How can you help universities offer their students such skills - beyond transferring specialist knowledge - which they can rely on to better succeed in the labour market? How can you integrate modern ICT tools in translator training? How can you turn a professional concept into a successful project? These are some of the questions which the implementers of eTransFair wanted to answer in an Erasmus+ higher education Strategic Partnerships project which won funding in 2017.
Innovative translation methods in higher education - Introducing the eTransFair team
The project coordinator was the Budapest University of Technology and Economics Centre for Modern Languages (BME INYK). Interlocutors: Dr. Márta Fischer, Principal; Dr. Csilla Szabó, Head of Centre for Interpreter and Translator Training; Gabriella Kovács, Project Manager
The Centre for Interpreter and Translator Training of BME hadn't been involved in Erasmus+ projects before. What motivated you to apply for the first time?
MF: We knew that an Erasmus+ project could be the right means of renewing our translator training courses, and especially of introducing distance learning. Since the professional concept of the project took shape in my mind very quickly, we decided to apply as coordinators. This required two conditions to be met: a stable project management and a serious professional background. The first one was guaranteed by Gabi's involvement, and for the professional coordinator's job I looked for a professional translator-interpreter colleague - and found her in the person of Csilla -, who had an insight into the process as the head of training. Besides, a project of such volume means great prestige within the university, too.
GK: I have many years' experience as a reviewer and grant writer, but the Centre has never applied as a coordinator before. Therefore, we began with a minor Hungarian project, while constantly brainstorming about eTransFair. One of the most exciting parts of the process was when we translated our goals into the language of the grant application and we involved our partners in the work.
What was the greatest challenge you had to face during the implementation, whether professionally or in terms of project management?
CSSZ: From a professional point of view, it was primarily the fact that we hadn't known much our partners' professional expertise, relations and work ethic. The coordination of the research methods and the 'how' of joint publication were also a challenge.
GK: The intensive cooperation holds a mirror to both the coordinator and the partners. Specifying priorities and flexibility are indispensable, especially when one partner only focuses on meeting the commitments they made, whereas another one isn't even put off by extra duties.
How have the outcomes been integrated into the current translator training in the institutions involved in the project and those outside the partnership?
CSSZ: We integrated the outcomes gradually. Our colleagues tested the newly developed materials already during their classes, and our currently running blended learning based translator training, as well as our distance learning programme to be launched in spring 2020, were already built on those materials. The project outcomes, however, can have a much wider use, since the developments - including the highly popular electronic module (e-module) - are also available online (https://etransfair.eu/e-portals).
What is the achievement that you are proudest of?
GK: Having managed the initial difficulties, we have established effective cooperation with our partners. Moreover, the project has also yielded some unforeseen outcomes: a list of "soft skills" required for market success, as well as a series of interviews with prestigious representatives ("ambassadors") of the profession, which is available on the YouTube channel of the project, and may as well be integrated into the training programme.
CSSZ: We are also proud that we managed to involve a number of fellow training institutions in the partnership in a generally closed and competition-based higher education. It's also a great achievement that - as the only Hungarian project and as one of the 26 independent study cases - we were included in the impact study ordered by the European Commission's Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC), available here.
Is there anything you would, in retrospect, do otherwise?
GK: It's useful to find out about your partners' attitudes during the very first meeting, and specify commitments as much as possible, as besides the professional aspects, it will also fundamentally affect implementation. Financing could be another criteria when choosing your partners; you may want to test and then let go those who don't agree with the principle of even distribution of resources.
MF: It's also important to clarify the distribution of labour within the institution, as well as to set a limit beyond which we don't invest more into the development of a particular intellectual product, as our internal resources are finite. In other words, you should constantly bear in mind the right price-to-value ratio.
Approaching the end of the project, the question arises what plans you have for the future: is there a field where you want to further improve your achievements, are you planning closer cooperation with other institutions, or even a new project?
GK: Surely, we'll need a great rest, when that time comes... We definitely want to use this model later to renew our other training programmes, too.
CSSZ: Meanwhile, we are expecting fellow professionals to join us in the European Centre of Specialised Translators, offering various forms of cooperation.
MF: Next year, we will be focusing on our new distance learning translator training programme, as well as on programmes relying on the cooperation between the market and the university (meetings of the profession and the students, mentoring programme), further developing the project outcomes. We hope to meet many students and colleagues.
- Budapest University of Technology and Economics Centre for Modern Languages, Centre for Interpreter and Translator Training
- Hermes Traducciones y Servicios Lingüisticos
- Universität Wien, Zentrum Für Translationswissenschaft
- Competence card for specialised translators
- Transferable training scheme
- Pool of assessment techniques
- Stimuli provided for users
- Methodology portal
- European Centre of Specialised Translators
Last modified: 20-05-2020