order (Sheal 1989):

1) Forming a Team of Developers

An experienced developer may design the course, but it is advisable to receive input from others as well. For best results, it is recommended that the process of development be carried out by more than one person in order to benefit from different perspectives, ideas and suggestions. Therefore, a small team of developers with diverse and complementary skills, knowledge and experiences will be most effective. The optimum number of team members depends on the length of the course and must be determined prudently.

"Too large a team may give rise to poor communication and conflict; the team leader may find most of his time taken up in coordinating, running meetings, attempting to smooth the waters, and reporting to management.... [T]here is often a fatal lack of accountability.... [The] course may also lack cohesion and appear as a jumble of modules.... [It] often takes much longer to develop...." (Sheal 1989, 69-70)

2) Brainstorming for Developers

Brainstorming is a technique that can be applied whether the course is being developed by one professional or a team of developers. It aims, through discussion and exploration, to generate ideas and encourage creative thinking about how to determine course content and class activities, how to motivate participants, etc. The main advantage of this technique is that it can save time and money, since a considerable number of interesting ideas and suggestions can be produced in a short period of time.

3) Task Assignment

The brainstorming process can give the department head or the coordinator a clear idea about the capabilities and interests of each developer in the team. Accordingly, tasks can be assigned realistically. Main tasks include topic research, material development, activity development, selection of teaching methods, etc. If tasks are assigned according to the strengths and interests of team developers, the course components will certainly be stimulating, practical and cohesive.

4) Setting Deadlines for Task Accomplishment

When tasks are assigned to developers, the department head or coordinator must agree with the team members about realistic deadlines for accomplishing their assignments. These deadlines, however, have to be flexible in order to allow for unforeseen delays. After deadlines are agreed upon, the department head or coordinator must send an action plan or a memorandum to each participant in the process of course development, briefly stating the overall process, individual tasks and deadlines for accomplishment. This document will serve as a guide and control tool throughout the process of development.

Curriculum Development Phase

Until recently, translator training has received little attention. Translators have been trained informally, with neither clearly-defined curricula nor proper training methodology. Caminade and Pym report:

"Translators ... have been trained informally, basically through trial and error, unstructured apprenticeship arrangements, or any of the various translating activities that accompany the study of a foreign language and culture within the Liberal Arts tradition." (Caminade and Pym 1998, 280)

Like any other training program, designing a translator training program should follow a systematic cycle, i.e., specific steps that represent, so to speak, the bones that make up the skeleton of the design and development process. If one bone is missing or out of place, the result will be some sort of deformity and inability to function properly. These components must, however, cover the needs of both the students and the market. The bones of the skeleton of an integrated translation program's design and development can be illustrated as follows:

Flow Chart

Pre-Development Stage

1) Identifying Market Needs

In order to put together an effective training program for preparing, or creating, an efficient translator, one must consider the demands of the market.

Antony Pym argues that market demands should shape the way in which translators are trained. In this regard, Pym raises the issue of specialization: as a phenomenon triggered by technological factors that determine the market structure, it indirectly affects the kinds of texts to be translated. He believes that "translator training must try to address the phenomenon of specialization" (Pym 1998). Pym concurs with the program of the ESIT in Paris that the purpose of training should be "to produce not translators who are specialists, but specialists in translation." He proposes that students should be taught translation as

"a general set of communication skills that [they] can apply and adapt to the changing demands of future markets, and indeed changing professions.... The greater the specialization of the market, the greater the translators' interest in diversifying their competence.... [T]raditional philological training ...[will] eventually be unable to supply the skills needed by the market." (Pym 1998)

Pym also argues that "the market for translation is ultimately determined by available technology," and therefore a professional translator "should physically possess basic computer technology," not only to be able to work with geographically distant clients, but also to be able to access various data banks and information sources. Pym concludes that a translator, without this invaluable tool, will not survive as a professional for long.

