Employability as an ethos in translator and interpreter training

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‘Employability’ is now a key term in university strategies in the UK and increasingly across Europe. Pressure to implement such strategies can lead to bolted-on rather than embedded activities within academic curricula. This paper argues that employability should be an embedded ethos for translation and interpreting courses in particular. Employability can be addressed effectively by using real world applications of learning, to enrich the discipline but also to provide distinct types of intellectually stimulating content. The University of East Anglia has a long history of this approach. This paper outlines case studies of effective practice at Masters and undergraduate level, including modules where students collaborate on translations for real clients. Such an endeavour poses important challenges, both logistical and ethical: how can we expose students to real-world contexts without taking work away from professionals? This issue can be unwisely ignored or a source of academics’ reluctance to engage in such activities. Using original data from a recent alumni survey and semi-structured interviews, we map the outcomes of such an ethos. We ask whether engaging in real-world oriented activities as students affects the professional paths of alumni, both in the translation/interpreting industry and in other sectors.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-138
Number of pages16
JournalInterpreter and Translator Trainer
Issue number2-3
Early online date26 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


    Research areas

  • translation, interpreting, employability, translator training, interpreter training, work experience

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