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The Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project

How can instructors of writing give their students experience in preparing texts for translation and localization and working with translators? Similarly, how can instructors of translation give their students experience at working with source texts and their authors, most of whom are subject matter experts but not experts in writing? The network of partners participating in the Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project establishes links between students in different countries so that each learns from the other. In so doing, students become aware of the diversity of the world community in which their documents travel.

Launched in the 1999-2000 academic year by Bruce Maylath and Sonia Vandepitte, the Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project (TAPP) has developed into a complex educational network of bilateral writing-translation projects, bilateral translation-editing projects (since 2001), and multilateral projects (since 2010). By 2014, the TAPP network had over time connected classes in writing, usability testing, and/or translation at three universities in the U.S., three in Italy, two each in Belgium and Portugal, and one each in Austria, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Kenya, Russia, and Spain, involving scores of instructors and thousands of students. TAPP’s main aim is to share insights into collaborative writing across borders and cultures, and, in the course of this work, to gain knowledge of others’ cultural bases.

Current Network of Participating Instructors and Institutions 
Writing/Editing Faculty 

Aristotle University, Greece
Marina Tzoannopoulou

Concordia College, USA
Heather Slomski 
Rebecca West

North Dakota State University, USA
Tony Albright
Kellam Barta
Ibtissem Belmihoub
Brady Bergeson
Jo Cavins
Louise Hanson-Dittmer
Dorian Harvey
Cody Kaser
Dan Kenzie
Bruce Maylath
Mary McCall
Ashleigh Petts
Julie Sandland
Matthew Warner

Pennsylvania State University at Erie, The Behrend College, USA
Massimo Verzella

Prince of Songkla University at Phuket, Thailand
Nuwan Thapthiang

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
Samira Allani

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Barcelona Tech), Spain
Elisabet Arnó-Macià
Kate Bagby
Joe Barr
Rachel Playfair

University of Minnesota—Twin Cities, USA
Brandy Fuglsby
Ann Hill Duin
Laura Pigozzi

University of Texas at El Paso, USA
Laura Gonzales

University of Washington—Tacoma, USA
Sushil Oswal

University of Wisconsin—Stout, USA
Joleen Hanson

Univerzitet u Beogradu (University of Belgrade), Serbia
Jelena Filipović
Greta Goetz
Ana Jovanović

Western New Mexico University, USA
Heather Steinmann

Usability Testing Faculty
North Dakota State University, USA
Bruce Maylath
Mary McCall

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Barcelona Tech), Spain
Joe Barr

Vasa Universitet/Vaasan Yliopisto, Finland
Suvi Isohella

Translation Faculty

Aalborg Universitet & Aarhus Universitet, Denmark
Birthe Mousten

Bashkir State University, Russia
Ruslan Saduov

Instituto Politénico do Porto, Portugal
Graça Bigotte Chorão
Suzana Cunha
Sandra Ribeiro

North Dakota State University, USA
Gwen Stickney

State University of Applied Sciences, Konin, Poland
Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk
Marcin Trojszczak

Universidad de Alcalá
Raquel Lázaro Gutiérrez

Universidade do Minho, Portugal
Fernando Ferreira Alves

Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
Susana Valdez
Maria da Conceição Castel-Branco 

Università degli Studi del Molise, Italy
Laura Tommaso

Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy
Andrew Bailey
Maria Teresa Musacchio

Università degli Studi del Salento, Italy
David Katan
Elena Manca

Università degli Studi di Trieste, Italy
Giuseppe Palumbo
Federica Scarpa

Université Paris—Denis Diderot, France
Patricia Minacori

Universiteit Gent, Belgium
Sonia Vandepitte
Joeri Van Liefferinge

University of Algiers 2, Algeria
Rachida Sadouni

Previously Participating Institutions
Beijing Foreign Studies University, China
Karl-Franzens-Universität, Austria
Kenyatta University, Kenya
Minnesota State University—Moorhead, USA
Tomsk Polytechnic University, Russia
Université de Mons, Belgium

The typical bi-lateral writing project involves a writing class in the U.S. and a translation class in Europe. A technical writing student composes instructions for a particular activity, does user testing, and answers translators’ questions. The translation student may test the instructions, be it only mentally, asks questions of the technical writing student and may localize, by exploring cultural differences and system differences between the two text audiences involved.

The typical bi-lateral editing project requires a European translation student to translate a published article and ask questions of her or his “native editor,” a role which, to date, is taken up by a U.S.-based writing student: the editor edits the translations for idiomatic American English and asks questions of the translator.

