Embedding employability in the PhD and MA curricula: English-Mandarin language pair as a test case

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The concept of employability has been accentuated repetitively and has continued to guide the development of education and training (Bologna Process Implementation Report 2015, 2018; Bucharest Communiqué , 2012; Green, Hammer & Star 2009; Yorke 2006). Embedding employability in the curriculum is especially relevant for
translation and interpreting (T&I), which started out as practical activities to facilitate communication across languages and cultures long before emerging as formal academic disciplines. Accordingly, T&I programmes have joined the wave of boosting student employability by integrating or bolting extra elements to the curriculum or providing value-added events outside programmes (see Cuminatto, Baines & Drugan 2017; Olalla-Soler 2019;
Rodríguez de Cé spedes 2017; Ruiz Rosendo & Diur 2017; Schnell & Rodriguez 2017). Amid this wave of curriculum reform, doctoral education, which affects the quality of the future workforce in both the industry and academia, has largely been absent from the discussion (with few exceptions, e.g. Halverson 2009; Orlando 2016; Pym et al. 2014). Against this backdrop and with the UK system for doctoral education in mind, this study examined how the
employability issue for the T&I programmes at Queen’s University Belfast can be tackled by an integrated internship, with the language pair of English-Mandarin chosen as a test case. The internship addresses the core competences proposed by the EMT framework by offering simulated training for MA students as teams of language service providers (LSPs). In addition to translation practice, endeavours of LSPs in the professional world will be a core
theme of the internship, including establishing a personal brand (QUB in this case) and negotiating and collaborating with relevant stakeholders. Equally importantly, the internship serves as a “sandbox” for PhD students to accumulate experience in professional practice, instructional design, teaching, and research, by participating in the workflow and steering the development of the internship.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted - 23 May 2021


  • employability
  • simulated training
  • curriculum development
  • instructional design
  • action research


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