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Teaching and Learning of Translation

  1. Kelly Washbourne

Published Online: 5 NOV 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal1151

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics

How to Cite

Washbourne, K. 2012. Teaching and Learning of Translation. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 NOV 2012


Translators provide products and services, and work with written documents, as distinguished from interpreters, who work as oral language mediators. Although it is less common to work in both fields, except at the community level, many students in translation and interpreting schools pursue a dual-track degree or course of study. It is generally accepted that the required skill sets for translation and interpreting only partially overlap. Traditionally, translators have learned their craft informally: through on-the-job training or in unstructured apprenticeships. Many translators today still learn by working in the language services market, though an array of program options within academia have opened in the last decades, commonly at the undergraduate (first-cycle) and master's (second-cycle) levels. Graduate or undergraduate certificate programs are another option, and are generally shorter than degree programs. The foundational degree is generally accepted to be the master's, whereas the bachelor's is seen as preparatory. PhD programs (third-cycle) in translation tend to be designed to train not translators but rather scholars of translation, usually in the academic discipline of translation studies. Qualified translation graduates find work as language policy consultants, translation tool vendor representatives, project managers, terminologists, acquisitions editors, literary translators, and translator trainers. Translators are employed in a variety of industries: schools and universities; major newspapers; multinational companies; health care and social assistance, especially hospitals; and other areas of government, such as federal, state, and local courts, or international organizations. Translation agencies (bureaus) also outsource much of their work to translation vendors. Publishing companies are employers of translators, usually through a work-for-hire contract; this type of translation is sometimes known as editorial translation. An increasing percentage of translators are self-employed, and thus today's students work toward mastery in more than languages—the mandate for a strong foundation in entrepreneurship exists, as in-house opportunities are growing steadily fewer. Many translators rely on other sources of income to supplement earnings, such as teaching or language consultancy. Most well-developed translation programs around the world offer some form of business of translation course in which such related professionalizing issues of self-marketing, standards and payment practices, and bidding for work are addressed.


  • psycholinguistics;
  • teaching methods in applied linguistics;
  • translation