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