Laszlo concurs with Pym, arguing that translators must balance their knowledge about language with their knowledge about subjects. He concludes that because the market wants translators who specialize, the training of translators should address some field of specialization. Laszlo further believes that all translation programs must also include

"the use of computer, including word processing software, translation software, communications equipment and general business software.... No translator can possibly work as a professional without a computer." (Laszlo 2000a)

Gouadec holds that the type of translation curriculum should depend on the kind of students and the demands of the market. It should cover terminology and specialization up to the point where the students know how to deal with the problem of terminology in the texts to be translated and how to find information:

"What has changed is that an overwhelming variety of markets exist today (as opposed to 20 years ago). This is reflected in the contents of translator training programmes with courses on legal translation, commercial translation, financial translation, subtitling, multimedia translation, localization, translating using voice recognition systems, etc. The issue seems to be how to offer the students most of the above skills, at least at some decent level of specialization since:

  1. we DO NOT KNOW what 'niches' they will eventually fit into
  2. we DO KNOW that any of the markets they will fit into will require them, one way or the other, to actually localizse, subtitle, translate, rewrite, revise, and so on." (Gouadec 2000)

Gouadec also believes that the students "must be taught to work with all available electronic tools" (Gouadec 2000). An adequate program must include the use of computers, word-processing software and communications equipment. Mossop argues that the student should be familiar with basic computer skills such as word processing, e-mail, basic Internet and basic Windows.

"Students should certainly be working on computers, but all they need to know is basic Windows, basic Internet, basic e-mail ... and perhaps basic database for simple terminology management." (Mossop 2000)

Besides covering specialization and familiarity with basic electronic tools, translator training programs should be more vocational and less academic in nature in order to offer the students real-life scenarios. An adequate translator training program should cover both the theoretical aspects of translation and the practical aspects of translating. In that way, it will incorporate both educational and vocational dimensions. Ulrych argues that

"[t]rends in translation pedagogy are increasingly in favour of interfacing vocational and educational components, based on the premises that 'serious' training is never divorced from long-term educational commitments." (Ulrych 1996, 252)

Ulrych also believes that students should be introduced to real-life situations because "the importance of incorporating real-world criteria within a curriculum for translator training and education cannot be underestimated" (p. 252). Kiraly argues that "learning to be a professional translator means learning to act like one" (Kiraly 2000). An adequate translation program should cover certain aspects of the profession as a minimum requirement. The program should cover the business of being a translator. Although this module does not sound academic in nature, it is essential for the student translator as it gives the student a clear idea about the profession and what should be expected from the student translator upon graduation. Students need some sort of market orientation. The program must provide them with hands-on experience before graduation. The same notion is supported by Mossop, who argues that a course in translation history is desirable in order to help students see the development of the translation career in different countries at different stages and foresee their own futures accordingly.

"[I]t is important that students have an opportunity to reflect on the position of translators in society. To be able to situate themselves,... they need points of comparison-how translators have functioned in different societies at different times. A course in translation history is therefore not a frill. It will help make the difference between a thinking translator and a mere word engineer." (Mossop 2000)

2) Identifying Student Needs

Stern and Payment argue that if the instructor disregards the needs of students, their previous knowledge about the topic or their developmental needs, the success of the course will be threatened. The consequences will be:

"1 - Training content is inappropriate and poorly received by the [students].

"2 - [The instructor] misses the opportunity to connect with the [students].

"3 - Materials are too basic or too advanced.

"4 - Communication breakdown occurs.

"5 - [The instructor] loses credibility." (Stern and Payment 1995, 70)

Therefore, the course ought to integrate both the broad objectives of the curriculum and the personal needs of the students.

Mossop argues that the university is obliged to teach the student the general skills required by the would-be translator. These are "text interpretation, composition of a coherent, readable and audience-tailored draft translation, research, and checking/correcting" (Mossop 2000). In this regard, Kussmaul suggests that in order to minimize the amount of errors that may be made by the student in his comprehension of the SL text or rendering of its meaning components in the TL, a "therapy" has to be prescribed:

"We can advise our students to take courses in mother tongue usage in order to become more sensitive to the way they use their own language. We can also prescribe a remedial course in the foreign language in order to improve their foreign language competence." (Kussmaul 1995, 7)

The notion of the SL and the TL is shared by Laszlo, who argues that the translator is "one form of language specialist" (Laszlo 2000b). This applies to awareness of style and register as well as bicultural sensitivity. Hence, these skills must be addressed in the course of translator training. The notion of cultural awareness is also supported by Krouglov, who is of the view that:

"Students have to be taught to identify ... social and cultural differences as well as various markers in order to develop their ability to draw the appropriate meaning from the source language text and culture into natural target language text and culture." (Krouglov 1996, 82)

