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María González Davies

Universitat Ramon Lull


In this talk we will explore how student agency and collaborative learning can interact to provide our students with professional and relational skills that set the basis for lifelong learning. Agency has been discussed and researched for quite some time in different learning contexts. Here, we regard agency as is the process through which learners become capable of strategic actions which form the basis for autonomy and confidence in their own proficiency and effectiveness. This process, in turn, aims at the development of their self-concept (identity) as translators. Collaborative environments are especially favourable to the development of autonomous strategic learning that involves self-regulation and engagement. This combined approach involves reflective practice through both planned and spontaneous learning opportunities embedded in contextualised activities, tasks and projects. Simulations and authentic projects will be presented to illustrate the points.

Sabine Braun

University of Surrey


Technologies have permeated professional interpreting practice and interpreter education in a number of ways. Landmarks include the introduction of simultaneous interpreting equipment in the 1920s and the first experiments with remote interpreting 50 years later; the evolution of computer-assisted interpreter training, virtual classes by video link, and the use of 3D virtual worlds to simulate interpreting practice for the purposes of education.

A wide array of technologies is available to facilitate the delivery of interpreting services and extend their geographical reach, to enhance an interpreter’s preparation and performance, and to support individual and collaborative learning of future interpreters. In addition, technologies for automating interpreting are gaining momentum. Arguably, however, we are at a point where the application and integration of technologies in professional interpreting practice and interpreter education needs to be reconsidered and renegotiated to ensure the continued relevance of educational efforts, the employability of interpreting graduates, and the sustainability of the interpreter profession.

Technological innovation has created a wealth of opportunities, but it has also brought challenges. Market pressures have led interpreters to accept working with technologies while training programmes have not fully caught up, and appropriate minimum standards have yet to be agreed in many areas. A generation of digitally capable millennials has raised hopes that the ‘tech-savvy’ interpreter of the future will need little training in the use of technologies, but to what degree this expectation covers the specific aspects of using technologies in professional interpreting contexts is a little explored question.

Research has begun to show that technology-mediated interpreting entails difficulties for interpreters including increased stress and fatigue, sometimes a decline in interpreting quality and clearly a change in working conditions. Reliable knowledge about the means of mitigating these difficulties and long-term adaptation is not yet available. This leaves interpreters in a vulnerable position and raises the question of how the insights from research can be ‘translated’ into politically and educationally relevant messages and activities for key stakeholders and students respectively.  

In addition, recent advances in ‘smart’ technologies have re-ignited the debate on whether machines will replace human interpreters. While the current state of machine interpreting seems to confirm, rather than challenge, the need for human interpreters, a question to consider is how ‘smart’ technologies can be exploited for the benefit of interpreting in different ways. Candidates are the improvement of interpreter education and the design of solutions for machine-assisted interpreting, for example to reduce the interpreter’s cognitive load.

This presentation will begin by charting the evolution of technologies in interpreting practice and interpreter education. This will be followed by a discussion of the challenges, questions and opportunities outlined above, drawing on the author’s research on technology-mediated interpreting (e.g. in legal settings) and the use of interactive communication technologies (e.g. videoconferencing platforms and 3D virtual worlds) in interpreter education. The discussion will highlight some of the key questions that a reflection on technologies in interpreting practice and interpreter education must seek to address, especially what motivates their use and what we can realistically expect from their application.


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