Scholarly article on topic 'Analysis and Training of the Required Abilities and Skills in Translation in the Light of Translation Models and General Theories of Translation Studies'

Analysis and Training of the Required Abilities and Skills in Translation in the Light of Translation Models and General Theories of Translation Studies Academic research paper on "Languages and literature"

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Abstract of research paper on Languages and literature, author of scientific article — Fadime Coban

Abstract The aim of this study is to examine abilities and skills that a translator needs to develop in the light of general translation theories and models. Translation contains different mental activities such as language, thinking, problem solving, memory, conceptualization, learning, information processing, perception, understanding, re-expression etc., which makes translation a complex phenomenon. Translator is not a passive element but an expert, who senses, processes the stimuli, signifies, and produces meanings again in another language. In order to make these entire operations a translator should equip herself/ himself with translation skills and abilities. Considering within this context, the topic of skills and abilities translators need to acquire was discussed in the light of the translation competence models created by the PACTE group and Gopferich and general translation theories. It was found out that there are so many different skills (e.g. the National Job Qualifications Authority defined 42 skills for translators) to be acquired which differ in text types, medium, code and field and also new developments in the technology bring with it new required skills to be acquired. Thus the departments of Translation Studies should take these new skills into consideration in the translator training and accordingly plan their academic programs as the world is always changing and so is the translation environment.

Academic research paper on topic "Analysis and Training of the Required Abilities and Skills in Translation in the Light of Translation Models and General Theories of Translation Studies"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 197 (2015) 707 - 714

7th World Conference on Educational Sciences, (WCES-2015), 05-07 February 2015, Novotel

Athens Convention Center, Athens, Greece

Analysis and training of the required abilities and skills in translation in the light of translation models and general theories of

translation studies

Fadime Cobana*

a University of Sakarya, Department of Translation Studies, Sakarya, 54187, Turkey

Abstract

The aim of this study is to examine abilities and skills that a translator needs to develop in the light of general translation theories and models. Translation contains different mental activities such as language, thinking, problem solving, memory, conceptualization, learning, information processing, perception, understanding, re-expression etc., which makes translation a complex phenomenon. Translator is not a passive element but an expert, who senses, processes the stimuli, signifies, and produces meanings again in another language. In order to make these entire operations a translator should equip herself/ himself with translation skills and abilities. Considering within this context, the topic of skills and abilities translators need to acquire was discussed in the light of the translation competence models created by the PACTE group and Gopferich and general translation theories. It was found out that there are so many different skills (e.g. the National Job Qualifications Authority defined 42 skills for translators) to be acquired which differ in text types, medium, code and field and also new developments in the technology bring with it new required skills to be acquired. Thus the departments of Translation Studies should take these new skills into consideration in the translator training and accordingly plan their academic programs as the world is always changing and so is the translation environment.

© 2015TheAuthors. Publishedby ElsevierLtd.This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of Academic World Education and Research Center.

Keywords: Translation Teaching, Text Types,Philosophical Texts, Translation of Texts in Areas of Specialization

* Fadime Coban. Tel.: +90 541 734 40 19 E-mail address: fcoban@sakarya.edu.tr

1877-0428 © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of Academic World Education and Research Center. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.07.074

l.Introduction

To determine which skills and abilities a profession requires has an important role in the acquisition of those required skills and in the planning of a curriculum accordingly. As in other professions, translation also requires some skills such as language acquisition, text competence, research competence, cultural competence, transfer competence and abilities such as decision-making, creativity, to give quick responses especially in the simultaneous translation and to arrange the time of response well. Translation actually consists of a set of activities and skills, but the fact that the person wanting to participate in a translation training program is inclined to translation will also accelerate the process of acquiring the skills that will be introduced in other sections. For example, translation has moved to different areas especially due to the impact of the developments in communication technology and current conditions. Therefore it requires the ability of quickly choosing among many alternatives and making decisions. What is important for translators is not to know everything, but to know how and where to find that information when needed, and choose the most appropriate one (Pym: 2012, 9- 10). That requires 'the orientation reaction' ability of the translator. This kind of ability is one of perceptual motor skills and refers to the ability of quickly choosing one from so many options. Likewise, especially interpreters must be able to respond quickly in a short time during the translation task. 'Resistance' considered as one of the physical abilities is one of the skills needed in particular for translators.

