One of our panel translators, Sandrine, reports on the course she attended in Auckland, along with Stefan and Claire.

Last month, I attended the Certificate in Collaborative Translation Teaching offered by the department of Translations Studies of the University of Auckland. The course focused on “cooperative and collaborative models of learning and teaching” translation and was designed for teachers and lecturers, as well as experienced professional translators wishing to teach. I was very enthusiastic when I first read about this course. Over the years I have had so many skilled migrants asking me about online translation courses and mentoring that I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to see if I could actually teach translation.

Image of a tui in a pohutukawaWell, I came back from the course loaded with ideas and lessons learned, not only regarding translation teaching, but as a professional translator too. Most participants (apart from Stefan and a couple of other translators) were lecturers and teachers, so my first impression was that I didn’t really fit here. However, I quickly realized how complementary both the skills and knowledge of the industry and universities are.

On the other hand, as the name of the course itself suggested, the whole workshop was articulated around the use of collaboration to teach translation. Therefore, we were asked to group, exchange, cooperate, interact, agree, disagree, compromise and work collaboratively as a group. We were also required to design a course aiming at teaching translation, both individually and collaboratively. At first, I must admit I was very skeptical, simply because most practitioners work independently and are very isolated. ‘Why teach new graduates how to work collaboratively when they’re going to have to practice on their own?’ I wondered. Well, by the end of the course, I had changed my mind completely. The result was outstanding. Groups formed amongst people from very different backgrounds to design extremely detailed courses syllabus with very challenging teaching settings, all this in less than three days.

I realized that after years of working alone behind my screen, I had forgotten about the advantages, the stimulation and synergy generated by exchange, group problem solving and “live” peer review. Most sadly, I realized I had as well forgotten how much more I could get out of my brain in a cooperative environment rather than browsing my online dictionaries.

I have come back home quite convinced and hopeful that a cooperative collaborative translation teaching environment could contribute greatly to “re-humanizing” our profession.

If young graduates are trained from the very beginning to work together, they could take us way beyond terminology forums. I do hope that educational institutions will keep fostering collaboration as a component of the translation process in its own right, so we can embrace technology as a new vehicle of team work and hopefully slowly transition from a highly computerized and anonymous industry towards hubs of translators working collaboratively.


Click below to find out more on the project Sandrine, Claire and Stefan collaborated on.

The Pohutukawa Method