Olesya Babenko¹, Elena Semushina²*

¹Associate Professor, Department of Theory and Practice of Translation, Kazan Federal University, RUSSIAN FEDERATION,

²Associate Professor, Department of Theory and Practice of Translation, Kazan Federal University, RUSSIAN FEDERATION,

*Corresponding author




According to Vasily Sukhomlinsky, a prominent Soviet-time educationist, motivation for professional activity has to become the sophisticated basis of student academic process [3, 4]. Our Alma Mater, Kazan Federal University (KFU), holds numerous events throughout the year: with remote (online) format added during the pandemic. The Higher School of Foreign Languages and Translation (department of the Institute of Foreign Relations, KFU) offers bachelor and master degree students a wide range of language-oriented events – based on translation and other aspects. 300 translators in average graduate annually, and one of the professors’ missions of high priority is the graduates’ competitiveness for more employment possibilities.

Proper competitiveness is based not only on perfect academic skills but also on the strong motivation platform that consists of long-term professional interest, self-discipline and constant personal development. To breed the academic encouragement, our translation contests are on a regular basis and are thematically attached to crucial historical, cultural dates and anniversaries of Russia and the world. We dedicate the contests to jubilees of eminent national and world-known scientists, people of talent in art, literature, sport, etc. Therefore, parallel with various translation tasks, our contestants get a broader picture about the country and the world occasions of great importance and impact. Our contests traditionally consist of two parts: the first one (with more participants) – written and the final one – mixed format of interpreting and audio-visual tasks – where you have to take part in person. One may suppose that translation contests monitor individual skill development level only. On the contrary – the contests include pairwork and teamwork for cooperative spirit enhancing as well. The jury members estimate not only translation equivalency but also greet creativity and curious translation decisions. 

It is essential to note that students not involved in the contest, can find their role in volunteering – especially in case a contest is international. It brings socializing experience together with consecutive and simultaneous skill improvement, and portfolio enrichment. Year by year the sections of languages are getting more and more diverse: Russian, Tatar, English, German, French, Spanish, etc.

In conclusion, let us highlight the most relevant translation contest motivation triggers: firstly, contests mentioned in the students’ portfolio are awesome indicators of language experience for employers; secondly, media coverage enables students to gain popularity among peers and widens the bonds of inter-communication. Moreover, students’ parents and kin feel more proud of their child’s success; thirdly, regular contests give a wonderful possibility to estimate your academic skills personally, see your strengths and analyze possible mistakes; fourthly, a number of different-format tasks from various translation spheres may open personal talents of work with certain discourses and breed creativity, and enable to look at translation from different perspectives; fifthly, if the tasks are multi-format and different in complicatedness level, students see the prospect, make higher aims and achieve them finally (especially in case they participate in contests from year to year); sixthly, thematic diversity attracts academically and expands erudition which is vital for translators; seventhly, after-contest feedback with profound analysis of tasks, creative findings and errors stimulates professional growth, etc. All this deepens motivation and gives a wider picture of our profession.

Professors involved in translation contest organizing gain invaluable experience as well: we see effective tasks for enhancing translation skills and v.v., the ones with low effectiveness capacity; we see the annual students’ academic progress and analyze groups’ statistics; we make stronger emotional bonds with our students and they see the professors’ interest in enhancing the students’ competence. We share our experience with our professional descendants in a more creative academic way. And, the last but not the least – we collaborate with colleagues more and our professor team gets close-knit and academically sophisticated.

Finally, we certainly have something to share with our colleagues worldwide – in terms of translation teaching experience and motivation boosting.

Keywords: linguistics, student, professor, university, translation, translation contest, motivation