Dictionary of Education and Assessment in Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS)

Vorya Dastyar (2019)

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Place of publication: Newcastle upon Tyne. ISBN 9781527521483. Pp. 320. Price: €64.99.

Reviewed by: Sara Laviosa

The first dictionary of Translation Studies was published in the mid-1990s (Shuttleworth and Cowie 1997). That was a time when the study of translation and interpreting was evolving into an interdiscipline (Snell-Hornby et al. 1994) and its terminology was being enriched by the exchange of knowledge and methodologies with literary studies, philosophy, anthropology and linguistics. That was also a time when many terms were being coined within Translation Studies “in order to describe concepts and phenomena specifically relevant to the study of translation” (Shuttleworth 1997: vii). One of the aims of the Dictionary of Translation Studies was to provide a balanced overview “of some of the issues, insights and debates in Translation Studies, inasmuch as these [were] reflected in the discipline’s terminology” (Shuttleworth 1997: ix). It is worth pointing out that this reference book was intended to be “a dictionary of terms, not topics” (Shuttleworth 1997: x).

Two years later, a multilingual dictionary of translation was published, Terminologie de la traduction. Translation Terminology. Terminologia de la Traducciόn. Terminologie der Übersetzung (Delisle et al. 1999). The aim was not to cover the totality of the concepts that were used in Translation Studies, but to present those notions that were considered most useful for translation teaching in university settings. As stated in the introduction, “Le termes jugés utiles en enseignment pratique de la traduction sont ceux qui sevent à décrire certain faits de langue, le processus de la traduction, les procédés de transfert interlinguistique ou encore le résultat de l’opération” (Delisle et al. 1999: 3).

Ten years later, Giuseppe Palumbo (2009) authored a valuable reference book addressed mainly to students of translation, Key Terms in Translation Studies. Fully acknowledging the interdisciplinary nature of the discipline as a whole, Palumbo provides an introductory survey of the field by selecting those terms and concepts that represent most current perspectives on translation, leaving aside interpreting. He also added a section called “Key Thinkers in Translation Studies”, which presents a snapshot of the work of some scholars considered particularly influential in the development of Translation Studies, namely, Andrew Chesterman, Basil Hatim and Ian Mason, James S. Holmes, Juliane House, Peter Newmark, Eugene A. Nida, Mary Snell-Hornby, Gideon Toury, Lawrence Venuti and Hans J. Vermeer (Palumbo 2009: 3-4).  

Vorya Dastyar’s new dictionary differs from its predecessors since it aims to “offer an in-depth, comprehensive coverage of key terms and topics with regard to training, educating and assessing translators and interpreters in academic settings” (xi). The intended readership is composite. It includes translation and interpreting researchers, educators and trainers, undergraduate and graduate students as well as professional translators and assessors. Dastyar adopts an interdisciplinary approach. Each entry presents first a definition of the term within the field in which it originally occurred. Then, it explains how the term is used in the specific field of Applied Translation and Interpreting Studies. For example, the entry on action research explains how this term originates in social psychology and has recently been advocated as an innovative learning and teaching practice in translation and interpreting education. Given that the author’s stated goal is to deal with terms and topics relating to training, education and assessment, one would have expected to find a title that accurately pointed to all three realms of scholarly enquiry and practice. Instead, the title seemingly foregrounds only education and assessment.

My favourite alternative would be either Dictionary of Translator and Interpreter Training, Education and Assessment or Dictionary of Translation and Interpreting Pedagogy and Assessment. The former option gives visibility as much to training as it does to education and assessment. Indeed, the importance of training cannot be underestimated as is clearly shown by the corresponding dictionary entry, that runs over 17 pages just like assessment, while education is covered in a relatively short space of 3 pages. The latter option is born out of the definition that Dastyar himself provides for pedagogy, which is regarded as a superordinate term that subsumes training and education.

The term pedagogy, from the ancient Greek word paidagogos meaning ‘the slave who led children to school’ […], can, as un umbrella term to encompass both EDUCATION and TRAINING, be defined as all the processes and phenomena of teaching and learning in educational contexts, with CURRICULUM and SYLLABUS (what is taught) and the methodology (how it is taught) serving as its main components to make sure that instruction is done properly and professionally” (134).

This stance is in line with Kelly and Martin’s (2009: 294) observation that the distinction between training and education is not entirely clear-cut and the term pedagogy is sometimes used to encompass both approaches to developing translator and interpreter skills.

Consonant with the aim of the present dictionary, which is to focus on three research arenas that find their place within Applied Translation and Interpreting Studies, most of the terms and topics surveyed by the author are relevant to teaching methods, testing techniques and curriculum design, in accord with the subdivisions of translator training envisioned by James S. Holmes (1972). By way of example, the entry on training contains numerous cross-references to terms germane to translation and interpreting learning and teaching approaches and methods, e.g. blended learning, experiential learning, feedback, mock conference, note-taking, problem-based learning (PBL), shadowing, situated learning, social constructivist approach, task-based instruction, transformative learning, translation diary, transmissionist approach. Each of the above terms are also defined fairly comprehensively in separate entries.