2. The concepts of skills and abilities in written translation

As explained before, translation consists of many different sub-skills. In the case of missing one of these skills deficiencies will occur in the translation process. However, learning of the translation and acquiring skills will be much more efficient and functional thanks to the motivation of the students, their predisposition towards translation, their interest in translation, conducted studies and exercises. In addition to the weak and strong capabilities of the students, text analysis in the previously acquired first language, text comprehension, understanding, and the amount of experiences gained in written and oral expression skills and a variety of other personal characteristics also take an active role in applying translation skills in an effective way. Students who are not open to social events before attending to an undergraduate program, already accustomed to the system of multiple choice questions (which is especially very common in Turkey, where the university entrance exam is held based upon only multiple-choice questions and thus an education system based on rote-learning predominates in the whole education system), undeveloped writing and speaking skills, will not have acquired an adequate experience in the skills required for translation and will exhibit a lower ability, also will give the false impression to instructors that s/he does not have necessary translation capabilities.

Upon looking at the translation activity, it is observed that there are different opinions on this issue. According to some, translation necessitates having ability or a disposition. For example, in order to make literary translations, one should have a predisposition towards literature or be able to write as well as the author himself. This kind of a suggestion is caused by the characteristic of literary translation itself. According to Gile (2009:9), literary translators must be able to understand both the basic informational meaning of texts, and fine shades of meaning as expressed by subtle choices of words and expressions, as well as by their rhythm, music, and images- and be highly aware of cultural facts, norms, trends and atmospheres. However, according to Eruz, translation is a task that can be handled by the translation competence. And translation competence is acquired through education. In addition, any translation task requires an intense mental effort (Eruz, 2008: 211). Translation competence can also be learned and taught and it includes cultural competence, language acquisition, text competence, expert knowledge, knowledge about translation, translation-oriented information in a professional field and research methods (Eruz, 2008: 219).

3. Translation Competence

A consensus on the definition of written translation competence has not been achieved yet. Different authors actually identify translation competence differently; Transfer competence (Nord, 1991: 161), translational competence (Toury, 1995: 250-51; Hansen, 1997: 205; Chesterman, 1997: 147), translator competence (Kiraly,

1995: 108), the translation performance (Wills, 1989: 129), translation capability (Lowe, 1987: 57; Pym, 1993: 26; Stansfield, Scott y Kenyon 1992) and translation skill (Lowe, 1987: 57; Orozco, Albir, 2002: 375).

According to Albrecht Neubert, translation requires a set of complex skills and knowledge about translation (Neubert, Schaffner, 2000: 4) and translation competence includes some specific skills such as language competence, text competence,the subject area knowledge, cultural competence and transfer competence. Transfer competence plays an active role in rendering the texts produced in the source language into the target language, and also covers translation methods and techniques necessary for handling of the translation task fast and efficiently. This competency includes four other skills. Without transfer competence, translators fail to perform the rendering of the source text into the target language. And Wilss (1976:120) argues that it includes three main skills translators should actually have; namely receptive competence, productive competence and meta-translational competence (Kelly, 2005: 28). Due to the highly complex nature of translation, translation is not an activity based on the mere language acquisition. On the contrary, it requires different sub-competences. The translation competence will be further examined below with the help of models.

3.1. Translation competence model of the PACTE Research Group

The PACTE Research Group built their first translation competence model in 1998 based upon empirical studies. They make a distinction between competence (the underlying system of knowledge) and performance (translating). According to them bilingual competence is just one component of the translation competence and all the other competences are inter-related. Moreover, translation competence is considered to be expert knowledge and it is mainly procedural knowledge. Later on, the strategic and psycho-physiological components were included in the model. According to them, translation competence is different from bilingual competence; it is the underlying system of knowledge required to translate; it is an expert knowledge including both declarative and procedural knowledge; but procedural knowledge is more predominant; it covers sub-competencies that are inter-related, hierarchical and the sub-competencies of translation competence are considered to be: a language sub-competence in two languages; an extra-linguistic sub-competence; an instrumental/professional sub-competence; a psychophysiological sub-competence; a transfer sub-competence; and a strategic sub-competence (Pacte, 2003, 47-48).

