Enhancing Intercultural Communication and Understanding: Team Translation Project as a Student Engagement Learning Approach

  •  Ping Yang    


This paper reflects on a team translation project on Aboriginal culture designed to enhance university students’ intercultural communication competence and understanding through engaging in an interactive team translation project funded by the Australia-China Council. A selected group of Chinese speaking translation students participated in the project and two English books on Australian Aboriginal history and culture were translated to Chinese from August 2011 to May 2012. The two bilingual books were published by Aboriginal Studies Press in May 2013. After the one-year translation project was completed, the author conducted a survey and audio-taped interviews about the participants’ translation experience. Using social constructivist theory (SCT), the author coded the data, conducted critical analysis of the contents, and categorised the themes. It was found that the participants not only improved their translation skills through combining theories with practices, but also got better knowledge of Australian Aboriginal cultural tradition and history than before. Having understood cross-linguistic differences, they combined translation theory with practice and raised their intercultural awareness after going through various organized learning activities centring on the translation project. Such an interaction-based student engagement learning approach helped student translators achieve meaningful communication and learner autonomy through individual reflections, group discussions, and seminars. Finally the pedagogical implications of the team translation project were discussed.

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