Boundaries and bridges: a French translation of the CDIO syllabus

Boundaries and bridges: a French translation of the CDIO syllabus

A. Gourvès-Hayward, C. Morace (2014).  Boundaries and bridges: a French translation of the CDIO syllabus. 10.

Alison Gourvès-Hayward Christophe Morace


Boundaries and bridges: an intercultural analysis of a French translation of the CDIO syllabus

Since its beginning in 2001, the CDIO syllabus, while maintaining a stable core, has constantly updated and enriched its content to include, on the one hand, global social issues such as ethics, diversity and social responsibility, and, on the other hand, to integrate the specifications of different national accreditation bodies. For instance, the modified CDIO syllabus, finalized in 2011, shows alignment with the UNESCO Four Pillars of Learning and agencies from the United States, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, the UK, Canada and Ireland. The CDIO founders emphasize the fact that the syllabus is to be used as a reference which can be adapted to different program requirements from different national cultures (Crawley et al., 2009). However, without a critical examination of the terms adopted in the original version in English, some elements may be misunderstood, whereas others could be lost in translation. This paper aims to provide a contribution to the discussion of the inclusion of different voices in the diffusion and implementation of the CDIO syllabus. As Intercultural researchers from two French Engineering schools, we analysed the issues involved in the translation of the framework into French by interdisciplinary teams from Telecom-Bretagne, one of the CDIO collaborators. Our data includes first-hand experience of the translation process and interviews with the different participants. Based on the premise that different languages can relay different sociocultural realities and different worldviews, we first explore the boundaries or faultlines, (Kramsch 1993), between the semantic fields of English and French in these two versions of the CDIO syllabus. These differences are felt from the offset in the translation of the title “CDIO”, where “conceive” becomes “imaginer” and “design” “concevoir”. Other issues which emerged were, for example, terms which appear similar but have different connotations, or even have a totally different meaning in French. Some terms, such as “tradeoffs”, simply do not exist in French, while others, like “proactive vision” remain embedded in American culture. Further examples include concepts which are not acceptable by the French education system when expressed as learning outcomes, such as “values”, or which do not correspond to the Institutional culture, such as “ thinking holistically”. Having identified these linguistic differences, which have emerged through processes of mediation and transformation, we explore the underlying cultural differences, using the literature on cultural dimensions. These include the public and private sphere (Adler 1998), implicit and explicit messages (Hall and Hall 2003), Universal versus Particular (Trompenaars 1997) and Uncertainty avoidance (Hofstede and Hofstede 2005). Our analysis highlights the importance of the act of translation and transformation into different languages in the appropriation and implementation of the CDIO framework. The need for interdisciplinary translation teams of policy makers, Top Management, the Academy and intercultural and linguistic mediators is also stressed. This work could be extended by further exploration of the boundaries and bridges between the CDIO syllabus in English and in other languages by members of the CDIO community.

Proceedings of the 10th International CDIO Conference, Barcelona, Spain, June 15-19 2014

Authors (New): 
Alison Gourvès-Hayward
Christophe Morace
Institut Mines Télécom, France
Université européenne de Bretagne, France
CDIO Syllabus
CDIO Standard 2
Agar, M. (1994). Language Shock: Understanding the Culture of Conversation. New York: Morrow.: 
Brislin, R. W. Lonner, W.J. & Thorndike, R.M. (1973). Cross-cultural research methods. New-York: Wiley. : 
Brodeur, D. (2012). The Ethics of Globalization. Proceedings of the 8th International CDIO Conference, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, July 1-4, 2012. : 
Crawley, E.F., Malmqvist, J., Lucas, W.., and Brodeur, D.R. (2009). Modification of the CDIO Syllabus. Updates and Expansions to Include Leadership and Entrepreneurship. Proceedings of the 5th International CDIO Conference, Singapore Polytechnic, Singapore, June 7-10, 2009. : 
Crawley, E.F., Malmqvist, J., Lucas, W., and Brodeur, D.R. (2011). The CDIO Syllabus v2.0. An Updated Statement of Goals for Engineering Education. Proceedings of the 7th International CDIO Conference, Technical Univeristy of Denmark, Copenhagen, June 20-23. : 
Cronin, M. (2003). Translation and Globalization. London: Routledge. : 
Crystal, D. (1997) English as a Global Language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. : 
Debray, R. (2000). Introduction à la médiologie. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. : 
Delors, J., et al., (1996). Learning – the Treasure Within: Report to UNESCO of the international Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century, UNESCO Publishing, Paris, France. : 
Demorgon, J. (2005). Critique de l’Interculturel. L’horizon de la sociologie. Paris: Anthropos Economica. : 
Demorgon, J. (2010). Complexité des cultures et de l’interculturel. Contre les pensées uniques. (4th ed.). Paris: Anthropos Economica. : 
Doan, T.M.T et al. (2011). Experience of First Year CDIO Implementation at VNU HCM. Proceedings of the 7th International CDIO Conference, Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen, June 20 - 23, 2011.: 
ENAEE (European Network for Accreditation of Engineering Education), (2008). EUR-ACE Framework Standards for the Accreditation of Engineering Programms, Available at http://www.enaee.eut/the-eure-ace-system/eur-ace-framework-standards/. Accessed February, 2013. : 
Gourvès-Hayward, A., Morace, C., Rouvrais, S. (2013). Global Village : A Student-led Initiative for Intercultural Skills. Proceedings of CDIO, 9th International Conference « Engineering Leadership in Innovation and Design”, MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 9-13 June, Cambridge, MA, USA.: 
Hall, E. T. & Hall M. R. (1990). Understanding cultural differences. Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press. : 
Hoffmann, B., Jørgensen, U., Christensen, H.P. (2011). Culture in Engineering Education. CDIO Framing Intercultural Competences. Proceedings of the 7th International CDIO Conference, Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen, June 20-23, 2011. : 
Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage. : 
Hofstede, G. & Hofstede, G. J. (2005). Cultures and organizations. Software of the mind (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. : 
Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage. : 
Kramsch, C. (1993). Context and culture in language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. : 
Kramsch, C. (1995). The cultural component of language teaching. Language, culture and curriculum, 8, 1995, pp. 83-92.: 
Kramsch, C. (1998). Language and Culture. Oxford:Oxford University Press. : 
Le Boterf, G. (1999). L’ingénierie des compétences. Paris: Editions d’Organisation (2nded.). : 
Lewin, Kurt. 1948. Some Social Psychological Differences Between the United States and Germany. pp. 3-33 in Resolving Social Conflicts: Selected Articles on Group Dynamics, by Kurt Lewin. New York: Harper & Row. : 
Morace, C., Gourvès-Hayward, A. (2010) How can diversity lead to richer unity? Developing intercultural competences through ‘interity”. Joint International IGIP- SEFI Annual Conference 2010 "Diversity unifies - Diversity in Engineering Education", 19-22 September 2010, Trvna, Slovakia. : 
Rouvrais, S. & Chiprianov, V. (2011) Modeling and architecting educational frameworks. Proceedings of the 7th International CDIO Conference, Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen, June 20 - 23, 2011. : 
Trompenaars, F. (1998). Riding the waves of culture. New York. McGraw-Hill. : 
Zarate, G. (1983). Objectiver le rapport culture maternelle/culture étrangère. Le français dans le monde, p.181. : 
Zarate, G. (1986). Enseigner une culture étrangère. Paris: Hachette. : 
Go to top