The bilingual sub-competence is predominantly procedural knowledge. It includes pragmatic, socio-linguistic, textual, grammatical and lexical knowledge in the two languages, while extra-linguistic sub-competence is predominantly declarative knowledge and it covers bicultural knowledge, encyclopedic knowledge and subject knowledge. The third one is knowledge about translation, which is predominantly declarative knowledge. And the instrumental sub-competence is predominantly procedural knowledge which relates to the use of all sources to get information. Another kind of competence which is procedural knowledge is the strategic sub-competence. This competence actually plans, evaluates the process and manages the translation project, identifies problems in the translation and applies methods to solve the emerging problems. And the last one is the psycho-physiological components such as memory, motivation, etc. (Pacte, 2003, 58- 59).

3.2. Translation Competence Model of Gopferich

Based on the two models of the PACTE Research Group, Gopferich created her own model. The strategic competence forms the backbone of the model just as in the re-revised model of the PACTE Group. The strategic competence allows the introduction of other competences; controls whether the competences come into play or not; and also allows the creation of hierarchies based upon the condition of the translation task. Translation competence consists of such skills as communicative competence at least in two languages, which are in parallel with the bilingual competence of the PACTE Group; subject knowledge being equal to the extra-linguistic sub competence of the PACTE Group, use of tools and research competence, which is also in parallel with the instrumental sub-competence of the PACTE Group. Translation competence covers also the competence to enable the translation as a routine activity, which refers to ensuring an acceptable equivalence of a certain number of translation activities in the target text and recalling them when needed and psychomotor skills which include writing and reading skills by electronic tools. More developed psychomotor skills in translating lessen the need for cognitive capacity. And the last one is the strategic competence, which functions in the same way as the strategic competence of the PACTE Group. It controls the implementation of

the above-mentioned other sub-competences. It allows the identification of priorities in translation as a kind of meta-cognitive competence; and also enables the identification of hierarchies between individual sub- competences and helps the macro strategy to be improved as indicated by Honig (Gopferich, 2008: 156).

Applying of the above mentioned sub-competences is determined by three factors. These three factors constitute the basis of Gopferich model: (1) translation brief and translation norms (2) the translator's self-perception /values and beliefs system about professionalism (3) translators' mental-physical structure (intelligence, perseverance, ambition, self-confidence and so on). Mental-physical structure of the translators will affect the speed of acquisition of translation competence. The spirit of criticism and perseverance exhibited to solve the problems encountered in translating can accelerate the acquisition of translation competence.

To summarize briefly, there are similarities between the above mentioned models although they have different characteristics. Translation skills that seem to be different in the superficial structure are actually similar in the deep structure in terms of meaning and content. For example, applying a macro strategy in translation in the model of Honig constitutes also the basis of the models created by the PACTE Group and Gopferich with a different name, namely the 'strategic competence'.

4. Translation Competence in the Light of General Theories of Translation

The discussions as how to make translations dates back to the ancient periods. The existence of translators was accepted during the Roman civilization. And Romans acknowledged that they obtained information from the Greeks, and something would have both the original and translation. In this period Greek philosophy and rhetoric began to be learned and translations were made by the Romans themselves. The fact that translation was used as a tool to conduct commercial relations with the civilizations encountered during the war and to exchange information paved the way for the emergence of the philosophy and theory of translation. Translators, writers and philosophers experiencing the translation process began to think about the problems of translation. For example, based on his experiences in translation, Cicero developed two translation strategies namely "ut interpres" (like translator) and "ut orator". On the other hand, Horace suggested the approach of "fidus interpres" (faithful translator). And Salevsky generally categories approaches in Translation Studies under two main headlines; namely the text-oriented and process-oriented approaches. And both text-oriented and process-oriented approaches are also divided into two different parts. Text-oriented approaches focus on the source text versus target text-oriented approaches. Some of the representatives of the source texts-oriented approaches are Reiss, Koller, Wills and Neubert. Nida, Reiss & Vermeer and Toury are one of the representatives of the target text-oriented approach. And Salevsky classifies the process-oriented approaches as communication-oriented and action-oriented approaches. Kade, Reiss and Nord are some of the representatives of the communication-oriented approach. And Vermeer and Holz-Maenttaeri are one of the representatives of the action-oriented approach (Ersoy, 2012: 61). The important thing in the source text-oriented approaches is that the content and structure of the features of the source text are given in the target text; while the content of the text replaces the linguistic and structural equivalence in the target text-oriented approaches. That theory voicing the cultural factors in translation does not deny the process despite focusing on the product.

