Session 1-1. Technology and T&I Education

Is there an App for that? Translator Training in the Age of Smart Phones



Today, every translation and interpreting student has a mobile phone with the Google Translate App already downloaded. The App is powerful and is free and therefore poses an existential question: why study translation when there is an App for it? And yet, translation departments continue to flourish, graduating more students and producing research that appears foreign to the needs of both students and the market (Gamal 2019). The paper reflects on the ever-changing digital technology and its impact on translation from pedagogy to practice. One interesting observation is that what a translator could do on their desktop that weighed 14 kilograms is now produced on an iPhone weighing a mere 178 grams. The quality is not only better but versatile and possible to do from anywhere in the world. Digital technology has entirely transformed the translator’s desktop from a mere generation ago: this includes the way translation is produced, researched, accessed and published (Gamal 2020). The resources, now, available to translators were unthinkable in the year 2000. The paper, part of an ongoing research that examines Arabic translation in the digital world, focuses on translation policy but with clear reference to professional practice (Gamal 2021). For too long, academia has shied away from examining translation policy despite its impact on every aspect of the translation industry. Digital technology has created a different framework that now requires both pedagogy and the profession to adapt to a new cultural context where text, image, video are combined to produce content that is accessed online and with a lot shorter duration, simpler complexity and fast delivery. This new context is what provides employment and requires skills. Translation departments need to cater for a new set of skills that focus on digital creativity, audiovisual translation and networking skills.


Bio data


  • Muhammad Y Gamal Senior Diplomatic Interpreter for the Australian government, Australia


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