Volume 15, No. 1 
January 2011

  Mahtab Daneshnia


Front Page

Select one of the previous 54 issues.

Index 1997-2011

TJ Interactive: Translation Journal Blog

  Translator Profiles
Another Accidental Translator
by Denzel Dyer

  The Profession
The Bottom Line
by Fire Ant & Worker Bee
We want a discount…
by Danilo Nogueira and Kelli Semolini
Time management by the Freelance Translator: Practical rules to schedule your workday and activities
by Maria Antonietta Ricagno

  In Memoriam
In Memoriam: Paulo Wengorski, 1951 - 2010
by Gabe Bokor

  Translator Education
Translator Training: The Need for New Directions
by Eileen B. Hennessy
Teaching Translation
by Mahtab Daneshnia

  Book Reviews
English Prepositions Explained (EPE) by Seth Lindstromberg
reviewed by Gabe Bokor

  Translators and the Computer
Overcoming the Digital Divide through Machine Translation
by Preeti Dubey
Computer-assisted translation tools: A brief review
by Ilya Ulitkin

Interpreting the Remarks of World Leaders: The case of the interpreters for the Indonesian and Mexican Presidents
by Isak Morin

  Literary Translation
Into Brazilian Portuguese: Culture and the Translation of The Glass Menagerie
by Marco Túlio Túlio de Urzêda Freitas and Dilys Karen Rees

  Caught in the Web
Web Surfing for Fun and Profit
by Cathy Flick, Ph.D.
Translators’ On-Line Resources
by Gabe Bokor
Translators’ Best Websites
by Gabe Bokor

  Translators' Tools
Translators’ Emporium

Call for Papers and Editorial Policies
  Translation Journal
Translator Education

Teaching Translation

by Mahtab Daneshnia



n teaching translation various elements play a role to give the instructors certain strategies and impart certain skills to students, so they can become competent professionals who learn to reconcile their different expectations with the objectives of the translation class, since the participants` aims differ from one another. It also provides them with the skills essential for the market.

In this article the researcher highlights the basic principles needed to guarantee these outcomes.

The role of language

In translating a text, the source and target languages should be considered and, since the grammatical rules are the backbone of a language, the translator should have sufficient knowledge of grammatical structures. There are students who have difficulty in distinguishing the tenses and applying them in their translation. Even the use of vocabulary differs in different contexts. A word may have different connotative meanings; therefore, it is the context that determines the words that should be chosen in translating a specific text.

Socio-cultural differences between two languages make the translator deal with nuances when translating. However, since this issue transcends the scope of this study, we just mention it without getting into details.

Translation: theory or practice

Translation, like any other science, is founded on theories that should be kept in mind throughout the translation process (practice). These theories provide the students with a solid basis; nevertheless, it is practice that makes a good translator.

Before taking any action in the translation classroom, the instructor should know about the students` background knowledge, their expectations, and interests. Such knowledge makes it easier to choose text assignments for the students.

To practice translation in the classroom, the students should start by translating short sentences, increasing the size of the text step by step up to a paragraph, with the structures becoming more and more complex. This is where the usefulness of studying grammar becomes evident.

Back-translation is another way to practice translation in the classroom because it is not only the choice of words, but also comparison between the patterns of two languages that results in a properly translated text.

Translation course characteristics

To train translators successfully, the number of students in each class is important. It has been proved that keeping the class sizes small provides a situation where every single student can participate actively in classroom discussions and enjoy equal opportunity to present their works. What is important here to consider is the level of proficiency of the students that must be approximately the same in each class.

The arrangement of classroom chairs also influences the work of students. Placing the chairs in a "U" shape in the classroom stimulates more interaction between the students and increases the sense of group work between them, allowing students to concentrate on their own and their colleagues' work better.

The assignments (materials) intended for the translation practice should be in the realm of the students` interests, and they should stimulate interaction between students in classroom discussions.

After doing the exercise, students present their work in front of the class and the other students comment on it, acting as reviewers. They critique each other's work and, at the end, the instructor explains the points that served as guidelines in the process of translation, but were not brought up by the students.

Throughout this procedure, students enjoy the use of some tools, such as bilingual and monolingual dictionaries, including on-line ones. Learning about the etymology of words from encyclopedias also helps the translator; this is the also a strategy that functions as an aid to learn vocabulary.

Translation market

One of the goals of translation courses is to make the students ready for the market; therefore, the instructors will be in charge of preparing them for a career in translation. They should familiarize students with translators` unions and associations, pricing of translations, and the difference between translation and interpretation.


Teaching translation courses aim at producing competent translators who will be active participants in the translation industry and open new windows to the world.

To conduct a satisfactory course, in addition to imparting knowledge about the source and target languages to the students, the instructor should teach methods and strategies to be employed in translation. The classroom situation and the types of assignments are also important. In addition, throughout the course, students acquire knowledge about the translation market and gradually prepare themselves for a career in translation.