Professionalising the curriculum and increasing employability through authentic experiential learning: the cases of INSTB

Joost Buysschaert, María Fernández-Parra, Gys-Walt van Egdom, Joop Bindels, Guillaume Deneufbourg, Sabien Hanoulle, Carola Henn, Arnout Horemans, Koen Kerremans, Rudi Loock, Andrew Rothwell, Isabel Santafé, Leona Van Vaerenbergh, Sonia Vandepitte, Gudrun Verbauwhede, Dirk Verbeeck, Gert Vercauteren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quality in translator training has received much attention since the launch of the European Master’s in Translation network in 2009, which sets out quality requirements for translator training programmes in universities. Projects such as OPTIMALE (2010-13) sought to raise the profile of the translation profession whereas the OTCT/Tradutech project (2014-16) aimed to introduce and integrate professionally-oriented practices in a classroom context. Among the drivers for improving the quality of translator training are professionalisation and employability. One method for integrating professionalisation and employability practices into translator training is through the implementation of a simulated translation bureau component into the curriculum as authentic experiential learning. Thelen (2016a, 2016b) and Vandepitte (2008) provide an overview of how simulated translation bureaus can be run successfully within a tertiary education setting.
Building on the work of Thelen and Vandepitte, this paper aims to present a broad perspective of the current professionalisation and employability practices embedded in translation curricula throughout European universities. We begin our investigations at INSTB, the International Network of Simulated Translation Bureaus. INSTB (pronounced “instib”) is a network of universities offering translation curricula where students are tasked with staffing and running their own (simulated) translation bureau. At INSTB’s full member institutions, the simulated bureaus are an integral part of the curriculum and earn credit points. At the time of writing, INSTB includes participating universities from the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. This paper reviews the current practices surrounding the simulated translation bureaus implemented by INSTB members. Our review suggests that authentic experiential learning through simulated translation bureaus is extremely well received by students, welcomed by teachers and highly valued by employers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-111
JournalCurrent Trends in Translation Teaching and Learning E (CTTL-E)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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