It is acknowledged by many practising translators and academics as well as by the EU’s Directorate General for Translation that intercultural skills are an integral part of what translators need. At the same time, these skills are often not explicitly developed in postgraduate programmes in Translation and there is little published literature, making rapid innovation difficult.
Against this background, seven institutions from different parts of the EU, all involved in work in this area, applied successfully to the EU for partial funding of a two-year project to start in October 2011. The core aim of the project was to make it easy for HE institutions within the EU to introduce Intercultural Competence into their postgraduate programmes or to improve their provision.
To this end, the project has produced
- a report on a survey conducted in six EU countries across a wide range of Higher Education institutions all running postgraduate translation programmes. The survey focused on current and desired practice in the teaching of Intercultural Competence to translators
- a curriculum framework, linked to the survey outcomes, which can form the basis of a syllabus for a stand-alone module in Intercultural Competence for Translators or which can guide the introduction of intercultural elements into modules right across programmes
- a set of sample materials for the teaching and assessment of Intercultural Competence as both a stand-alone module and as a cross-modular theme
- a summary report presenting the project's findings on what constitutes good practice in the teaching of Intercultural Competence to translators.
The methodology employed in the generation of these things was fairly standard within the context of curriculum design and innovation. The survey aimed to determine what HE institutions need and want in order to move forward. The curriculum framework was based on the survey and on the input of the experts in Translation Studies and Curriculum Design within the participating institutions. The teaching and assessment materials correspond directly to the individual components of Intercultural Competence identified in the curriculum framework and were all carefully piloted and revised and along with the other outcomes of the project are freely available on the project website.
This paper will not only present the outcomes of the project but will also include a critical reflection on the project’s implications for how we conceive of the intercultural aspects of translation processes and the implications this has for pedagogical practice.
Dr Robin Cranmer ([email protected]) is Senior Lecturer in Language Education and Intercultural Communication at the University of Westminster. He is one of a team of three at Westminster co-ordinating the EU-funded project ‘Promoting Intercultural Competence in Translators’ (PICT). In addition to teaching Intercultural Communication to translators, interpreters and other categories of professional having a clear need to possess intercultural skills, he also does research and publishes in this area. He has most recently written on the intercultural challenges facing translators working with museums and galleries.
Rob Williams ([email protected]) is currently a Principal Lecturer in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Westminster. He is course leader for the MA International Liaison and Communication and teaches modules in Current Developments in Language Teaching and in Testing and Assessment on the MA TESOL. He has also been involved in a number of EU funded projects related to language education, materials development and intercultural training. Most recently he has been one of a team of three, co-ordinating the PICT (Promoting Competence in Intercultural Communication) project.