The Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz commissioned one of the teachers at the FASK to translate a brochure on the University and its academic programmes into English. The teacher delegated the job to the students participating in his translation courses, where he offered "real-life projects". In his three courses, which took place on different days, the students translated the 66 brochures comprising 204 pages. The students were subdivided into 18 teams of three to five people each, and the 66 texts were shared out among them.
The teacher did not practise 'chalk and talk,' but he let the individual teams work on their own. His task was to supervise the project, to give advice whenever the teams needed it, and to coordinate the job. During the project, the constructivist approach was practised, and thus a very democratic and anti-authoritarian work atmosphere could develop. Due to this, the students had to take much of responsibility and to work on their own initiative. The project depended on the active participation of each team member, and that turned out to be a positive influence on the students' motivation.
Course B was one of the translation courses that worked on the project. Twenty-eight students participated in the course, and they were subdivided into seven teams. Most of the students were German native speakers in their seventh semester. They met for two hours on ten Thursdays to work on the translations under the supervision of their teacher, who was present, but tried to keep himself in the background where the translations themselves were concerned. Generally, he was only consulted, when the students encountered problems in their translations.
The individual teams had developped different work styles and methods, depending on what the teams' members considered most pleasant and effective. Since it was an authentic project, the students had to work under the 'normal' working conditions a professional translator has to cope with. This included a deadline the students had to adhere to. So they were under a certain time pressure, and that meant that they not only translated in class, but also at home. One member of each team brought a notebook to class, which made work easier and also more efficient, since the students could save the translations they had prepared at home on floppy disk, bring them to class and discuss them with the other team members.
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