Rethinking University Curricula in Translation and Interpreting: Insights from Alumni Surveys
As digitization and artificial intelligence continue to advance, there is a growing need to explore how university curricula can adapt, envisage the career prospects of graduates, and assess the impact of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF), machine translation and the pandemic (Šveda & Djovčoš, 2022) on the field of translation and interpretation. In recent years, there has been a growing scholarly interest in the professional careers of recent T&I graduates (Hao and Pym 2022; Vitalaru 2021), which are likely driven by the disruptive effects of AI advancements and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Building upon this momentum, this contribution seeks to explore the possibility of reconfiguring university curricula in the field of Translation and Interpreting (T&I), based on insights derived from an alumni survey conducted at the University of Trieste’s Department of Legal, Language, Interpreting and Translation Studies (SSLMIT). As Italy’s first interpreting and translation school, established in 1953, SSLMIT has a rich heritage in training translators and interpreters, making it a compelling case study to analyse the career evolution of T&I graduates.
The SSLMIT survey originates as a spin-off of the “alumni-netwerk” project carried out by the Dutch department of the same university, which received funding from the Dutch Language Union (Brentaro, 2022). Interestingly, even within this initial small-scale survey, students not only reflected on the T&I skills they developed at SSLMIT, but also emphasized the significance of incorporating a “rarer” language (in this case, Dutch) into their language combination. They observed that such inclusion enhances their competitiveness in the job market and cultivates the intercultural skills necessary for diverse linguistic contexts. This finding seems to challenge the growing emphasis on English within university programs, including those in the Humanities, and suggest that the potential career prospects for graduates specializing in “smaller” languages could shape in the future the preference for conference and community interpreting training formats.
By integrating insights gleaned from alumni, universities can ensure that their curricula remain responsive to the evolving demands of the industry, equipping graduates with the requisite skills and language combinations to thrive in the dynamic field of translation and interpreting. These insights will be presented within the larger scope of previous work on the status of interpreters (Gentile, 2016; Dam & Gentile, 2021), allowing for a comprehensive examination of the challenges and opportunities faced by T&I professionals.
Brentaro, G. (2022). La lingua neerlandese nei Paesi del Mediterraneo. Nuove prospettive su alumninetwerken, cultural policy e sbocchi professionali. University of Trieste.
Dam, H. V., & Gentile, P. (2021). Status and profession(alization) of conference interpreters. In M. Albl-Mikasa & E. Tiselius (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Conference Interpreting (pp. 275–289). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429297878-26
Gentile, P. (2016). The Interpreter’s Professional Status. A Sociological Investigation into the Profession. University of Trieste.
Hao, Y., & Pym, A. (2022). Where do translation students go? A study of the employment and mobility of Master graduates. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 17(2), 211–229. https://doi.org/10.1080/1750399X.2022.2084595
Šveda, P., & Djovčoš, M. (2022). Translation and interpretation in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic: A case study from Slovakia. STRIDON: Studies in Translation and Interpreting, 2(2), 25–43. https://doi.org/10.4312/STRIDON.2.2.25-43
Vitalaru, B. (2021). Public service interpreting and translation: employability, skills, and perspectives on the labour market in Spain. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 16(2), 247–269. https://doi.org/10.1080/1750399X.2021.1984032
If you’re interested in sponsoring TIC 2023, please contact us for more information. We’re on hand to create a package that meets your needs, so do not hesitate to get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
VEGA 2/0092/23 Translation and Translating as a Part of the Slovak Cultural Space History and Present. Transformations of Form, Status and Functions: Texts, Personages, Institutions.
VEGA 1/0202/21: Reflexia kognitívnych a osobnostných charakteristík v tlmočníckom výkone študentov PaT a profesionálov v reálnom a virtuálnom prostredí (Reflection of Cognitive and Personality Traits in the Interpreting Performance of T&I Students and Professionals in Real and Virtual Environment).
VEGA 2/0009/23 Kreatívne experimenty s textom v perspektíve kritického posthumanizmu: básnická, umelecká a prekladová prax v slovenskej kultúre v medzinárodných súvislostiach/Creative Experiments with Text from the Perspective of Critical Posthumanism: Poetic, Artistic and Translation