Social Constructivism in Translator Education: The Stakeholders’ Needs Assessment
The present survey-based study aimed at investigating the principles of social constructivist education in undergraduate translator training programs in Iran. To this aim, a needs assessment was conducted to identify market demands and students’ needs for three constructivist principles of authenticity, collaboration and scaffolding. Translation instructors, as the third group of stakeholders, were further surveyed about their teaching approach in terms of the three categories. To find out whether current translation education in Iran reflects market demands and students’ needs with respect to the mentioned constructivist concepts, the results of the surveys were then compared. Upon data analysis, it became evident that scaffolding, indicating students as responsible learners and teachers providing adequate support for the formers’ learning, was the most important principle for the first two groups of participants. Scaffolding was similarly described by translation instructors as the most common principle in their teaching approach. On the other hand, while professional translators and students consider authenticity as the second most important principle, it was profoundly lacking in the teaching approach university instructors take. Therefore, the results suggest that there is a big gap between the current and the desired situation in Iranian undergraduate translator training programs for the principle of “authenticity”, i.e. working on real translation projects with students taking various roles reflecting the real professional translation practice. The demographic information elicited from the surveys also provided evidence for this lacking connection between academia and professional translation practice in Iran.
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