Another skill that must be developed by the student translator is the ability to translate "problems" such as linguistic and cultural "untranslatability." This skill must be emphasized in the training of the would-be translator. Student translators at the stage of university education also need to be introduced to problems commonly encountered in a text and learn how to address them. They need to be introduced to translation strategies that they can use to solve such problems. These strategies are categorized by Chesterman as follows:

"(a) syntactic strategies such as shifting the word-class, changing the clause or sentence structure, adding or changing cohesion; (b) semantic strategies such as using hyponyms or superordinates, altering the level of abstraction, redistributing the information over more or fewer elements; (c) pragmatic strategies such as naturalizing or exoticizing, altering the level of explicitness, adding or omitting information." (Chesterman 1996, 68)

Another important prerequisite for developing a translation career is the acquisition and development of research skills. Sofer argues that

"... a translator must develop research skills, and be able to acquire reference sources which are essential for producing high quality translation. Without such sources even the best of translators cannot hope to be able to handle a large variety of subjects in many unrelated fields." (Sofer 1999, 36)

Laszlo (2000a) believes that translation programs should also include a module on research and development of terminology. Students must learn how and where to search for terminology and what to do if an answer is not found. They also need to know how to annotate a text that contains new terminology and how to cover lexical gaps.

Another indispensable concept that should be covered in the translation program is that of teamwork. In real-life situations, the translator does not work in a vacuum. There are always contacts with colleagues, clients and other professionals for the purpose of finding certain information, solutions, guidance, etc. Laszlo points out that translators should learn how to work in teams as well as how to do the job alone (Laszlo 2000a). Fostering team spirit in the class will help eliminate fear among peers and will promote cooperation to reach solutions and exchange information. Mayoral agrees, saying that "students must be trained for teamwork, sharing translation tasks not only with other translators but also with professionals in other fields" (Mayoral 2000, 3).

Development Stage

3) Defining Instructional Objectives

Once the needs of both the market and the students are identified, they have to be translated into specific instructional objectives. Mager defines an objective as a "description of performance you want learners to be able to exhibit before you consider them competent" (Mager 1984, 3). As such, the objectives describe the intent and the desired result of the course.

In order for curriculum developers to tailor efficient instructional objectives, they should consider both students' objectives and adult learning principles.  sums up some main principles as follows:

"1 - Adults learn best when they are involved in developing learning objectives for themselves which are congruent with their current and idealized self-concept.

"2 - The learner reacts to all experience as he perceives it, not as the teacher presents it.

"3 - Adults are more concerned with whether they are changing in the direction of their own idealized self-concept than whether they are meeting the standards and objectives set for them by others."

(Sainz 1994, 135)

3a) Reasons for Instructional Objectives

Sheal argues that the quality of a training program depends on the adequacy of the course, or instructional, objectives. Developing instructional objectives is therefore the most important step in the curriculum development process. It is the one that pulls together all the other steps in the process of course design and development. Sheal concludes that if objectives are not identified and properly clarified,

"then sooner or later there will be confusion: in the course development; in the presentation; among the learners; in the follow-up after the course; or in making an evaluation." (Sheal 1989, 73)

Instructional objectives are useful in that they "tell the teacher where the course is going and how to know when he has gotten there" (Harris and DeSimone 1994, 126). Clear objectives help both the teacher and the student. They help the teacher design lessons that are easier for the teacher to evaluate and for the student to understand. Objectives, in addition to serving as a basis for selecting learning materials and course delivery methods, can provide a way to measure whether learning has been achieved; can be used by the department to evaluate the success of the course; and can help the students focus and organize their attention and efforts before and during instruction (Mager 1984). In short, the use of properly prepared instructional objectives ensures consistency and congruity between what is learned, course content and evaluation items, and thus limits the amount of irrelevant course material and facilitates student learning.

3b) Characteristics of Useful Instructional Objectives

The quality of a training program depends upon the adequacy of its objectives. Mager argues that in order to define objectives that are useful, one must consider several factors. First, one should consider who the learners are as well as their preferences and learning styles. The objective should describe the performance expected of these learners, in other words, it should always identify what the learner is expected to be able to do. Further, the objective should always describe the important conditions, if any, under which the performance is to occur. Finally, the objective should state the criteria to be used for judging its success. In other words, the objective should identify, wherever possible, the criteria for acceptable performance by describing how well the learner must perform in order to be considered acceptable.

