The role of machine translation in translation education: A thematic analysis of translator educators’ beliefs

Celia Rico, Diana González Pastor

Abstract


Discussions on the teaching of machine translation (MT) have usually remained confined to translation technology pedagogy. Syllabus design, models for competence development, methodologies and evaluation procedures in this area have benefited from advances in translation pedagogy, but findings relating to the teaching of MT have been slow to be implemented in the translation classroom. Numerous studies have reflected translators’ perspectives on MT, including those of professional associations, employers, and institutional organizations. Students’ perspectives have also been collected, but the voice of the translation instructors is yet to be heard. A number of  questions arise: What do translator educators think of MT? Would they be willing to use it in the translation classroom? If so, how and to what purpose? To answer  these and related questions, we present the results of a qualitative study conducted with a group of translation educators at Universitat de València (University of Valencia, Spain) in the context of a broader research project. We specifically investigated their beliefs and perspectives towards the introduction of MT into the translation classroom. We used open-ended questions to collect qualitative data, and subsequently analysed responses within the framework of Grounded Theory. Findings provide valuable insights for discussion on the following topics: MT literacy, the blurring of MT key concepts and categorizations, the effect of MT on the development of translation competences, agency in MT reaching a stage where there is no longer a place for the human translator, and the eventual eclipse of the translator.

 


Keywords


Translation pedagogy, machine translation; translator educators’ beliefs; thematic analysis; qualitative research

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12807/t&i.v14i1.1341