by Mariusz Marczak
|Dictionary of Education and Assessment in Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS)
Vorya Dostyar, 2019.
The Dictionary of Education and Assessment in Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS) contains 332 pages and 116 entries, of which 129 entries are blind entries. It has been written by Vorya Dastyar, who is a professional translator and interpreter, a translation teacher and the author of a number of publications in the field of Translation Studies, including Dictionary of Research Methodologies in Translation and Interpreting Studies (2017), Dictionary of Metaphors in Translation and Interpreting Studies (2017), and Dictionary of Interpreting Studies (2016). Dostyar has also been translated scholarly publications in the area of TIS – he translated Franz Pöchhacker’s Introducing Interpreting Studies (2016), and Claudia Angelelli and Brian Baer’s Researching Translation and Interpreting (2016) into Persian. Consequently, given his expertise in translator education and personal experience on the translation market, he is very likely to have made informed choices about the entries which he ultimately decided to include in the publication.
The main entries are arranged alphabetically, and they are printed in bold capital characters. What follows is a number of bolded and capitalised subheadings which mark fragments providing a more detailed discussion of selected aspects of the main entry, e.g. definitions, typologies and the pedagogical implementations of the phenomenon in question. The text is complete with cross-references and in-text references, which is to facilitate the reader’s navigation through the volume. The in-text references are key terms, which are printed in small capital characters when they occur within a given entry for the first time. The cross-references are listed at the bottom of each entry, with all-capitalised terms related through small arrows to corresponding terms that the dictionary contains.
The dictionary has been written on the basis of an impressive number of sources and the complete list of bibliography, which is provided at the very end of the dictionary, comprises a total of over 1600 entries. The sources used are predominantly in English, although publications in other languages, e.g. French and German, have also been listed.
The dictionary contains a selection of entries relating to translator education, translator training and assessment. While dealing with particular entries, the author sets out by introducing a general concept relating to education at large, but then goes on to demonstrate how the concept under discussion is relevant to translator education and training, or translation and interpreting at large.
To take an example, the entry of SCAFFOLDING divides into three major subsections: (i) Definitions, characteristics, forms and pedagogical implications, (ii) Zone of proximal development (ZPD), and (iii) Scaffolding in translation and interpreting education. The subheadings which demarcate particular fragments of the content are illustrative of the kind of treatment that numerous other entries are given throughout the dictionary. Thus, the author initially defines the term, discusses its origins and links it to Jerome Bruner, who conceptualised scaffolding in educational settings. Then the term is presented as one that falls into the framework of developmental psychology and related to the Vygotskyan concept of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). Subsequently, the author of the dictionary demonstrates how scaffolding has been interwoven into the fabric of the social-constructivist approach to learning and closes the entry by outlining what pedagogical implications the concept of scaffolding has had for developments in translation and interpreting education, e.g. the advocation of cognitive apprenticeship in translator and interpreter training, or the implementation of the social-constructivist approach with a view to enhancing self-reflection and reflective practices in translation pedagogy.
The in-text references that the reader can follow throughout the dictionary in order to explore this entry further are: SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIVIST APPROACH, INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, BLENDED LEARNING, EXPERTISE., INSTRUEMTNAL COMPETENCE, CHECKLIST, ASSESSMENT, SELF-ASSESSMENT, EDUCATION, TRAINING, CURRICULUM DESIGN, COGNITIVE APPRENTICESHIP and METACOGNITION, which illustrates the wealth of issues the reader can find in the publication before they study the concept of scaffolding at length. Interestingly enough, the author underlines that the workings of scaffolding in translation and interpreting studies remain under-examined, which could potentially constitute an inspiration for further research into the problem.
The entry concludes with a cross-reference (SECOND LIFE –> IVY PROJECT) which refers the reader to a description of the EU-funded Ivy Project – an original attempt to investigate the use of the multimedia-rich Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) of Second Life for the purpose of developing business and community interpreting skills at university level. The cross-reference makes the reader aware of the affordances and limitations of the utilisation of digital technologies in social-constructivist interpreting training, helps them perceive the long-standing concept of scaffolding from a much more up-to-date perspective, and in the long run is likely to inspire more innovative forms of translator and interpreting training as well as new areas of TIS research.
A weakness of the dictionary is the fact that certain entries contain descriptions which are incomplete in that they are slightly one-sided, thus giving the reader the false impression that a unanimous consensus has been reached on how a particular concept has been perceived. A case in point is the author’s treatment of Moodle, the commonly used virtual learning platform, which – after Tymczyńska (2009) – is presented as a “product [that] adopts the SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIVIST APPROACH and helps teachers enrich in-class instruction with online learning activities incorporating (new technologies and) multimedia, such as audio and video presentations and animations, to create an effective collaborative learning environment while addressing a variety of learning styles” (Dastyar, 2019, p. 125). What is problematic here is the falsity of a seemingly accepted agreement on the potential of Moodle to facilitate social-constructivist learning. The author seems to remain oblivious to the fact that virtual learning environments, including Moodle, have long been criticised as online extensions of the teacher-controlled classroom which actually promote teacher empowerment, reinforce teacher-centred instruction, and are so learner-unfriendly that students literally refuse to use them (cf. Weller, 2007; Allen, 2015; Desjardins, 2017). He only cites Braun et al. (2013) to observe that Moodle reduces communication to the written form and permits asynchronous, rather than synchronous, interaction.
Overall, the dictionary is rich in content and offers entries in a vast range of areas, including: teaching and learning theories, approaches to teaching and learning, concepts in educational psychology, forms of instruction, curriculum design, certification in education, teaching techniques, strategies for interpreter training, classroom management, errors, test types and forms of assessment, test validity, computer assisted translation tools, ICT-enhanced instruction, and macro-/micro-strategies in translation and interpreting, to name but a few.
Although the entries are not discussed in-depth, as a reference source, the dictionary delivers what it is intended for. It may serve well as a quick reference guide to TIS education and assessment or an extensive bibliography list, which makes it a useful addition to the resource collection of TIS researchers, educators, practitioners and students.
On the technical side, the A5 format renders it relatively easy to carry, while the hardback will make it resistant to damage, even if it is in intensive use. In places, there are a number of typographical errors – e.g. “amotivaion“* (Dastyar, 2019, p. 127) is used instead of amotivation – or grammatical and stylistic inaccuracies (cf. Dystar, 2019, top of p. 8). Yet, given what the book offers in content, the errors may be deemed negligible.