EMT COMPETENCE FRAMEWORK - ForewordThe European Master’s in Translation network first published its framework fortranslator and translation competence, including the well-known EMT “Wheel ofCompetence”, in January. This has now become one of the leading referencestandards for translator training and translation competence throughout the EuropeanUnion and beyond, both in academic circles and in the language industry. Almost tenyears on, the basic principles laid down in still stand, but it is time to reconsiderthe framework in the light of the changes which have affected both the languageindustries and European universities.In the translation industry, technological change has had an ever-increasing impact onthe way translation services are performed, though human intelligence, knowledge andskills are still the key factors in delivering quality translations and the growing rangeof language services which translators and translation companies can provide. Marketneeds have also evolved, with the continuing expansion of English as a lingua francacreating new needs that can only be met by reversing the traditional “mother tongue”principle in some translation environments. Simultaneously, artificial intelligenceand social media have considerably changed people’s relation to communicationin general and translation in particular, with machine translation applications andother language tools now commonly available on desktop and mobile devices. Thisis gradually impacting the translation process and many translation markets, andhas changed the perception of translation among the general public and amongtranslation studies students and graduates. Technological and societal changes suchas these need to be taken on board in academic translator training programmes, sothat future graduates become aware of both the challenges and opportunities thatthey represent, and can adapt their skills and practices accordingly.In October, with future translation graduate employability firmly in mind, theEMT Board was given the remit of producing a new EMT competence framework. Thenew framework was expected to embody the founding principles of the EMT network,while incorporating the key competences and skills required of future translationgraduates. The remit also included producing a simple, functional competenceframework that could be used to assess the delivery of a common set of learningoutcomes by universities wishing to join the EMT network in the next round ofapplications. Following a consultation process involving the network membership andlanguage industry stakeholders, a draft framework was produced. This has now beenadopted as the EMT competence framework for.December, Daniel Toudic and Alexandra Krauseon behalf of the EMT Board2

EMT COMPETENCE FRAMEWORK - This competence framework aims to consolidate and enhance theemployability of graduates of Master’s degrees in translation throughoutEurope. It is based on the EMT’s founding principles set out by the Expert Group inJanuary. It also takes into account the research outcomes on translation andtranslator competence reported by the translation studies research communityand the changes that have affected the language services industry since then.Note: The terms ‘competence’, ‘skill,’ ‘knowledge’ and ‘learning outcomes’are used here in accordance with the European Qualifications)Skill:Competence:‘means the abilityto apply knowledgeand use know-how tocomplete tasks andsolve problems.’‘means the provenability to useknowledge, skills andpersonal, social and/or methodologicalabilities, in work orstudy situations andin professional andpersonal development.’Knowledge:Learning outcomes:‘means statements of what a learnerknows, understands and is able to do oncompletion of a learning process, whichare defined in terms of knowledge, skillsand competence.’‘means the outcomeof the assimilation ofinformation throughlearning. Knowledgeis the body of facts,principles, theoriesand practices that isrelated to a field ofwork or study.’3

EMT COMPETENCE FRAMEWORK - This framework does not claim to provide a comprehensive description or modelof all the competences, skills and knowledge that translation graduates shouldacquire. It does not, for instance, include the theoretical knowledge or the genericresearch skills that are an integral and important part of many advanced translationstudies programmes. As in the original framework, it sets out a common set oflearning outcomes for EMT Master’s degree programmes, described in terms ofthe general competences and specific skills that their graduates are expectedto possess1. Individual programmes may, of course, deliver a much wider rangeof competences, skills and knowledge in areas that are not included in thisframework.The framework is based on the premise that “translation” is a process designedto meet an individual, societal or institutional need. It also recognises that it isa multi-faceted profession that covers the many areas of competence and skillsrequired to convey meaning (generally, but not exclusively, in a written medium)from one natural language to another, and the many different tasks performed bythose who provide a translation service.The framework therefore considers that translator education and training atMaster’s degree level should equip students not only with a deep understandingof the processes involved, but also with the ability to perform and provide atranslation service in line with the highest professional and ethical standards.It defines five main areas of competence:LANGUAGE AND CULTURETRANSLATIONTECHNOLOGYPERSONAL AND INTERPERSONALSERVICE PROVISION1It assumes that the aim of Master’s degree programmes is to teach a combination of knowledge andskills, which will enable students to achieve the competences considered essential for access to the translationindustry and to the wider labour market.4

EMT COMPETENCE FRAMEWORK - Within each of these areas, a number of skills are deemed to be essential or important within thecontext of a Master’s degree in translation. Although each of them can be viewed separately, andthe relevant skills can be applied to different professions beyond the translation industry, thefive areas defined below should be considered as complementary and equally important inproviding the translation service, which is the ultimate goal of the translation process.The framework does not attempt to define different levels for each of the areasof competence. It is assumed that Master’s degree programmes within theEMT network expect students to achieve the advanced level of competencerequired of future language industry professionals.However, it recognises that some of the competences, skills andknowledge may have been acquired at previous stages in thehigher education process (e.g. at undergraduate level) andthat Master’s degree programmes lasting more than oneacademic year are likely to define different learningoutcomes at different stages in the programme.Applicants will be asked to specify details ifskill levels differ according to modules orprogression in the programme.5