"Course objectives that lack the performance, conditions, and criteria are often ambiguous and result in frustration and conflict between those who interpret the objectives differently." (Harris and DeSimone 1994, 127)

4) Preparation of Materials

In order to achieve the broad goals of the course, the teaching material should cover theoretical as well as practical aspects. Gentile believes that the components of the course material should attempt to bridge the gap between theory and practice, and even quotes Neubert, stating that "theory without practice is empty" just as "practice without theory is blind" (Gentile 1996). Nintai argues that "theoretical insights could enable students to become aware of their task, available translation options, and of factors involved in decisions and choices.... Practical exercises should be organized so that they complement the theoretical courses" (Nintai 1994, 42-43). Gouadec also is of the view that theoretical aspects as well as practical aspects should be covered in course content. Mayoral, too, says, "I think it is good to have students complete a certain amount of practice before they are introduced to theoretical concepts" (Mayoral 2000).

In consideration of market needs and pedagogical concerns, the course content should also cover literary and technical translation. Although the need for technical translators is growing much faster than the need for literary translators, teaching literary translation at the undergraduate level has its own advantages. Oittinen argues that

"[l]iterary translation adds to the students' sensitivity to language. When students translate texts within a literary context, they learn about the processes of interpretation in a profound way, as they take very deep dives into themselves as individual readers of source-language texts. As writers of target-language literary texts, they learn how to polish texts and give them the finishing touch." (Oittinen 1996, 145)

On the other hand, Kingscott believes that technical translation should be given equal attention because that type of translation "accounts for by far the biggest portion of translation work in the world today" (Kingscott 1996, 295). By training students in technical translation, enriching their terminology and widening the spheres of their subject-area competence, the program adequately prepares them to meet market needs.

In addition, the course content should include writing and reading assignments, handouts and textbooks/manuals in both the SL and the TL. On the one hand, Jakobsen is of the view that, since writing is a skill that comes before translating, translation students should first acquire writing skills (Jakobsen 1994). On the other hand, reading tasks are highly recommended in translator training programs in order to integrate course content. Reading tasks not only promote the cultural awareness of translation students, but they also enrich their vocabulary, widen their spheres of knowledge and introduce them to various styles and registers. Gouadec believes that textbooks should be used in class. The same notion is also supported by Mayoral, who argues that "some reading can be suggested in the practical classes, [and] particularly that the specialized translation classes require manuals that introduce the required area-study concepts" (Mayoral, 7).

This phase of material development must be accomplished very cautiously. Balance is required so that there is sufficient content to make the course challenging, but not so much that the pace of the course is too rushed, or so little that the pace is too slow. The course developer must also leave room in case certain knowledge or skills need more time and practice to be acquired, and the instructor should use student feedback tools to adjust course pacing (University of Nebraska-Lincoln 2000).

5) Select Teaching Methods and Techniques

Once the instructional objectives are identified and the content is prepared, the next logical step is to select the teaching methods and techniques that can best achieve these objectives. It should be noted that some methods are more appropriate for achieving particular objectives than others. Selection of appropriate teaching and training methods requires knowledge of the different techniques and sound judgement on the part of the person who is designing the program, be it the instructor or the curriculum developer.

Research about teaching and learning shows that students learn more, better and quicker if they are actively engaged in the instruction process. In order to achieve this goal, use of both active and passive modes of instruction is highly recommended (University of Kansas 2000a). Charney and Conway argue that presenting information using a variety of methods strengthens understanding and retention (Charney and Conway 1998). Further, translation, being a craft and a science, requires training based on language theories. Therefore, a sound approach to translation teaching and training ought to employ methods that address theoretical aspects of translation as well as the practical aspects of translating, i.e. passive and active modes of instruction. Following is a brief discussion of some teaching and training methods that can be used in translation training programs.

The Lecture is the most common teaching method adopted at the university level. Lecturing is a passive mode and is useful for achieving some instructional objectives and not recommended for others. Its advantages and disadvantages are as follows (University of Kansas 2000b; Harris and DeSimone 1994):

Advantages of the Lecture method:

    • The lecturer can convey personal enthusiasm in a way that no book or other media can; enthusiasm stimulates interest and thus learning is enhanced.
    • The lecturer can speak to many listeners at the same time; therefore, lectures can transmit factual information to a large number of students in a relatively short period of time.
    • Lectures can organize material in a special way; they present a faster, simpler method of presenting information.
    • Lectures can facilitate the transfer of theories, concepts and procedures.
    • Lectures allow maximum teacher control; the teacher chooses what material to be covered, when and how.
    • Lectures present a minimal threat to students; they are not required do anything, which they may prefer.

