Association of Programmes in Translation and Interpreting Studies of the UK and Ireland (APTIS) Conference

Introduction 

The newly formed APTIS (Association of Programmes in Translation and Interpreting Studies of the UK and Ireland) was created in Newcastle in September 2017.

The 1st Annual APTIS Conference was held at Aston University on 23-24 November 2018. The aim of the conference was to act as a platform from which to enable translator and interpreter trainers, professionals and academics alike, to exchange ideas about the challenges and opportunities in translation and interpreting teaching in the current Irish and British contexts. Without a doubt, this conference certainly achieved this highly ambitious aim. The programme offered to delegates was extremely broad and well-balanced between both translation and interpreting  

The Call for Papers was very broad covering all scholarly and professional aspects of translation and translation studies; however, it was clear that many of the papers to be presented at the conference centred around around the theme of preparing students for the professional careers for which translator trainers are preparing them. 

Also, although the conference was also open to any non-UK/Irish academics, the main focus was on teaching and training in the UK and Ireland. Nonetheless, it was positive to see that contributions from colleagues from outside of Europe were had been accepted into the programme allowing delegates to learn from best practice that exists beyond the frontiers of Europe. However, it is probably worth indicating that representation from Irish (and Northern Irish) institutions was small despite the fact that these institutions also have an important contribution to make to the discussion. 

Project DaRT Contribution 

Project DaRT had the opportunity to present this postgraduate research model at APTIS this year. The panel was well attended by delegates from many institutions and the feedback that they provided what wholly positive. 

Our paper was entitled Project DaRT: PhD Researchers creating their own research narrative in Translation Studies. 

In this paper, we sought to address the imbalance that exists surrounding research into the training of translators and interpreters, which traditionally focuses on the development of undergraduate and postgraduate (e.g. MA) students. Whilst there is a generous offer of PhD Summer schools around Europe, these are only often available to those who have funding. Also, institutional barriers and lack of resources can often mean that training for PhD students within the field of Translation Studies is often hampered despite much goodwill

We presented ProjectDaRT as a potential model that could readdress this imbalance whilst still working within institutional parameters. Taking as its focus the concept of the ‘research narrative’, this diverse project was created as an opportunity for PhD researchers to be trained in how to create their own research narrative whilst remaining relatively autonomous. The visibility of researchers beyond their institutions is essential not only for job security but also for the acquisition of external funding.

Within the paper, we recounted how Project DaRT had evolved through three discrete phases that had contributed to our own individual and collective identity development whilst consistently underpinned by reflection allowing us to challenge and build on the direction of the research group.   

Brexit?

Interestingly, Brexit did not feature in many of the conversations or presentations of delegates. Perhaps this is because at the time of writing, many of the delegates were not aware of the potential impact that Brexit might have on translation and interpreting programmes throughout the UK.

Anecdotally, conversations that were had between delegates where the issue was raised did attest a concern with regards to student numbers. Many of those enrolled on MA programmes for example are of a similar profile to those at UCC. As a result, there was a concern that although European students may be allowed to study in the UK after Brexit, delegates complained of not being fully briefed on what the potential outcomes were of the ‘deal’ or the ‘no-deal’ scenario and, consequently, were concerned about a fall in student numbers. 

For those delegates from Irish institutions, there was a sense that Brexit poses somewhat of an opportunity for postgraduate studies in translation and interpreting. As a result, although their representation at the conference was small, it is perhaps important to press the issue more with Irish institutions to be present at APTIS because of the potentially greater role that they are likely to play in the future for European students studying within the field. 

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