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Guest editor's introduction
Translator Training: commodity or necessity? On the emergence of a new area of studies

Michail Sachinis, Imperial College London

Notwithstanding the fact that the act of translating has been performed for centuries, translator training was first institutionalised in the mid twentieth century. The first universities that started running translation courses were the Moscow Linguistic University (1930), the Ruprecht-Karls-University in Heidelberg (1933), the University of Geneva (1941), the University of Vienna (1943), Innsbruck University (1945), Karl-Franzens-University in Graz (1946), the Johannes-Gutenberg-University Mainz, in Germersheim (1947) and the University of Saarland (1948), and ever since the number of translation courses has been growing steadily.

Translator training is a fairly new branch in the academic field of Translation Studies which arose from the need to train translators in a systematic way. However, in spite of the explosion of writings on various facets of this new field worldwide, there is still no consensus on how translators should be trained. The problem is compounded further by the fact that the history of Translation Studies in general spans no more than about three decades, and translator training has only started to be addressed systematically in the last decade. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that the extant literature on translator training is quite limited, although this is beginning to change.

One of the first issues raised in the translator training literature was what constitutes the translation competence and how this competence can be taught to novice translators (see Jean Delisle, Amparo Hurtado Albir, Dorothy Kelly, etc.). Professional realism in the translation classroom has also been treated extensively (Christiane Nord, Daniel Gouadec, Jean Vienne, Douglas Robinson, Sonia Colina, Dorothy Kelly, among others).

Moreover, some translation scholars have grappled with process-oriented approaches to translator training (Paul Kussmaul, Hannelore Lee-Jahnke), and others with task/product-oriented approaches to translator training (Suzanne Zeng and Jung Ying Lu-Chen, Amparo Hurtado Albir, María González Davies, Ramadan Ahmed Al-Mijrab).

A recurring issue in the bibliography has also been student empowerment in the translation classroom, with its most ardent proponent being Don Kiraly. Other subjects often discussed in the literature are flexibility versus standardisation in translator training (Dorothy Kelly, Marcel Thelen, Anthony Pym, etc.), sequence/grading in translator training (Kinga Klaudy, Roberto Mayoral Asensio, Marianne Lederer), technology and translator training (Anthony Pym, Many Ann Kenny, María José Varela Salinas), as well as student and teacher motivation in the translation classroom (Christiane Nord, Yong Zhong, Dorothy Kelly, Moustafa Gabr), etc.

This special issue of JoSTrans on translator training aims to contribute to the general discussion of how translators should be trained, and it is my privilege and honour to guest-edit it. The issue, including twelve articles, covers a wide spectrum of subjects, and is divided into three thematic units. The first unit (articles 1-7) addresses issues specific to translator training, the second unit (articles 8-10) discusses the didactics of audiovisual translation and the final unit (articles 11-12) deals with interpreting. In what follows, the articles included in this special issue are presented succinctly.

In the first thematic unit, Elisa Calvo suggests ways of applying translator and translation competence models to translation curricula, while Gary Massey and Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow outline how methods to investigate translation processes can profitably be applied to translator training. The paper by Elsa Huertas Barros focuses on the acquisition of interpersonal competence through collaborative learning during the first stages of translation training in Translation and Interpreting (TI) faculties in Spain, while Łucja Biel presents an overview of the EN 15038:2006 standard and analyses its implications for the translation industry and specialised translator training in tertiary education institutions.

Next, Anabel Galán-Mañas elaborates on a project-based approach to translating authentic documents in a scientific-technical texts translation class, Roberta Raine describes the relationship between minority languages and translator training programmes, with Tibetan translation courses as her case study, and Vilelmini Sosoni deals with the training of translators aiming to work for the EU institutions.

In the second thematic unit, Paula Igareda and Anna Matamala present an audiovisual translation learning platform and discuss the main challenges that arose and how these were overcome during its development, while Dionysios Kapsaskis demonstrates how the professional identity and role of subtitlers is changing within the context of globalisation. By contrast, Ximo Granell elaborates on a methodology for teaching video game localisation in audiovisual translation courses.

In the third thematic unit, Akiko Sakamoto discusses how the use of note-taking for consecutive interpreting can assist in the teaching of written translation, and Noraini Ibrahim-González examines e-learning practices in interpreting didactics.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all the authors and reviewers for their hard work and excellent cooperation. I am also very much indebted to the editor of Jostrans, Dr Lucile Desblache, for her unwavering support and encouragement while preparing this special issue. Last but not least, I am very grateful to those who helped with the technical design of the issue.


Sachinis pictureMichail Sachinis, guest editor of this issue, is currently researching on translator training at Imperial College London, with a focus on aligning student needs and market requirements in a translation course. He has studied translation at the Ionian University (Corfu), Autonomous University of Barcelona, University of Surrey (Guildford) and Imperial College London. He has also taught translation both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and he has collaborated with a number of English universities, notably Imperial College London, Roehampton University London, University of Surrey, Middlesex University London and London Metropolitan University. Furthermore, Michail possesses extensive professional experience, as he was worked as a translator, proof-reader, terminologist and language instructor. He has also spent some time working as a translator in the European Parliament in Luxembourg and he is a member (MCIL) of the Chartered Institute of Linguists. Besides English, he is fluent in Greek, Spanish and German.