Disadvantages of the Lecture method:

    • Lecturing hinders learning by promoting negative behavior, putting the students in a passive rather than active role.
    • Lectures lack feedback from both the students and the teacher about learning, encouraging only one-way communication.
    • Lectures require theatrical ability-an effective speaker who can vary tone, pitch and pace of delivery-skills not usually possessed by university teachers.
    • Lectures place the burden of organizing and presenting the content solely on the teacher and deny student involvement.
    • Lectures are not suitable for higher levels of learning such as application and analysis.
    • Lectures have little value in facilitating attitudinal and behavioral changes.
    • Lectures assume that all students learn at the same pace and at the same level of understanding, which is not true.
    • Lectures do not sustain students' attention for long.
    • Lectures imply that students must be self-motivated to learn, because lecturing does not allow for eliciting student response.
    • Lecturing is poorly suited for training, especially individualized training.
    • Lecturing leads to a lack of dialogue, without which the students may not be able to put things into a common perspective that makes sense to them.

    • Lectures tend to be forgotten quickly.

    • Lecturing keeps students from interacting and sharing ideas, so they do not learn.

Research shows that lecturing is the least effective teaching method; nevertheless, it is concluded that lecturing, if supplemented with other methods, can be very effective in promoting the learning process (Harris and DeSimone 1994).

is an active mode of instruction. It involves two-way communication between the instructor and the students, and among the students themselves. Further, it gives the students an opportunity for feedback, clarification and exchange of ideas. Nevertheless, to be successful, the discussion method requires a skilled instructor who can effectively initiate and manage class discussion. It also requires allotment of sufficient time and wise time management on the part of the instructor. The students should also be given a common reference point so that meaningful discussion may occur.

Audiovisual methods can be used to portray dynamic and complex events that are difficult to communicate through the lecture and discussion methods. Kearsley (1984) and Harris and DeSimone (1994) categorize audiovisual methods in three groups: static media, dynamic media and communications. Static media include printed materials, slides and overhead transparencies; dynamic media include videos, films and audiotapes; telecommunications involve the transmission of training sessions to different locations via satellite, microwave, cable and fiberoptic networks and videoconferencing. For the selection of appropriate audiovisual media, the following factors need to be considered:

    • Conditions, performance and standards of each instructional objective
    • Student characteristics and preferences
    • Learning environment
    • Practical considerations that may determine which media are feasible
    • Economic factors that may determine which media are feasible

Experiential methods ensure active engagement on the part of the students, and thus effective learning. Keys and Wolfe believe that

"effective learning is an active experience that challenges the skills, knowledge, and beliefs of [students]. This is accomplished by creating a contrived, yet realistic, environment that is both challenging and psychologically safe for the [student] to investigate and employ new concepts, skills, and behaviors." (Keys and Wolfe 1988, 214)

The most common experiential method is the case study. It helps students learn analytical and problem solving skills. It is intellectually challenging and realistic. But it requires that students be given enough information to analyze a certain situation, or case, and propose their own solutions.

Role Playing is a very popular training technique; in fact, a survey showed that it is "used in 62 percent of training programs" (Harris and DeSimone 1994, 151). It offers the student an opportunity for self-discovery and learning. Role playing is "useful in assisting [students] to apply new concepts and skills and in shifting attitudes" (Charney and Conway 1998, 161). It is usually enhanced by a feedback session, in which the students and the teacher critique the role player's performance. Although role playing is a recommended technique for exposuring students to real-life situations, it has some limitations. Some students may feel intimidated to act out a character; others may perceive role playing as artificial or as 'fun and games,' not as an effective learning tool. These attitudes may interfere with the learning of others.

Computer-based methods include Computer-Aided Instruction (CAI) and Intelligent Computer-Assisted Instruction (ICAI). They involve using the computer as the main or sole deliverer of the material in the training session. These methods have several advantages compared to other training methods and techniques. They are interactive in terms of the one-on-one relationship between the student and the tutor computer, and their self-pacing adjustment capability allows the student to control the speed of instruction according to his needs. Moreover, they can automatically "track student progress and the allocation and use of instructional resources, including terminals, instructors and classrooms" (Hillelsohn 1984, 43). Assuming that the essential hardware is available, however, these methods require that both instructors and students be fully familiar with the latest technology and software, which is a big stumbling block!