4.1. Translation Competence According to Skopos Theory

The first one of translation theories having an action-oriented approach is the Skopos theory put forward by Vermeer. The factors such as the intention of the translator, the purpose of the translated text and the function of translation have an important place in the theory. Explanation of the purpose of the translation act enables also translations to be successful. Employers are the ones who start actions and need translation and translators also consult employers upon taking the translation decisions. Translators in the process are experts at this point. Translation strategies are determined according to the purpose of translation. According to Reiss and Vermeer the translator is;

"Er ist es, der letzten Endes entscheidet, was, wann und wie ubersetzt bzw. gedolmetscht wird, diese Entscheidung haengt von seiner Situationseinschaetzung im Hinblick auf die Translationschancen ab. Diese kann er beurteilen, weil er Ausgangs-nund Zielsituation kent, bikulturell ist." (Reiss- Vermeer, 1984: 86).

The Skopos theory creates one of the most important parts in the field of translation theory in terms of mentioning the target culture, professionalism and functionality. The importance of the target audience and culture in achieving the objective of the translators has better perceived further through this theory and professionalism has been discussed for the first time at a theoretical level (Yazici, 2007: 44).

Upon analyzing translation competence in terms of Skopos theory, some of the following points may be stated:

1. The purpose of the translation: Each action has a specific purpose. The purpose of translation also makes it easier to decide upon what kind of translation strategies should be applied.

2. Functionality: The translation product is of paramount to meet the expectations and needs of the target audience. Otherwise, a translation not addressing the needs of the audience will not be functional.

3. Cooperation: A translator has to get in contact with many people about the translation task.

4. Mental activities of the translator: Translation is an activity including a set of information processing, and cognitive skills of the translators. A cognitive skill mainly emphasizes knowing what to do and it consists of three components: namely short-term sensory store, short-term memory and long-term memory; long-term memory(LTM) is considered to be the storage space for experiences people gather over the course of their lives. Experiments indicate that LTM is essentially unlimited in both capacity and the length of time information is preserved (Schmidt, Wrisberg, 2008: 7- 55). A Translator is not just a passive reader of a text or a subject rendering merely linguistic signs. On the contrary, s/he understands the source texts, evaluates them based upon experiences in their long term memory, personal characteristics and takes functional decisions by taking the expectations of the target audience into consideration.

5. Cultural and linguistic competence: Translators are the ones who decide on what to translate and, when and how to do that. Translators can achieve that goal through the knowledge about the source and the target culture and language. Linguistic deficiencies in the translation may be acceptable in a way but the ones related to culture are not approved.

6. Purpose and goal-oriented action: Translation is a kind of an action and requires a specific purpose and objective like other actions.

7. Expert in intercultural communication: Translators are like a bridge between different cultures and play an important role in solving problems emerging between the two sides in a professional way.

8. Responsibility: Translators take the responsibility of the translations made by them in the same way as a doctor is responsible for his surgery or a teacher for the success of the students. They have to explain what, when and how to something when asked to clarify it.

9. Understand the text and also the task: Text comprehension is the first stage of the translation process. Any Translator firstly needs to understand the source text in order to create another text in the target language. Understanding of the translation task is of the utmost importance to reveal the functional aspects of a translation.

4.2. Translational Action ( Translatorisches Handeln) Theory

One of the translation theorists having an action-oriented approach is also Justa Holz-Manttari. The concept of "Cooperation" is one of the important terms of the approach. According to Manttari, translation activity refers to enabling communication appropriate to the function with the help of cooperation by overcoming the cultural barriers (Manttari, 1984:7-8). Upon analyzing translation competence in terms of the theory of Translation, the following competences can be illustrated:

1. Cultural and linguistic competence: A translator understands the source text and creates a target text through this kind of a competence as described in the Skopos theory.

2. Cooperation: The second point in joint with Skopos theory is the element of cooperation. Translators work with experts in the fields they do not know and they communicate with other partners on the translation task.