EMT COMPETENCE FRAMEWORK - LANGUAGE AND CULTURE(TRANSCULTURAL AND SOCIOLINGUISTIC AWARENESSAND COMMUNICATIVE SKILLS)This competence encompasses all the general or language-specific linguistic,sociolinguistic, cultural and transcultural knowledge and skills that constitutethe basis for advanced translation competence. It is the driving force behind allthe other competences described in this reference framework. The frameworktherefore takes as a premise that a high level of language competence in atleast two working languages2 (CEFR level C1 and above or an equivalent level incomparable reference systems) should be a prerequisite for access to any EMTMaster’s degree course in translation3.EMT applicants will be required to show what procedures are used to ensurethat students admitted to their Master’s programme have acquired the necessarylevel in this area of competence, whether via an undergraduate qualification, orby certification, examination, personal portfolio, interview, or any other means.However, the EMT also recognises that within the European context, the numberof working languages may differ according to the national and/or professionalenvironment, and that the same level of competence may not be achieved(or required) in all working languages. Moreover it acknowledges the fact thatlanguage and culture competence in each working language may be explicitlyand implicitly improved and perfected during the Master’s degree programme.Applicants will therefore be required to state the minimum number of workinglanguages required in the programme, how many other working languagesare mandatory or optional and the levels expected upon admission and upongraduation.WorkinglanguageSource(S) and/ortarget (T)languageExpectedadmissionlevelProof ofadmissionlevelProof oflevel uponcompletion2Defined as the source and target languages that the translator uses in a professional capacity.Generally, the main target language is referred to as language A, the main source language as language B andother source languages as C, D etc.3The EMT recommends that the translator’s main target language should be mastered at CEFR levelC2 or with native or bilingual proficiency.6

EMT COMPETENCE FRAMEWORK - TRANSLATION(STRATEGIC, METHODOLOGICAL AND THEMATIC COMPETENCE)Translation competence lies at theheart of the translation service provisioncompetences defined in this framework.It should be understood in the broadest sense,encompassing not only the actual meaning transferphase between two languages (including the use of relaylanguages), but also all the strategic, methodological andthematic competences that come into play before, during andfollowing the transfer phase per se – from document analysis tofinal quality control procedures.Applicants will be invited to specify the different types of domain-specific,media-specific and situation-specific types of translation that are included intheir curriculum, including special areas such as public service translation andinterpreting, localisation or audiovisual translation. This section also recognises thatthe ability to interact with machine translation in the translation process is now anintegral part of professional translation competence.7

EMT COMPETENCE FRAMEWORK - STUDENTS KNOW HOW TO 1Analyse a source document, identify potential textual and cognitive difficultiesand assess the strategies and resources needed for appropriate reformulationin line with communicative needs2Summarise, rephrase, restructure, adapt and shorten rapidly and accurately inat least one target language, using written and/or spoken communication3Evaluate the relevance and reliability of information sources with regard totranslation needs4Acquire, develop and use thematic and domain-specific knowledge relevantto translation needs (mastering systems of concepts, methods of reasoning,presentation standards, terminology and phraseology, specialised sources etc.)5Implement the instructions, style guides, or conventions relevant to a particulartranslation6Translate general and domain-specific material in one or several fields fromone or several source languages into their target language(s), producing a ‘fitfor purpose’ translation7Translate different types of material on and for different kinds of media, usingappropriate tools and techniques8Translate and mediate in specific intercultural contexts, for example, thoseinvolving public service translation and interpreting, website or video-gamelocalisation, video-description, community management, etc.9Draft texts for specific purposes in one or more of their working languages,taking into account specific situations, recipients and constraints10Analyse and justify their translation solutions and choices, using theappropriate metalanguage and applying appropriate theoretical approaches11Check, review and/or revise their own work and that of others according tostandard or work-specific quality objectives12Understand and implement quality control strategies, using appropriate toolsand techniques13Pre-edit source material for the purpose of potentially improving MT outputquality, using appropriate pre-editing techniques14Apply post-editing to MT output using the appropriate post-editing levels andtechniques according to the quality and productivity objectives, and recognisethe importance of data ownership and data security issues8

EMT COMPETENCE FRAMEWORK - TECHNOLOGY(TOOLS AND APPLICATIONS)This competence includes all theknowledge and skills used to implementpresent and future translation technologieswithin the translation process. It also includesbasic knowledge of machine translation technologiesand the ability to implement machine translationaccording to potential needs.STUDENTS KNOW HOW TO 15Use the most relevant IT applications, including thefull range of office software, and adapt rapidly tonew tools and IT resources16Make effective use of search engines, corpus-basedtools, text analysis tools and CAT tools17Pre-process, process and manage files and othermedia/sources as part of the translation, e.g. videoand multimedia files, handle web technologies18Master the basics of MT and its impact on thetranslation process19Assess the relevance of MT systems in a translationworkflow and implement the appropriate MT systemwhere relevant20Apply other tools in support of language andtranslation technology, such as workflowmanagement software9

EMT COMPETENCE FRAMEWORK - PERSONAL AND INTERPERSONALThis competence area includes all the generic skills, often referred to as“soft skills”, tha