A multilateral project can be either 1) a writing-translation project that involves co-authoring in Spain and the U.S., user-testing in English in the U.S. and Finland, translation to Dutch (Belgium), French (France) and Italian (Italy), or 2) a translation-editing project with translation from Danish to English (Denmark), from Dutch to English (Belgium) or from Italian to English (Italy), all followed by editing for idiomatic American English in the U.S.

NDSU’s Department of English serves as the hub of the TAPP network, with Prof. Bruce Maylath serving as its international coordinator. As TAPP projects spread throughout the courses and sections in NDSU’s vertical writing program, students’ experiences in international collaborative projects are becoming a distinctive hallmark of the program.

By fall 2017, NDSU instructors teaching the following courses had used some form of TAPP’s international collaborative projects:

  • ENGL-120 College Composition II
  • ENGL-320 Business & Professional Writing
  • ENGL-321 Writing in the Technical Professions
  • ENGL-322 Creative Writing I
  • ENGL-324 Writing in the Sciences
  • ENGL-325 Writing in the Health Professions
  • ENGL-326 Writing in the Design Professions
  • ENGL-358 Writing in the Humanities & Soc. Sciences
  • ENGL-455/655 International Technical Writing
  • ENGL-459 Researching and Writing Grants and Proposals
  • ENGL-467 English Studies Capstone Experience

Publications about the Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project
(arranged in reverse chronological order)

Mousten, Birthe, Sonia Vandepitte, Elisabet Arnó, and Bruce Maylath, editors. Multilingual Writing and Pedagogical Cooperation in Virtual Learning Environments. IGI Global, 2018.

TAPP-related chapters:

   Ch.    1, Tommaso, Laura, and Massimo Verzella. “Fostering Audience Awareness and Iterative Collaboration for the Creation of Texts: An Online Trans-Cultural Writing Project between Theory and Practice.”

   Ch.    2, Steinmann, Heather, and Ruslan T. Saduov. “Co-Writing and Cross-Cultural Networking: An Experiential Learning Case Study.”

   Ch.    4, Minacori, Patricia. “Meta-Knowledge on the TAPP and ORLIMPA Projects: Students and Their Blogs.”

   Ch.    5, Palumbo, Giuseppe, and Ann Hill Duin. “Making Sense of Virtual Collaboration Through Personal Learning Networks.”

   Ch.   13, Tzoannopoulou, Marina, and Bruce Maylath. “Virtual Networks in English-for-Specific-Purposes Education: A Translation-Reviewing/Editing Model.”

   Ch.   14, Isohella, Suvi. “Incorporating International Collaboration and Usability Evaluation Into a Technical Communication Course.”

   Ch.   15, Laursen, Anne Lisa, and Birthe Mousten. “Code Glossing as a Strategy for Writing and Translation: Exploration Through English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Danish.”

Verzella, Massimo. “Inviting the Stranger: Building Pedagogical practice on the Foundations of Cosmopolitan Thought.” Journal of Global Literacies, Technologies, and Emerging Pedagogies 4.3 (2018): 693-713.[M

Verzella, Massimo. “Making Culture Relevant in Technical Translation with Dynamic Equivalence: The Case of Bilingual Instructions.” Rhetoric, Professional Communication and Globalization 10.1 (2017): 54-77.

Verzella, Massimo. “An Ethical Rationale for the Teaching of English as a Lingua Franca in Professional Communication Courses.” Connexions: International Professional Communication Journal 5.2 (2017): 1-29.

Steinmann, Heather, Ruslan Saduov, Bruce Maylath. "Learning across borders: A teaching case connecting writing students internationally." Konin Language Studies 3 (2016): 271-287. 

Vandepitte, Sonia. “Collaboration in Translation Practices in Dutch-speaking Areas." Konin Language Studies 3 (2016): 289-304. 

Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk, Barbara, and Heather A. Slomski. “Collaboration in Language Development between American and Polish University Students." Konin Language Studies 3 (2016): 305-329. 

Vandepitte, Sonia, Bruce Maylath, Birthe Mousten, Suvi Isohella, and Patricia Minacori. "Multilateral Collaboration between Technical Communicators and Translators: A Case Study of New Technologies and Processes." The Journal of Specialised Translation 26 (2016): 3-19. 

Lisaité, Donata, Sonia Vandepitte, Bruce Maylath, Birthe Mousten, Susana Valdez, Maria Castel-Branco, and Patricia Minacori. "Negotiating Meaning at a Distance: Peer Feedback in Electronic Learning Translation Environments." Translation and Meaning. Ed. Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk and Łukasz Bogucki. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2016. 99-113. Łódź Studies in Language, New Series, vol. 1.