3. Communication competence: it is necessary for translators to have this competence to provide social cooperation.

4. Action: Action occurs as a result of each behavior. Translation is an activity consisting of whole activities.

5. Text competence: Translators produce texts in the source language with the help of transfer competence.

The highlighted points in Vermeer's Skopos theory and Translational Action Theory of Holz-Manttari are actually action, purpose, function, culture, the subject area knowledge, world knowledge, text competence, research competence and cultural and linguistic competence. Both theories have a target culture-oriented approach and expectations and needs of the target audience are taken into consideration in the process of translating.

4.3. Hermeneutics

According to Hermeneutics, a hermeneutical environment, preliminary ideas, empathy, openness and the examination of the text are necessitated for the realization of meanings. Translators are also individuals and subjectivity, historical and cultural factors, interest in the text, elements such as self-reliance in the language are activated naturally in the process of understanding. Moreover understanding is a never ending process. Translators can obtain something else on any readings (Stolze, 2003: 244).

Components of translation competence according to the hermeneutical perspective are as follows:

1) A holistic approach: Translation is handled holistically. The important thing in a translation is to read the translated text in general rather than the translation of the one by one sentence, or words.

2) Criticism of the current state: It is the translator's ability of self-monitoring herself/ himself externally. The translator constantly questions himself whether s/he has understood the source text correctly.

3) Reflection of the phenomenological impact of the linguistic signs: Each linguistic sign gains meaning in language that includes that sign. A Translator questions himself in the process by asking questions such as what is the actual meaning of linguistic signs and what do I understand from these linguistic signs? What kind of a schema do foreign objects have in my mind? What is the meaning of respect, courtesy, cleanliness, and family, friendship and so on in German or British society?

4) Culture and subject area knowledge: It constitutes one of the basic elements of the translation competence. A Translator understands and creates a target text based upon previously obtained culture and subject area knowledge. It will be difficult for translators who are deficient in domain specific or subject area knowledge to understand the text.

5) Expressing competence in the relevant field: This type of a competence play an important role in the production phase of the translation. Translators make different translations according to the target audience and text types. Therefore, it is important to consider the text type and target audience in the translation.

6) Information network creation: Translators constantly face with new information throughout their lives. If that new information as required can be stored in the long-term memory functionally, this information can be obtained later quickly. It actually refers to use long term memory consciously. People store information in long-term memory most successfully when they relate it to things they already know (Ellis, 2012: 173).In fact experts' schematic knowledge have been built for different types of speeches, texts etc. Novices on the other hand tend to treat each utterance in a more isolated manner and fail to establish discourse links. Experts use more global plans, whereas novices tend to favor low-level- microcontextual- plan (Schmitt, 1997: 257).

7) Lifelong learning: Lifelong learning of translators is a never-ending process. A translator constantly deals with languages, which makes it a must for translators to follow developments occurring in the source and target languages closely and must feel the pulse of the working languages. Otherwise translators will be behind the times. Because the translator's existing Knowledge Base is important, but ad hoc Knowledge Acquisition remains crucial and often takes up most of the time spent on a translation (Gile, 2009: 124).

8) Interest in new things: Translators need to be open to new ideas and things in the specialized subject or other areas. They may encounter texts from different fields. They can be expected to translate a medical text or another text that is completely different that subject area. Therefore, it is of great importance for the translator to learn new things, to be open to gain new experiences (Stolze, 14.02.2013, presentation made at Sakarya University).

5. Towards A Self- Regulated Learning in Translation?

As mentioned before, translation involves reading the source text, understanding and analyzing and then reformulating it in the target language for a specific target audience. It has a significant mental component. That is to say, it involves mental activities. For example we have heard many times about problem solving in translation.

