How to teach translation

Being a professional translator requires a certain degree of knowledge and objectivity – but what about teaching translation? Some would argue that only the most respected and experienced translators are able to teach new writers about the niche.

However, that is not always the case, since translation requires individual effort and professional development, not just mentorship. What are some of the must-know rules of teaching translation to fresh and ambitious young minds in order to get them up to date as soon as possible?

Start with oral exercises

Depending on whether you are working individually or in a group, you can implement oral exercises fairly easily into your course. These exercises aim to develop a critical mindset with new translators, allowing them to practice speaking the languages they will translate to and from tomorrow.

Focus on technical details of translation, common phrases and problems found in translation as well as client-translator communication. Practicing these fundamental phrases and conversations will allow your students to gain a better understanding of the niche.

Differentiate the tasks

Just like with any school course, you should differentiate the tasks you present to your students as much as possible. Start by translating classic literary works and their famous paragraphs and work your way through literature all the way to technical and article translation.

Your students will have the ability to see which types of translation suit them more than others, as well as have the ability to practice in a controlled environment without repercussions. You can use a best translation service such as Pick Writers to see what types of translation are trending now and teach your students about charging for their work later on through these examples.

Use group activities

While the majority of professional translators work on an individual basis, courses and practice are a good way to give the students a chance to work together. You can assign larger tasks to pairs or groups of more people and see what they can do with the work delegated to them.

This is a good way to measure your students’ ability to work together as a team as well as appreciate the individuality they will have later on even more. Translation can be done much faster and better when two or more people are involved in the writing and editing process – give your students a chance to see that firsthand.

Revise the texts aloud

Reading the texts that were previously translated in front of everyone is a great way to teach the entire group about the good and bad points of each assignment. This is a great way to practice reading, revising and even rewriting parts of translation that were done poorly in the initial draft.

Everyone can learn from the mistakes done by one student, and that student shouldn’t feel bad about their mistake – they are bound to happen to anyone. Revise each assignment aloud and give everyone the ability to be heard by the group. Subsequent feedback and objective criticism is also a good way to wrap the entire task up.

In summation

You will only have a short period of time in which you can influence your students. Use that opportunity to promote professional, lifelong development. Just because someone completed your translation course doesn’t mean they are fully ready to be professional translators.

Their journey towards professional development should never end if they want to be the top translators in their respective niches. Emphasize continual development and give tips as to where they can get more experience as soon as your course is done in order to maximize the impact of their newly gained knowledge.