Translation & Interpreting in Foreign Language and Culture Courses


Pedagogy & Professional / Cultural Studies and Media Studies

Sara Dallavalle (University of Chicago)

Diana Palenzuela-Rodrigo (University of Chicago)

In the last twenty years, translation and translation studies have been experiencing momentous developments, while the role of translators as linguistic and cultural mediators is becoming increasingly important. The 2007 MLA report “Foreign Languages and Higher Education: New Structures for a Changed World” pushed toward the development of translation and interpretation programs within language departments, stating that “translation is an ideal context for developing translingual and transcultural skills as an organizing principle of the language curriculum” (2007). Additionally, in December 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that employment in this field would grow 24% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average. These are some of the reasons why, nowadays, numerous institutions offer translation and interpreting courses in the United States. Regarding foreign language teaching, the comeback of students’ first language in the classroom has led scholars to suggest that language pedagogy has entered a “translation turn” (Carreres et al., 2018). The benefits of using translation in the classroom are multifaceted. Translation pedagogy helps second language learners, heritage speakers, and multilingual students acquire new language structures and vocabulary. Translation pedagogy also improves students’ cultural awareness, intercultural competencies, and literacy skills. According to Sonia Colina and Sarah Albrecht (2021), “through translation, the students are using the first and second language to mediate meaning linguistically and culturally and are reaching new levels of intercultural awareness” (“Introduction,” para. 2).

In this changing learning and working environment, what role do B.A. language programs play in preparing minors and majors for careers in translation and interpreting? What new language courses should existing curricula integrate? What activities should instructors offer to intermediate and advanced students to better understand the profession, develop essential translation skills, and meet the linguistic goals of a language course?

This panel aims to explore ways in which translation and interpreting can be integrated into or be the focus of intermediate and advanced language courses. Some topics to consider might be (1.) translation/interpreting theory and practice; (2.) translation pedagogy; (3.) community-based translation; (4.) specialized translation: legal, scientific-technical, medical, financial, literary, multimedia (AV, websites, blogs, comics); (5.) translation/interpreting methodology; (6.) liaison, consecutive and simultaneous interpreting; and (7.) translation software and technology. Presenters are invited to share their approach to integrating translation in second language classrooms and their practical solutions in designing courses, choosing class materials, and creating assessments.