Friday, 14 February 2014
Wednesday, 15 January 2014
Please read the link
Further retroaction :
Recent trends in Higher Education emphasize the need to extend such initiate to the university context as well. This has started in many western universities; nevertheless, at Arab based context, this needs to be initiated. Research revealed that significant learning/performance outcomes could be achieved if the 'human factor' (teachers / trainers and students alike) was taken seriously. This endeavor should not only be backed up with research insights from translation studies, but also from curriculum studies and mainstream pedagogy (such as the professionalization of the teaching profession - especially in professionally oriented translation programs).
Great move from Saudi Arabia to translation the contents / bylaws of the International Court of Justice into Arabic. That benefits the practice, the profession as well as society.
Please read the link (InArabic)
Please read the link (InArabic)
Saturday, 11 January 2014
Not reforming our translation curriculum and pedagogies but rethinking , 'renewing' and 'remedying' them !
In the case of the Arab-based university translation programs, and as a result of our recent review of the literature on teaching and curricula design practises in translation programs in the Arab world (especially gulf countries), as well as my own experience as a practitioner (educator) in the field, let us to conclude that there is a disturbing and amateurish practise of planning courses and programs of translation within faculties where the program is installed. Furthermore, we realised that the classroom teaching ( with none of/ or little of training or educating for the profession) needs to be reviewed and re-approached in a way that could match the way other professionally oriented programs were delivered/facilitated ( engineering, law, medicine) in higher education contexts.
We think that there is an issue with the above. Traditional curricula evaluation have always addressed 'content' issues and less has been placed on process(translator agency/competencies) or human capital issues (students, trainers, faculty) (Kelly, 2005, 2008). Besides, most of these evaluated programs were carried out by organisations or external evaluators that have little to do with MAIN FRAME discipline of TRANSLATION STUDIES and its various approaches and dimensions , the new sub-field of Translator Education and Training that is taking pace, and last the mainstream pedagogy and curriculum studies . In our opinion , these are the knowledge frameworks we would preferably seek into the entity which will give us feedback on our programs.
The worst thing is that these programs are , according to our experience as trainers and faculty in the field, designed by internal faculty operating in different knowledge frameworks (linguistics, literature) and know little about 21st century translation industry, translator work patterns, employers' requirements, type of competencies that would lead students to employment ..etc. Consequently, the program suffers from disturbances either at the design/development or implementation/intervention levels ( including modes of assessments).Also, social and institutional criteria are rarely included in teh design process (local issues, institutional criteria).
That is the point we addressed in our title as an issue . Hence, reforming could not be the answer, but perhaps 'renewing' (Kearns, 2006) and 'remedying' (Atari, 2012) could be the answer. We are currently working on that issue in our ongoing doctoral research. Instead of relying only on our experience and what the literature said about the topic, we are going to undertake a ground research with the stakeholders (immediate and on-immediate) to determine their needs and perceptions about translation practise and how we - as training providers- could develop a framework for university trainers/faculty to undertake sound approaches based on informed decisions and data.
Monday, 4 November 2013
This week I was reviewing Kearn's (2006) PhD thesis on curriculum issues in Translator Training in Europe in general and mostly in his teaching setting (Poland). I compared his insights to the situation in the Arab World. I found many similarities in terms of course contents, teaching methods and institutional (university and departmental) as well as faculty's ideologies in a translation programme.
One of the striking issues I paid attention to is the concept of ' the hidden curriculum'. He means by this any curriculum in translation or interpreting that is not based on curriculum studies/theories in higher education, disciplinary issues specific to Translation ( focus on translation studies as a framework of reference: theoretical and applied), the professional aspect of translation and -last- the pedagogical approach for subject specific domains ( professionally oriented disciplines) the likes of translation. Kearns(ibid) had deplored the ongoing use of unplanned , impressionistic and reductionist curriculum design and development strategies in translation programmes. Any faculty in the department, regardless of his or her being competent in all the previous knowledge domains and corresponding practices- could come forward and pretend to design/develop curricula for the corresponding department.
We feel that this violates the Quality Assurance criteria prescribed in both Higher Education Standards (Required knowledge frameworks/competencies for teaching scholarship) as well as in the Professional Standards of the Translation profession ( Check The recent European Standard EN15038) which has been used by many curricular designers to develop quality-based and professionally-oriented translation/interpreting programmes within an academic context.
We really do need to redesign, develop and keep monitoring our pedagogies and curricula in translation programs. The type of epistemologies and ideologies as well as teaching approaching need to based on consciously planned criteria from either mainstream pedagogy/curriculum studies, translation studies and professional guidelines (market requirements). Only this could ensure desired outcomes for todays translation market . In saying that, we stay very watchful to not get carried away by the unstable requirement of the industry, but we stick to our principles as academics with a fair stretch and flexibility to what the employers are looking for.
Tuesday, 15 October 2013
The following is a quote from one of my ongoing reflections in my research on translator training and curricula development for translation programs in at Arab based universities (Gulf countries).
The teaching and learning environment in traditional face to face translator training programs in the Arab world were portrayed as lacking relevant pedagogical approaches that are congruent with the real demands of the translation industry and market demands. (Al Qinai, 2010; Fargahl, 2009; Atari, 2012). And that translator training programs are not integrating valuable vocational and professional components showing a key requirement for the face validity of such programs and that they remain confined to linguistically oriented models leading to decontextualising the translation assignments which become unclear and purely translation for philological or pedagogical purposes sine qua (Atari, Ibid; Buhmaid, Ibid; Emery, 2000). Also, that course objectives or ‘intended learning outcomes’ were not clear from the list of objectives designed by the course designers or faculty ( Bahumaid, Ibid). Kelly (2005) had highlighted that assessments in any study outline of any course should be aligned with the listed objectives. In more depth and details Biggs (2007) referred to constructive alignment principle whereby intended outcomes, activities and assessment tools should be aligned. In relation to the situation in Arab speaking universities, Atari (2012, p. 110) quoting from (Buhmaid, 1995; Emery, 2000) stresses that ‘there is a lack of well defined and well-formulated learning outcomes- if existent in the first place’. This sounds very degrading for such a program whose responsibility –amongst others- is to educate and train responsible citizens, who at one stage will undertake decisive and important decisions in their textual and discursive choices within society.
Further, translation courses are embedded in English departments and they tend to be taught mostly by faculty holding degrees in linguistics or English literature. Some had experience in translating but with little knowledge of the 21st translation industry working patterns, and others who did moderately practice translation as amateurs or on a part time basis, while a big chunk of faculty practicing classroom teaching of translation had never been professional translators (Atari, 2012). It is also argued that there is insufficient competent translator trainers at the Arab universities, which represent a hurdle to advance and improve translator programs (Fargal, 2009). Given the impact of technology on teaching and learning, personnel with IT background, knowledge of the translation proper subject matter and with real world professional experience can be a good competitive advantage for the department. Al Qinai (2010) had already mentioned that there is a need for educators who can themselves be on the ground and carry out classroom research to really get the authentic feedback, insight and results that the translator training communities either in the Arab universities or elsewhere would be looking for to embrace....)
Extracted from an ongoing PhD work in progress....