Active, strategic reading for translation trainees: Foundations for transactional methods


  • Kelly Washbourne Kent State University


strategic reading, reading theory, transactional reading, reading for translation


The often-neglected issue of reading—a skill that is inextricable from translation--affects virtually every aspect of a translator trainee’s profile, from resourcing skills to background knowledge to linguistic competence itself. How can empirical studies improve the teaching of the act of reading for translation? What can we do as educators to see that novices situate the text in the world, what I call world-involvement? What are the implications of students’ changing reading patterns and habits for translator training and education, particularly in an age of alternate literacies? How do reading models and their theorization fit with process-orientedness, and with the translator as subject, as negotiator of meaning, as constructively responsive agents of text transfer? Does it make sense to consider reading competence as part of the translator’s macrocompetence? This study aims primarily to engage with the research on reading, and with the changing conceptualizations of reading and the reader. A brief array of hermeneutic and textual analysis approaches and tasks that might be integrated in translator training curricula -- predicting, schemata activation, metacognitive monitoring, intertextual awareness-raising, and strategic processing—are then outlined, contributing toward a fuller repertoire of tasks and task construction components for strategic reading in translator training. In sum, a transactional view of reading in both non-literary and literary translation environments is proposed, and pedagogical interventions and diagnostics oriented in expertise studies and reading theory are examined.