Vicarious learning in the translation classroom: how can it influence students' self-efficacy beliefs?




translator education, self-efficacy beliefs, vicarious learning, action research, students’ perceptions, mixed research


This action research study aims to analyse the ways in which vicarious learning, one of the sources of self-efficacy beliefs according to Social Cognitive Theory, can materialise in the translation classroom. To achieve this aim, a mixed methodological approach was adopted based on the following techniques: the interview, the survey, classroom observation and focus groups. Results show that vicarious learning took place in the translation classroom where this study was performed both through the students' comparison with professional translators and between peers. More particularly, a collaborative learning environment and practices such as the presentation of translation projects by the students, role-plays or discovering the careers of previous graduates favoured vicarious learning and thus positively influenced the participant students' self-efficacy beliefs, according to their perception. The results obtained contribute to shedding light on some ways to incorporate students' self-efficacy beliefs in translator education, satisfying the need underlined by several authors.

Author Biography

María del Mar Haro Soler, Department of Translation and Interpreting, University of Granada, Spain

María del Mar Haro Soler holds a PhD in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Granada, Spain where she currently teaches on translation courses. From 2014 to 2018 she held a grant for the Training of Higher Education Teachers and Researchers from the Spanish Ministry of Education. She has published several chapters in prestigious publishing houses, such as John Benjamins, as well as several papers in journals, all of them on translator education. She is author of the forthcoming book Creencias de autoeficacia del estudiantado de traducción: ¿cómo favorecer su desarrollo? [Translation Students’ Self-efficacy Beliefs: How to Develop their Self-efficacy Beliefs]. She completed two research stays as a visiting scholar at Kent State University (Ohio) and Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz (Germany). María del Mar is a certified sworn translator.


Albin, J. (2012). Competencia y autoeficacia: Estudio de los factores afectivos en el traductor [Competence and Self-efficacy: A Study of the Translator’s Affective factors]. Hikma, 11(1), 9-33.

Atkinson, D. (2012). Freelance Translator Success and Psychological Skill: A Study of Translator Competence with Perspectives from Work Psychology (Doctoral dissertation, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand).

Atkinson, D. P. & Crezee, I. H. M. (2014). Improving Psychological Skill in Trainee Interpreters. International Journal of Interpreter Education, 6(1), 3-18.

Atkinson, D. P. (2014). Developing Psychological Skill for the Global Language Industry: An Exploration of Approaches to Translator and Interpreter Training. Translation Spaces, 3(1), 1-24.

Bandura, A. (1986). Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory. Prentice Hall.

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The Exercise of Control. Nueva York: Freeman.

Bolaños-Medina, A. & Núñez, J. L. (2018). A Preliminary Scale for Assessing Translators' Self-efficacy. Across Languages and Cultures, 19(1), 53-78.

Bolaños-Medina, A. (2014). Self-efficacy in Translation. Translation and Interpreting Studies, 9(2), 197-218.

Bolaños-Medina, A. (2015). La tolerancia a la ambigüedad y los procesos cognitivos del traductor ['Tolerance to Ambiguity and the Translator’s Cognitive Processess']. Babel, 61(2), 147-169.

Bong, M. & Skaalvik, E. M. (2003). Academic Self-concept and Self-efficacy: How Different Are They Really? Educational Psychology Review, 15(1), 1-40.

Cabanach, R. G., Valle, A., Rodríguez, S., Piñeiro, I. & González, P. (2010). Las creencias motivacionales como factor protector del estrés en estudiantes universitarios ['Motivational Beliefs as a Factor Protecting Higher Education Students from Stress']. European Journal of Education and Psychology, 3(1), 75-87.

Cifuentes-Férez, P. & Fenollar, J. (2017). On the Impact of Self-esteem, Emotion Regulation and Emotional Expressivity on Student Translators' Performance. Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics (VIAL), 17(1), 71-97.

Ehrensberger-Dow M. & Massey, G. (2013). Indicators of Translation Competence: Translators' Self-concept and the Translation of Titles. Journal of Writing Research, 5(1), 103-131.

Fraser, J. (2000). The Broader View: How Freelance Translators Define Translation Competence. In Schaeffner, C. & Adab, B. (Eds.). Developing Translation Competence (pp. 51-62).John Benjamins.

