The ever-more globalised world of today requires a new type of translator. Text genre, audience, style and register all maintain their relevance. In an interconnected world the necessity to understand complex cultural contexts and to adapt messages to heterogeneous and hybrid audiences is becoming crucially important. Translators, more than simple interlinguistic negotiators, are increasingly becoming intercultural negotiators working on porous cultural boundaries and across power hierarchies. Training in Intercultural Communication thus becomes paramount in the training of high quality translators and yet the intercultural training and assessment that takes place on academic or professional programmes remains limited or undefined.
Acknowledging this need, in recent years there has been a push to modernise the skill set with which translators emerge from training and to put them in a position to function more appropriately and innovatively in the workplace. Important academic figures such as Michael Byram, formerly an advisor to the Council of Europe on language and intercultural issues, has long been an advocate of the necessity of developing intercultural as well as linguistic skills for translators. The International Permanent Conference of University Institutes of Translators and Interpreters (CIUTI) has also promoted the idea of integrating intercultural as well as linguistic and technical skills. The creation of the European Masters in Translation (EMT) which highlights the importance of intercultural communication training has furthered this agenda, too.
Besides these top level initiatives, there have also emerged grass-roots ones such as Promoting Intercultural Communication in Translators (PICT), an EU sponsored project which developed a curriculum framework, training and assessment materials for intercultural communication for academic translation programmes. The project, bringing together seven partner universities from across Europe, spent two years developing a large array of versatile pedagogical materials which can be accessed here.
The research and policy agenda in this area is currently being taken forward by new initiatives such as a special issue of the journal The Interpreter and Translator Trainer focusing on “Training and Assessing Translators’ Intercultural Competence.” We are currently inviting contributions to this special issue. Articles addressing one of the several themes of this special issue are invited. For more information please see the call for papers available here.
Improving the intercultural communication of future generations of translators is becoming a recognized priority for academic and professional training institutions around the world. Share your experience and views of it via the above call for papers.