Situated learning in translation research training: academic research as a reflection of practice

Interpret Transl Train. 2016 Jan 2;10(1):12-28. doi: 10.1080/1750399X.2016.1154340. Epub 2016 Apr 29.


Situated learning has become a dominant goal in the translation classroom: translation didactics is being developed in a learner-, situation- and experience-based direction, following constructivist and participatory teaching philosophies. However, the explicit use of situated approaches has, so far, not been the centre of attention in translation theory teaching and research training. As a consequence, translation theory often remains unconnected to the skills learned and topics tackled in language-specific translation teaching and the challenges experienced in real-life translation practice. This article reports on the results of an exploratory action research project into the teaching of academic research skills in translation studies at Master's level. The goal of the project is to develop and test possibilities for employing situated learning in translation research training. The situatedness perspective has a double relevance for the teaching project: the students are involved in an authentic, ongoing research project, and the object of the research project itself deals with authentic translation processes at the workplace. Thus, the project has the potential to improve the expertise of the students as both researchers and reflective practitioners.

Keywords: ethnographic translation research; research education; situated learning; translation research training; workplace studies.

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) under Grant P26332.