Information and documentation management in the training of technical translators - as opposed to teaching technical science.

  • Peter Kastberg The Aarhus School of Business


This article deals with the integration of the two spheres of knowledge and skills commonly accepted to be essential to the technical translator, i.e. linguistics/translation and subject matter. The main focus is on one of the spheres, namely that of subject matter, and how subject matter is integrated into translator curricula. Whereas I do not question the need for subject matter knowledge, I do question the way in which such knowledge is typically conveyed in translator training. In this article, I define and discuss two prototypical approaches to integrating technical subject matter into translator training. The first approach I have labelled the deductive approach; here the student is taught or at least exposed to ‘the basics of technical science’. The second approach I have labelled the inductive approach. Here the student is taught or at least exposed to a pre-selected number of technical disciplines. On the basis of a critical discussion of these approaches, I argue that neither way is optimal when it comes to preparing students for coping with real-life translations. I conclude by advocating a shift in educational focus away from the teaching of technical content towards the application of methods within the field of personal information and documentation management.