1. What are your main teaching commitments?
My main teaching area is audiovisual translation – mainly subtitling, but also audio description. This is an incredibly rewarding subject to teach as it brings together linguistics, film studies and intercultural communication, harnessed to make film accessible to all kinds of audiences. I also currently convene the research methodology unit for the Masters programs in Translation and Interpreting, and I am a small part of the team teaching the new multilingual translation practice unit.
2. What’s the biggest challenge you face as a university teacher?
Finding new ways to inspire students to engage with challenging material, year after year, without losing sight of the fact that to each group of students, the challenge is brand new. I find this especially in teaching research methodology. The key is to tailor your preparation to the needs of each new group, and to pay attention to the feedback students give you. And there are always those days when absolutely nothing works, and when you have to work tremendously hard to get a result. Thankfully, I find that this has become less of an issue over the years.
3. What has helped you improve your teaching most and why?
Exactly this discovery that paying attention to your students allows you to pick up on subtle cues that you need to retrace your steps and find another way in.
4. What’s been your most memorable moment in teaching?
The day, many years ago, when I first experienced the high of suddenly seeing the whole picture in the classroom. It’s a feeling you can only get when you manage to transport yourself into your audience’s position, and get their perspective on what you are saying, and somehow things suddenly make more sense.
5. Who is your favourite music band? Why?
I’d have to say Bob Dylan for his ability to reinvent himself and stay relevant; Tom Waits for his surrender to wholly convincing personas in each new song; and the now disbanded White Stripes, although Jack White still manages to rock up a storm.