Verzella, Massimo, and Andrew Mara. "Translocal Pragmatics: Operationalizing Postnational Heuristics to Locate Salient Cultural Overlap.” Rhetoric, Professional Communication and Globalization 7.1 (2015): 12-28.

Sorensen, Karen, Steven Hammer, and Bruce Maylath. "Synchronous and Asynchronous Online International Collaboration: The Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project." Connexions: International Professional Communication Journal 3.1 (2015): 153-177.

Vandepitte, Sonia, Birthe Mousten, Bruce Maylath, Suvi Isohella, Maria Teresa Musacchio, and Giuseppe Palumbo. "Translation Competence Research Data in Multilateral International and Interprofessional Collaborative Learning." Teaching Language Translation and Interpretation: Methods, Theories, and Trends. Ed. Ying Cui and Wei Zhao. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2015. 137-159

Mousten, Birthe, and Gunta Locele. "Knowledge Representation in Travelling Texts: From Mirroring to Missing the Point!" Journal of Organizational Knowledge Communication 1.1 (2014): 62-82.

Verzella, Massimo, and Laura Tommaso. "Learning to Write for an International Audience through Cross-cultural Collaboration and Text-negotiation." Changing English: Studies in Culture and Education 21 (2014): 310-321.

Hammer, Steven, and Bruce Maylath. "Real Time and Social Media in Trans-Atlantic Writing/Translation and Translation/Editing Projects." Emerging Pedagogies in the Networked Knowledge Society: Practices Integrating Social Media and Globalization.  Ed. Marohang Limbu and Binod Gurung. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2014. 144-161.

Maylath, Bruce, Tym King, and Elisabet Arnó Macià. "Linking Engineering Students in Spain and Technical Writing Students in the US as Coauthors: The Challenge and Outcomes of Subject-Matter Experts and Language Specialists Collaborating Internationally." Connexions: International Professional Communication Journal 1.2 (2013): 150-185.

Maylath, Bruce, Sonia Vandepitte, Patricia Minacori, Suvi Isohella, Birthe Mousten, and John Humbley. "Managing Complexity: A Technical Communication/Translation Case Study in Multilateral International Collaboration." Technical Communication Quarterly 22 (2013): 67-84.

Mousten, Birthe, John Humbley, Bruce Maylath, Sonia Vandepitte. "Communicating Pragmatics about Content and Culture in Virtually Mediated Educational Environments." Computer-Mediated Communication across Cultures: International Interactions in Online Environments. Ed. Kirk St. Amant and Sigrid Kelsey. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2012. 312-327.

Mousten, Birthe, Bruce Maylath, Sonia Vandepitte, and John Humbley. "Learning Localization through Trans-Atlantic Collaboration: Bridging the Gap between Professions." IEEE-Transactions on Professional Communication 53 (2010): 401-411.

Mousten, Birthe, Bruce Maylath, and John Humbley. "Pragmatic Features in the Language of Cross-Cultural Virtual Teams: A Roundtable Discussion of Student-to-Student Discourse in International Collaborative Project." Reconceptualizing LSP. Online proceedings of the XVII European Language for Specific Purposes Symposium 2009. Ed. Carmen Heine and Jan Engberg. Århus, Denmark: 2010. Web.

Maylath, Bruce, Sonia Vandepitte, and Birthe Mousten. "Growing Grassroots Partnerships: Trans-Atlantic Collaboration between American Instructors and Students of Technical Writing and European Instructors and Students of Translation," Ch. 4 in Designing Globally Networked Learning Environments: Visionary Partnerships, Policies, and Pedagogies. Eds. Doreen Stärke-Meyerring and Melanie Wilson. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2008. 52-66.

Mousten, Birthe, Sonia Vandepitte, and Bruce Maylath. "Intercultural Collaboration in the Trans-Atlantic Project: Pedagogical Theories and Practices in Teaching Procedural Instructions across Cultural Contexts," Ch. 9 in Designing Globally Networked Learning Environments: Visionary Partnerships, Policies, and Pedagogies. Eds. Doreen Stärke-Meyerring and Melanie Wilson. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2008. 129-144.

Humbley, John, Bruce Maylath, Birthe Mousten, Sonia Vandepitte, and Lucy Veisblat "Learning Localization through Trans-Atlantic Collaboration." Proceedings of the IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, 10-13 July 2005, U of Limerick, Ireland. Ed. George F. Hayhoe. New York: IEEE, 2005. 578-595.


For more information about the Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project, please contact Bruce Maylath at or Sonia Vandepitte at


Converging Fields
TAPP Conference
Hosted by NDSU
Fargo, North Dakota
18-20 July 2016


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