Academic journal article Translation & Interpreting

Toward the Development of a Metacognitive Intercultural Communicative Competence in the Education of Students of Interpreting: General Theoretical/pragmatic Foundations

Academic journal article Translation & Interpreting

Toward the Development of a Metacognitive Intercultural Communicative Competence in the Education of Students of Interpreting: General Theoretical/pragmatic Foundations

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Metacognition in the undergraduate training process of future bilingual interpreters plays a role as decisively though silently dramatic as has been the very essence of this professional activity since its regular appearance in official worldwide communicative contexts. Therefore, the adequate insertion of metacognition treatment in the interpreter's undergraduate curricular design has proved to be as paramount as its continuation in postgraduate education.

All in all, the starting point for a reflection on the issues of developing what this paper defines as a metacognitive intercultural communicative competence (from now on, herein defined at MICC) continues to be placed around the key question: What is it the interpreter knows: cognitively, metacognitively and even epistemically (and that she or he knows how to do so well) when equally knowing how to interpret properly?

Attempting to answer these questions would have an influence on 1) the descriptive explanation and completion of the bilingual interpreting general model with its very specific variants: consecutive and simultaneous, 2) the pragmatic training of students of interpreting to cope with the complexity of requirements for the exercise of the profession, and 3) the definition of the broadest epistemic field needed for deepening into the theory and didactics of interpreting, as well as into the curricular design of the interpreters' training processes.

A review of the classical and most recent general theory and study cases on meta-cognition (Kitchener 1983; Kuhn and Weinstock 2002; diSessa et al. 2003; Hofer, 2004; Mason, Boldin & Ariasi, 2010) presents a course of analysis that points at reinserting the above-mentioned three aspects within the field of meta-cognition, as the broadest and most adequate setting that contextualizes cognition, reflection and self-control during the learning process. The following quotation is a good example of the above-stated:

... we assumed that epistemic beliefs operate at the metacognitive level. In addition, we did not consider them in isolation from the contextual variables in which they are activated, as most previous research has done. It is mainly scholars interested in science teaching and learning processes (diSessa et al. 2003) who have criticized the decontextualized nature of research about epistemic beliefs. They have posited that identifying beliefs about knowledge and knowing at either a general-domain or a specific-domain level fails to reveal them adequately as they are finer-grained and context sensitive. As cognitive resources, these beliefs can be activated in a certain context and not in others, since different contexts trigger different resources. (Mason, Boldin & Ariasi, 2010).

That is precisely the reason why, in the present article, the scope and objectives of analysis are contextualized around exploring a general theoretical background, though only as immediately linked to the pragmatic setting of metacognition and particularly connected with the didactic needs of educating and training interpreters according to the demands of their future professional performance: What is needed and how to proceed in teaching interpreters-to-be at an undergraduate level? What is already known and what new proposals could be advanced in this field?

The present paper is then the first in a series of three attempting to cover this topic. The second article in the series would refer to an in-place exploration of a problem-oriented training professional context and its needed pragmatic operationalization for undergraduate university students of bilingual interpreting. The third one, in turn, would be a debate about the results of a training and self-control experiment carried out by the author with the population of students of English-Spanish/ Spanish-English interpreting at the University of Matanzas, Cuba, during the application of the central proposal of his doctoral research, during the 2007-2008; 2008-2009 academic years. …

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