6) Selection of Teachers

In some institutions, the curriculum is developed by professional developers, and only then are teachers selected in light of their academic qualifications, personal skills and professional backgrounds. In other institutions, teachers perform both tasks, developing the curriculum as well as teaching the courses. Regardless, there is an on-going debate in translator training communities about who should teach translation. So far, there seem to be three groups with differing opinions. The first group supports the notion that the academics, the scholars, the Ph.D. holders, should teach translation; the second assumes that the professionals, the actual doers of the job, should teach translation; and the last group, which seems very logical in its approach, is of the view that a team of academics and professionals should perform this task. The academics can teach the theoretical aspects of translation while the professionals can guide students in practice. Mossop believes that language and literature professors should teach courses in linguistics and translation theories, while practicing translators, teaching on a part time basis, should handle practice-in-translation modules.

Gouadec concludes that

"[t]he answer to who should teach translators is quite straightforward: both professionals with a talent for teaching and teachers with good knowledge of the job ... that they are supposed to train people for." (Gouadec 2000)

Sainz supports a similar view:

"I agree with those who think the most adequate and competent teachers at university are those who, apart from their teaching positions, are also practising professionals in the subject they are teaching." (Sainz 1994, 139)

Gerding-Salas, on the other hand, proposes the following prerequisites for a competent translation teacher:

"- Sound knowledge of the SL and the TL, translation theory, transfer procedures, cognition and


    1. Comprehension of what translation is and how it occurs.
    2. Permanent interest in reading various kinds of texts.
    3. Ability to communicate ideas clearly, emphatically and openly.
    4. Ability to work out synthesis and interrelationships of ideas.
    5. Capacity to create, foster and maintain a warm work environment.
    6. Capacity to foster search and research.
    7. Accuracy and truthfulness; critical, self-critical and analytical capacity.
    8. Clear assessment criteria." (Gerding-Salas 2000)

Laszlo adds that translation teachers should attend formal training in language and translation teaching, and should have some sort of certification or accreditation attesting to their ability to translate (Laszlo 2000a). This requirement is also supported by Barcsak: "It seems that teachers must be trained in teaching translation" (Barcsak 1996, 174).

Harris and DeSimone argue that the teacher must have both training competency and subject-matter expertise. The first involves the knowledge and skills needed to design and implement a training course, the ability to communicate knowledge clearly, mastery of various teaching methods and techniques, good interpersonal skills and the ability to motivate students. Subject-matter expertise, on the other hand, refers to mastery of the subject matter to be taught.

7) Developing Lesson Plans

A lesson plan, as defined by Harris and DeSimone, is "a guide for actual delivery of the training content" (Harris and DeSimone 1994, 132). It is used to structure the lesson and to help with the flow of the class (S. Kizlik 2000). It is a way of communicating instructional activities for a specific subject matter. Lesson planning requires that the instructor identify in advance what is to be covered and how much time should be allotted for each activity. By planning the lesson, the instructor ensures that specific skill gaps are filled and teaching principles are related to the content of the learning experience (Charney and Conway 1998).

In order for the instructor to develop an effective lesson plan, it is recommended that the lesson plan specify:

    1. Learning objectives
    2. Target students
    3. Class prerequisites
    4. Content to be covered
    5. Selection and/or design of teaching/training media
    6. Sequencing of activities
    7. Timing and planning of each activity
    8. Types of evaluation items

Robert Kizlik lists the most common mistakes that distort or weaken the lesson plan:

"1 - The objective of the lesson plan does not specify what the students will actually do that can be observed.

"2 - The lesson assessment is disconnected from the behaviour indicated in the objective.

"3 - The material specified in the lesson is extraneous to the actual objectives.

"4 - The instruction in which the instructor will engage is not efficient for the level of intended student learning.

"5 - The students' activities described in the lesson plan do not contribute in a direct and effective way to the lesson objectives." (R. Kizlik 2000a)

Kizlik concludes that a lesson plan containing any of these mistakes has to be reconsidered and revised.

In conclusion, developing a translator training program is a creative task that must be approached systematically. It requires following carefully planned steps and making concerted efforts. It is a demanding task that necessitates teamwork, intensive research and considerable academic and professional background in pedagogy, training methodology, translating and course design and delivery.



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Caminade, M. and Pym, A. 1998. Translator-Training Institutions. In Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, ed. M. Baker, 280-285. London and New York: Routledge.

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