Translation curriculum and pedagogy: Views of administrators of translation services

Li Defeng

Following an earlier study on professional translators which appears in Target 2000, and another on translation students in Meta 2002, this article reports on an empirical study, based on both quantitative and qualitative data, on how administrators of translation/language services perceive translation training in Hong Kong. It will seek to answer questions such as the usual practice of and major considerations in recruitment of new translators; the major challenges the newly recruited face and methods and strategies they use to cope with them; the difficulties translators have in general as seen through the eyes of administrators, and the methods and strategies they use to cope with them; assistance translation agencies usually provide to help them deal with the challenges and difficulties; changes that need to be made to improve translator training. A comparison is made with my earlier projects on professional translators and translation students and pedagogical implications are also drawn in relation to some of the focal issues in translator training.

Table of contents

There has been an increasing interest in the relationship between translator training and market demands (see for example Durban et al. 2003; Li 2000, 2001, 2003; Pym 1993; Ulrych 1996; Vienne 1994). While all seem to agree that translation teaching cannot and should not be entirely separate from market forces, opinions differ as to how and to what extent translation training programs should relate to the real world of professional translation. Some scholars have argued vehemently against simulated professional training in the school environment, holding that translation programs should be aimed at development of student translators’ [ p. 106 ]reflective practice and problem-solving abilities whereas the part of professional translation should be taken care of at the workplace. For instance, Mossop (1999) believes that it is, and will always be, unrealistic to expect translation graduates to arrive at the workplace able to translate quickly and well, and therefore classroom training should be focused on reflection on translation problems and methods of translation, rather than simulated professional translation.

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