Despite a recent, rapid growth around the world in interpreter training programs at the university-level, there is “very little [known] about what actually transpires in the interpreting classroom” (Pochhacker, 2010, p. 4). Some translator training occurs in other environments but by and large most instructors of translation work come from a university environment (Kelly, 2008). This is one reason why it’s unexpected that there is a dearth of experimental research on curriculum effectiveness, coupled with what Pochhacker (2004) identified as a “surprising lack of descriptive data,” (p. 4). The researcher noted that one university program, students enrolled across 25 interpreter training programs covering 11 languages reported very limited encounters with regular classroom assessment practices: only 12% had received feedback on audio-recorded translation exercises and just 16% had received direct correction from instructors while practicing translation in-class.
Kelly (2008) drew on a variety of professional resources to identify some critical features of competence for translator trainers. These features encompassed designing and leading curriculum, providing feedback to translator-learners and performing meaningful assessment of learners’ progress, ensuring the necessary resources are available to learners, remaining apprised of best practice evidence as it emerges in the field of translation and interpreter instruction, and remaining responsive and able to adapt instructional practice to changing concerns. Additionally, competent instructors demonstrate a core knowledge and understanding of translation studies as an academic discipline, familiarity with translation pedagogy and with effective instructional practice, a good grasp of learner styles and profiles and how to match practice to learner ability, an awareness of relevant instructional resources and the ability to self- evaluate.
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