Translation Competitions in Educational Contexts: A Positive Psychology Perspective

Piotr Szymczak
Gabryś-Barker, D. and Gałajda, D. (eds.), Positive Psychology Perspectives on Foreign Language Learning and Teaching, pp. 353-366

A central experience in human interactions, competition has a long history in education. It has been valued for bringing out the best in learners and criticized for the harms it may inflict on unsuccessful and successful participants alike. This paper looks at data from two formal translation competitions held at the Institute of English Studies (University of Warsaw) to report on the reactions and motivations of the participants. The data is examined from the perspective of the PERMA model of wellbeing as proposed by Seligman (2011). Insights from positive psychology inform recommendations on how we can design better competitions in educational contexts by ensuring transparent assessment procedures, increased success rates, and proper guidance to participants through tips and feedback.

Grading for translation quality or legibility? A challenge to objective assessment of translation quality in handwritten samples

Piotr Szymczak
Journal of Translator Education and Translation Studies, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp. 50-61

Translation quality assessment mostly looks at substantive quality criteria. However, when we assess handwritten translations, such assessment may be psychologically biased by the appearance of the text on the page. This article demonstrates how varying levels of legibility boost scores (in the case of neat handwriting) or depress them (in the case of messy handwriting), suggesting that penmanship standards could be unduly influencing appraisals of translation quality. The finding has relevance not only for the design of appraisal procedures in certification exams or competitions, but also for translation quality assessments performed by instructors in translator training.

Competitions in Education and Positive Psychology. Amplifying the positives, mitigating the harms

Piotr Szymczak
Conference Slides

Here are the PowerPoint slides for my presentation at the 27th International Conference on Foreign/Second Language Acquisition in Szczyrk (21-23 May 2015). I talked about the findings of my small scale study on translation competition entrants in which I used insights from positive psychology to propose improvements to the format, hoping to resolve some of the ambivalence with which competitions are approached in educational contexts.

The slides contain selected data from a larger dataset, to be written up for publication.

Translating Wikipedia Articles: A Preliminary Report on Authentic Translation Projects in Formal Translator Training

Piotr Szymczak
Acta Philologica, Vol. 44, pp. 61-70

This article discusses a project where trainee translators were invited to translate and publish Wikipedia articles as part of their formal translator training. The findings suggest that this form of authentic assignment with real-life application is a powerful teaching format well suited for, and appreciated by, trainee translators.

Keywords: translator training; formal translator training; Wikipedia; Wikipedia in education; authentic translation projects, natural critical learning environments, social constructivism in education

Internet 2.0, tłumacz i społeczność czytelników: propozycja udoskonalenia jakości przekładu

Piotr Szymczak
Tłumacz i przekład - wyzwania współczesności, eds. Maciej Ganczar, Piotr Wilczek, Śląsk, Katowice 2013, pp. 225-241