PRODUCING THE TRANSLATORS OF TOMORROW: DESIGNING A STUDENT-CENTRED AND COMPETENCE-BASED TRANSLATION CURRICULUM FOR SAUDI UNIVERSITIES

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SARA MOHAMMED IBRAHIM ALMUGHARBIL
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The main aim of this research project is to investigate the extent to which translation courses in Saudi Arabia adequately prepare students to take up careers as professional translators according to current market needs. Saudi Vision 2030 acknowledges that graduates must be able to operate at a professional level of competence in order to be competitive in terms of employability. Accordingly, there is a need to improve the translation skills and competences of graduates of translation courses in Saudi Arabia and, more broadly, in the Arabic-speaking world. Using a Saudi case study, this research explores how competency-based course content can be combined with analysis of multiple stakeholders’ perspectives and a review of research, policies, and best practice to identify potential gaps between undergraduate translator training approaches and the needs of the translation industry. Primary data has been collected by surveying four samples: a sample of staff teaching translation modules at Saudi Universities, a sample of students and graduates of EFL and translation at Saudi universities as well as a sample of some of the top employers in Saudi Arabia. The data gathered is intended to help the course designers and educational practitioners in developing translation skills curricula through evidence-based recommendations. By implementing them, universities can more closely align the translation components of undergraduate degree programmes with the needs of the market, thereby enhancing graduates’ employability. The results shed light on the changes that have to be made in the current provision and existing teaching practices, curricula, and student skill sets in Saudi universities. These changes could improve the course design and teaching of translation so that these universities can produce graduates with the necessary vocationally oriented profile to work in the translation sector. This research can also help to inform education policy in the HE sector in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region overall.
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