Problem solving actually includes applying knowledge and skills acquired previously. However translation brings with it many different kinds of problems. Some are straightforward: All the required information or context is presented and the solution for it can be found quite easily. Other more complex phrases, sentences or translation-units may necessitate looking for additional information and two or more solutions to the translation-unit can be found. And still other translation units can be so complicated that it requires considerable research and creative thought. Different kinds of problems occur in translation as a result of many factors such as the lexical and grammatical differences between languages and the Skopos of the translation and expectations of the publisher, client etc. And different kinds of problems naturally necessitate different cognitive processes and types of knowledge. Upon considering the reality of translation we can apply a two- dimensional revision of Bloom's Taxonomy to translation. As it will be observed in the above given figure, translation also involves the processes of remembering, understanding, applying the knowledge acquired in the translation process, analyzing the source text and evaluating the end-product. All these processes are carried out based on types of knowledge as illustrated in the model of PACTE Research Group. When considered as a whole, metacognitive knowledge, motivation of translators and self-regulated learning can be stated to work interdependently. As stated earlier, beginning at an early age, some students have more opportunities to participate in translation activities or something to do with languages or foreign cultures or to participate in large social groups of people. On the other hand, students who are not exposed to communication activities at an early age or subjected to a rote learning based education system would not have a wealth of experience and these kinds of students do not have high levels of the necessary cognitive skills and abilities. In addition most instructors in the department of Translation Studies conduct a task analysis on an informal level by using their knowledge based on the required task components and the possible underlying skills. On condition that they do not have a deep understanding of the translation, it leads students to have misconceptions about the reality of translation. Misconceptions about translation cause lack of motivation, loss of orientation, confusion in students. For example, students in the department of Translation Studies may disregard a professor's definitions for certain concepts and they are likely not to accept the recommendations for teaching practice that is contrary to their own beliefs about how to do be successful in translation.

The solution for such kind of problems may actually be students' motivation and self-regulated learning. Self-regulated learning includes goal setting, planning, self- motivation, attention control, use of effective, goal-relevant learning strategies, self- monitoring, appropriate help-seeking, self- evaluation and self-reflection (Ellis, 2012: 356357). But of course it is triggered by the motivation of the students, which is of course paramount in the productive learning of the translation. Highly motivated people devote greater effort to the task, are more conscientious during practice and are willing to practice for longer periods. People who are not motivated to learn do not practice; make only half-hearted attempts (Schmidt, Wrisberg, 2008: 196).

Self- regulating translation students will set goals for a learning activity in translation, choose a strategy that leads to accomplishing of the goals, monitor and evaluate the process and will also look for new ways of adapting to changing conditions of the market place, which is constantly changing.

6. Conclusion

As a result, although components of the written translation competence vary according to translation-theoretical approach and scientists in Translation Studies, the basic elements are common. It is important for students to be aware of these competences, strengths and weaknesses of their character and to further develop their weaknesses and reinforce the strengths, in order to be successful in their professional life. People who are aware of the skills and abilities required by the translation profession endeavor to gain the needed skills. The important thing is to know what skills translation requires. As known, different translation tasks require different skills. For example, translations of advertising texts necessitate taking cultural, political, religious and economic differences into account and creativity, while texts written in the fields of economics and finance require having background knowledge on topics such as banking, insurance business, and stock market. Information in this type of text is presented as implicitly rather than clearly. Likewise, the translation texts made in the field of military have also its own terminology and require domain specific knowledge; having only a language competence is not sufficient in the translation of religious texts; elements such as the period in which the holy books were written, history, geographical conditions, the social perception and ethnological structure of that period should also be taken into

account. As translation requires a set of cognitive skills, translators need to know very well what to do and, when and how to do that thing. Being aware of the skills required for the translation task and taking into account the requirements of the task will enable to handle translation process more successfully. In addition, students who are aware of the skills required for the translation may find new ways to acquire these skills; not confine themselves to the mere translation courses at school. Because the brain is focused on the acquisition of skills related to the job, s/he can be constantly in the search for ways to improve those skills wherever and whenever it is possible. Translators can overcome all the difficulties faced during the translation task in the long run thanks to the motivation, love of the job and consider oneself as a man of the profession. Such a translator adopts the profession and it has a meaning to him. S/he follows the developments emerging in the profession. The most important element in the acquisition of the required skills is to devote oneself to the profession, be ready to learn the skills required by the profession and should be willing to do that. Otherwise, it is highly probable that translation skills will not be acquired properly. And for the translation learning to be productive, students should be aware of where to go and of course instructors should assist them in their efforts to be able to perceive the reality of translation. But the most important element is s maybe self-regulated learning and having an intrinsic motivation.

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