Glackin, M. & Hohenstein, J. (2017). Teachers' Self-efficacy: Progressing Qualitative Analysis. International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 41(3), 271-290.

Göpferich, S. (2009). Towards a Model of Translation Competence and its Acquisition: The Longitudinal Study TransComp. In Göpferich, S., Jakobsen, A. L. & Mees, I. M. (Eds.). Behind the Mind: Methods, Models and Results in Translation Process Research. Samfundslitteratur (pp. 12-37).

Gross, A. (2003). Teaching Translation as a Form of Writing. Improving Translator Self-concept. In Baer, B. & Koby, G. (Eds.). Beyond the Ivory Tower. Rethinking Translation Pedagogy (pp. 83-93). John Benjamins.

Haro-Soler, M. M. (2017). Teaching Practices and Translation Students' Self-efficacy: A Qualitative Study of Teachers' Perceptions. Current Trends in Translation Teaching and Learning E, 4(1), 198-228.

Haro-Soler, M. M. (2018a). Las creencias de autoeficacia del estudiantado de traducción: una radiografía de su desarrollo ['Translation Students' Self-efficacy Beliefs: An X of their Development'] ['Doctoral dissertation, University of Granada, Granada, Spain'].

Haro-Soler, M. M. (2018b). Self-confidence and its Role in Translator Training: The Students' Perspective. In Lacruz, I. & Jääskeläinen, R. (Eds.). Innovation and Expansion in Translation Process Research (pp. 131-160). ATA Series, John Benjamins.

Haro-Soler, M. M. (2019a). Vicarious learning in the translation classroom: How can it influence students' self-efficacy beliefs? (v1) Data set. Mendeley Data.

Haro-Soler, M. M. (2019b). Autoconfianza versus autoeficacia del traductor: propuesta terminológica y estado de la cuestión [Self-confidence versus Translator’s Self-efficacy: Terminological Proposal and State of the Art]. Cadernos de Traduçao, 39(2), 204-226.

Haro-Soler, M. M. (2019c). Feedback procedente del profesorado y su influencia en las creencias de autoeficacia de traductores en formación [Teachers' Feedback and its Influence on Trainee Translators' Self-efficacy Beliefs]. In Cobos, I. (Ed.). Estudios sobre traducción e interpretación. Especialización, didáctica y nuevas líneas de investigación (pp.395-408). Tirant Lo Blanch.

Haro-Soler, M. M. (2019d). Las creencias de autoeficacia del estudiantado: ¿cómo favorecer su desarrollo en la formación en traducción? [Students' Self-efficacy Beliefs: How to Foster their Development in Translator Education?]. AVM Verlag.

Haro-Soler, M. M. (2019e). La Ficha de Autorregistro en el aula de traducción: pensamiento autorreferente, autorregulación del aprendizaje y creencias de autoeficacia del estudiantado ['Self-Assessment Sheet in the Translation Classroom: Self-reflection, Self-regulated Learning and Students' Self-efficacy Beliefs']. In López, V., Sánchez, P. & Botella, A. (Eds.). Contenidos universitarios innovadores (pp. 177-188). Barcelona: Gedisa.

Haro-Soler, M. M. (2019f). Sesión de aproximación teórica a las creencias de autoeficiencia en el aula de traducción: caring teaching y empatía ['Theoretical Session on Self-efficacy Beliefs in the Translation Classroom: Caring Teaching and Empathy']. In Navas, D., Medina, M. B. & Fernández, M. (Eds.). El reto del EEES y su actualidad (pp. 183-193). Gedisa.

Ho, H. N. (2010). The Relationship between Levels of Expertise, Task Difficulty, Perceived Self-efficacy, and Mental Effort Investment in Task Performance ['Doctoral dissertation, University of South California, Los Angeles, California'].

Hunziker, A. (2016). Professional Translators' Self-concepts and Directionality: Indications from Translation Process Research. Journal of Specialised Translation, 25(1), 74-88.

Ibáñez, J. (2015). Cómo se realiza una investigación mediante grupos de discusión How to Perform a Focus Group Study. In García, M., Alvira, F. R., Alonso, L. E. & Escobar, R. M. (Eds.). El análisis de la realidad social: Métodos y técnicas de investigación ['The Analysis of Social Reality: Methods and Research Techniques'] (pp. 418-434). Alianza Editorial.

Kiraly, D. (1990). Toward a Systematic Approach to Translation Skills Instruction. (Doctoral dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois).