As for testing methods, the entry on assessment contains references to a broad range of terms, each with their own entry, e.g. criterion-referenced testing (CRT), formative assessment, ipsative assessment, norm-referenced testing (NRT), online/web-based assessment, peer assessment, portfolio assessment, self-assessment, summative assessment. The same applies to the domain of curriculum design. The entry on curriculum first gives a general definition of the term. Then, it provides an account of the different elements of curricular design in Translation and Interpreting Studies such as needs analysis, course, syllabus, curriculum evaluation.

Some entries, however, are problematic in terms of their coherence with the declared intent of the dictionary. The entry on corpus, for instance, outlines, quite rightly, the use of these computer-based resources for translator and interpreter training. But the use of corpora for descriptive purposes, which is presented in the section on corpora for research in TIS, is, arguably, not strictly relevant to the broad area of translator training as envisioned in James S. Holmes’s map, which Dastyar often refers to throughout the book.

The same issue arises with the entry on explicitation. In the literature, this term is generally associated with the empirical work of scholars such as Vinay and Darbelnet (1958/1995), Blum-Kulka (1986/2001), Shlesinger (1995) and Klaudy (2009). The body of research they initiated may well have implications for enhancing teaching procedures in the future, but to date, this is not the case. For instance, the author makes reference to Fang Tang’s (2018) book-length study of the differences between professional and student interpreters’ explicitation patterns in Chinese-English and English-Chinese consecutive interpreting, which starts from the premise that explicitation is a translation universal and the findings are explained in terms of Fillmore’s Frame Semantics, Chesterman’s Expectancy Norms, and Anderson’s Three Stages in Skill Acquisition. Similarly, the aim of Niccolò Morselli’s (2018) study of explicitness in the EPTIC corpus - a bilingual, bidirectional and multimodal European Parliament of plenary sessions speeches in English and Italian – is to make a contribution to the ongoing debate on the methodological and theoretical issues pertaining to the quest for translation and interpreting universals, which has always been primarily a concern of descriptive translation and interpreting studies rather than its practical applications in the classroom.  

Overall, this new reference work makes a valuable contribution to the field. It contains 116 entries selected out of 245 terms retrieved from the subject indices of dictionaries, encyclopaedias, research monographs, journal articles, and doctoral theses. The dictionary has the distinctive merit of drawing on a vast bibliography containing more than 1600 references, of which 45 published in languages other than English. This new reference book is a useful addition to existing reference works, since it provides up-to-date subject entries in the domains of translator and interpreter training, education and assessment.


Blum-Kulka, S. (1986/2001) “Shifts in Cohesion and Coherence in Translation” in The Translation Studies Reader, L. Venuti (ed) (2001) London, Routledge: 298–313.

Delisle, J., Lee-Jahnke, H. and Cormier, M.C. (eds) (1999) Terminologie de la traduction. Translation Terminology. Terminologia de la Traduccin. Terminologie der Übersetzung. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing.

Holmes, J.S. (1972) “The Name and Nature of Translation Studies” in Qvistgaard, J. et al. (eds) Third International Congress of Applied Linguistics (Copenhagen, 21-26 August 1972): Congress Abstracts. Copenhagen: Ehrverskøkonomisk Forlag. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED074796

Kelly, D. and Martin, A. “Training and Education” in Baker, M. and Saldanha, G. (eds) Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. 2nd edition. London and New York: Routlege. 294-300.

Klaudy, K. (2009) “Explicitation”, in Baker, M. and Saldanha, G. (eds) Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. 2nd edition. London and New York: Routlege. 104-108.

Morselli, N. (2018) “Interpreting Universals: A Study of Explicitness in the Intermodal EPTIC Corpus”, inTRALinea. Special Issue: New Findings in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies. Edited by C. Bendazzoli, M. Russo and B. Defrancq. http://www.intralinea.org/specials/article/2320

Palumbo, G. (2009) Key Terms in Translation Studies. London: Continuum.

Shlesinger, M. (1995) “Shifts in Cohesion and Simultaneous Interpreting”, The Translator 1, no. 2: 193–214.

Shuttleworth, M. (1997) “Introduction” in Shuttleworth, M. and Cowie, M. Dictionary of Translation Studies. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing. v-xvii.

Shuttleworth, M. and Cowie, M. (1997) Dictionary of Translation Studies. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing.

Snell-Hornby, M., Pöchhacker, F. and Kaindl, K. (eds) (1994) Translation Studies: An Interdiscipline. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing.

Tang, F. (2018) Explicitation in Consecutive Interpreting. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Vinay, J-P. Darbelnet, J. (1958/1995) Stylistique Comparée du Français et de L’anglais: Méthode de Traduction (Comparative Stylistics of French & English: A Methodology for Translation, translated and edited by Juan Sager and Marie-Jo Hamel, Paris: Didier.

©inTRAlinea & Sara Laviosa (2019).
[Review] "Dictionary of Education and Assessment in Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS)", inTRAlinea
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