Kiraly, D. (1995). Pathways to Translation. Pedagogy and Process. Kent State University Press.

Kiraly, D. (1997). Think-Aloud Protocols and the Construction of a Professional Translator Self-Concept. In Danks, J. H., Shreve, G., Fountain, S. B., McBeath, M. K. (Eds.). Cognitive Processes in Translation (pp. 137-160). Sage.

Krueger, R. A. & Casey, M. A. (2015). Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research. Sage.

Krueger, R. A. (1991). El grupo de discusión: Guía práctica para la investigación aplicada [The Focus Group: A Practical Guide for Research]. Pirámide.

Lunenburg, F. C. (2011). Self-efficacy in the Workplace: Implications for Motivation and Performance. International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration, 14(1), 1-6.

Muñoz, R. (2014). Situating Translation Expertise: A Review with a Sketch of a Construct. In Schwieter, J. W. & Ferreira, A. (Eds.). The Development of Translation Competence: Theories and Methodologies from Psycholinguistics and Cognitive Science (pp. 2-56). Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Nunan, D. (2007). Research Methods in Language Learning. Cambridge University Press.

Pajares, F. & Miller, M. D. (1994). The Role of Self-efficacy and Self-concept Beliefs in Mathematical Problem-solving: A Path Analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86(2), 193-203.

Pajares, F. (1996). Self-efficacy Beliefs in Academic Settings. Review of Educational Research, 66(4), 543-578.

Pajares, F. (1997). Current Directions in Self-efficacy Research. In Maehr, M. & Pintrich, P. R. (Eds.). Advances in Motivation and Achievement (pp. 1-49). JAI Press.

Pajares, F. (2000). Frank Pajares on Nurturing Academic Confidence. Emory Report, 52(21).

Presas, M. (1998). Los componentes de la competencia pretraductora en el marco del diseño curricular [Components of Translation Competence in Curricular Design]. In García, I. & Verdegal, J. (Eds.). Estudios de Traducción: Un reto didáctico [Translation Studies: A Didactic Challenge] (pp. 131-134). Castelló de la Plana: Universitat Jaume I.

Schunk, D. H. & DiBenedetto, M. (2016). Self-efficacy Theory in Education. In Wentzel, K. R. & Wigfield, A. (Eds.). Handbook of Motivation at School (pp. 35-54). Routledge.

Schunk, D. H. (1991). Self-efficacy and Academic Motivation. Educational Psychologist, 26(3-4), 207-231.

Shavelson, R. J. & Bolus, R. (1982). Self-concept: The Interplay of Theory and Methods. Journal of Educational Psychology, 74(1), 3-17.

Suárez, M. (2005). El grupo de discusión: Una herramienta para la investigación cualitativa [The Focus Group: A Tool for Qualitative Research]. Barcelona: Laertes.

Torre Puente, J. C. (2007). Una triple alianza para un aprendizaje universitario de calidad [Three-fold Alliance for Quality Higher Education Learning]. Madrid: Universidad Pontificia Comillas.

Way, C. (2009). Bringing Professional Practices into Translation Classrooms. In Kemble, I. (Ed.). The Changing Face of Translation (pp. 131-142). Portsmouth: University of Portsmouth.

Way, C. (2014). Structuring a Legal Translation Course: A Framework for Decision-making in Legal Translator Training. In King Kui Sin, L. & Wagner, A. (Eds.). The Ashgate Handbook of Legal Translation (pp. 135-152). Farnham: Ashgate.

Wyatt, M. (2014). Towards a Re-conceptualization of Teachers' Self-efficacy Beliefs: Tackling Enduring Problems with the Quantitative Research and Moving on. International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 37(2), 166-189.

Yang, X., Guo, X. & Yu, S. (2016). Effects of Cooperative Translation on Chinese EFL Student Levels of Interest and Self-efficacy in Specialized English Translation. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 29(3), 477-493.

Zeldin, A. L. & Pajares, F. (2000). Against the Odds: Self-efficacy Beliefs of Women in Mathematical, Scientific, and Technological Careers. American Educational Research Journal, 37(1), 215-246.




How to Cite

Haro Soler, M. del M. (2019). Vicarious learning in the translation classroom: how can it influence students’ self-efficacy beliefs?. English Studies at NBU, 5(1), 92–113.