Didactics Goals Of Technical/Specialised Translation


The world is changing rapidly, as well as the practice of a modern translator. New specialties emerge, in which information technology plays an increasingly important role. Ongoing changes require rethinking the didactics of translation practice. The article deals with a specialised translation; in the framework of which new most popular translator specialties are highlighted and briefly discussed that makes it necessary to take a new approach to teaching students: to prepare them not just for interpreting or translation practice, but for certain specialties chosen by the chairs and faculties that train translators in accordance with the professional standard. An important aspect in the development of such programs are the training aims related to the profession of a technical/specialised translator which are considered in the given article. The training goal is to form a translator’s professional personality and his professional competency. Three aspects of the training goal for technical translation are considered: pragmatic, cognitive, and pedagogical. When working out a translator’s educational standard, a University or faculty may take as a basis one or several professional standards, or a part of one standard, for example, one job function. This approach allows universities to choose, like from a mosaic, only those professional job functions that are in demand at this stage of economic development of society and for which the university can prepare their graduates. The article compares the concepts of professional and educational standards on the example "Specialist in the Field of Translation" of professional standard project.

Keywords: Technical/specialised translationtranslation didacticsprofessional and educational standardstranslation training goals


The globalisation and internationalisation processes in various fields of knowledge have made it necessary to train a significant number of translators specialised in a particular professional field. Diversification in the training of translators is becoming increasingly apparent, and the requirements for this activity are changing. Many universities began to prepare students for this complex multi-factor profession. To understand it, the researchers engage such sciences like sociology, sociolinguistics, historiography, psycholinguistics, cognitive science, didactics, and others. However, the didactics of translation activities and private / special methods of teaching technical/specialised translation remain poorly developed.

However, at the turn of the century, translation researchers begin to realize the need to develop teaching methods, and a number of works in the field of translation didactics appear (Alekseeva, 2001; Alikina, 2017; Gavrilenko, 2004; Porshneva, 2004, and others).

Didactics of translation activity is a pedagogical discipline that studies the training and education of future translators. Knowledge of didactics is important for translation teachers, as today it becomes more difficult to determine the effectiveness of the proposed forms and teaching techniques of this complex professional activity. Didactics examines the entire training process, starting from the conditions in which it proceeds and ending with the received planned results, and also determines the goals, principles, content of training, methods and techniques that allow to achieve these results, criteria and indicators that allow to evaluate the results received. Researching training at the theoretical level, didactics of translation activity, like any science, has its own object of study and its own subject of research (Alikina, 2017; Garbovsky, 2016; Porshneva, 2018).

The didactics object of translation activity is an entire system - training the professional activity of a technical/specialised translator in all its scopes and in all its aspects. The subject is the process of forming a professional personality of a technical/specialised translator, whose activities will take place in a certain social environment and will require a formed professional competency.

Problem Statement

The analysis of the current state of technical/specialised translators training in universities showed the absence of an entire research picture of this activity training. The goals of teaching translation activity must meet the modern requirements of society for a translator and at the same time be realistic for specific training conditions. The goals set affect the entire system of training translation activities: approaches to training, principles, content, techniques, and means of training. In order to define these goals, it is important to identify and consider the existing specialties of a technical/specialised translator.

Research Questions

The research raises the question of modern technical/specialised translation didactics goals. In order to define these goals, it is important to identify and consider the existing specialties of a technical/specialised translator. This approach will allow to set more clear training goals and orient students towards those specialties that are in demand in the modern translation services market. The technical/specialised translation training goals are a combination of three interrelated and interdependent aspects: pragmatic, pedagogical, and cognitive, which are also considered in this article. The result of the research will be considered by comparing the components of the translator's professional standard and the educational one.

Purpose of the Study

Today in theory of translation, an important interdisciplinary approach to analysis of the translator's activity has been outlined. The subject of our research is the goals of technical/specialised translation training goals considered from integrative position for a more accurate analysis. We set the following tasks:

  • to identify new technical/specialised translation specialties;

  • to reveal the features of the pragmatic, cognitive and pedagogical aspects of the technical/specialised translation training goals;

  • to correlate the components of the professional standard and the educational one in the translation didactics.

Research Methods

To describe the technical/specialised translator's professional activity training goal, we use methods of analysis, synthesis, and generalisation.

When describing new specialties in the profession of a technical/specialised translator, we use traditional modeling techniques, i.e. acquiring of knowledge about the object of research by using its analogue.


Specialties of a technical/specialised translator

The activity of a technical/specialised translator is a complex professional activity, the subject of which is the translator, a member of a certain professional group, solving professional problems in certain conditions, in certain situations, in a certain field of professional communication.

Professionalisation of a technical/specialised translator activity stipulated the need to define consistent requirements for this profession. At the end of the twentieth century, these requirements were reflected in requirements for additional qualification "Translator/Interpreter in the Field of Professional Communication." However, only general strategic guidelines related to the minimum of content and requirements for the level of the graduates training were outlined in the given educational standard. This resulted in a certain chaos in the programs for training translators on the basis of their field-specific education. Nevertheless, the activities of a technical/specialised translator have become an established profession today, largely due to a significant increase in the amount of information in various fields of science and technology that requires its constant translation and interpretation.

The existing traditional classifications of translation do not fully reflect the changes in the professional activities of a translator that took place over the past decade. Analyzing these changes, the researchers note the emergence of such specialties as a terminologist translator, a generalist translator, a computer science translator, an editor, a media translator (subtitling), a technical editor responsible for documentation, a project manager, and a software, websites and video games localizer (Bastin & Cormier, 2016; Gouadec, 2009). These changes are also reflected in the draft of a Russian professional standard for translators, which presents a fairly wide range of specialties.

Let's consider below the following important, in our opinion, specialties of a specialized translator, which should be introduced to students studying specialized translation.

A translator/interpreter in a specific field of knowledge. As a rule, translators demanded in these fields need to have a diploma of a specialist in a particular field of knowledge in addition to the translator's diploma. In this case, the translator must know the foreign language + have special knowledge of the subject of the text under translation + knowledge of translation techniques + translator's IT used by a translator.

The most required translation fields today are:

  • finance (financial tools: annual reports, information for shareholders, etc.),

  • medicine (lab research, medicines promotion, instructions, etc.),

  • science (articles, scientific reports, reviews, abstracts, etc.),

  • business communication (advertising materials, etc.),

  • jurisprudence.

Translators may be specialized not only in translating texts related to different fields of knowledge, but also certain types of documents: contracts, patents, catalogues, etc.

Knowledge of terminology in a particular field of knowledge seems to be important for the successful activity of a technical/specialised translator. The duties of a translator-cum-terminologist include the following tasks:

  • to monitor the appearance of new terminological resources;

  • to find sources and people who can provide the necessary terminological information;

  • to create and maintain a common database of translations made in specific fields of knowledge;

  • to prepare terminological glossaries for the upcoming translations;

  • to create and maintain terminological resources of the translation bureau;

  • to consult translators on the choice of terminology, government standards and norms;

  • to inform translators on all issues related to terminology: the emergence of new vocabularies, standards, clients comments, etc.

An important specialty for a specialised translator seems to be the specialty of a project manager, who performs the following functions:

  • conducts negotiations with the customer;

  • hires translators and other specialists required for the translation of the project;

  • determines payment of the work performed;

  • plans translation;

  • manages the translation process;

  • controls over the quality of the completed translation.

Such a new specialty as a translator-localizer seems interesting for a specialised translator. The term "localization", although used quite often today, does not have a clear definition. This term defines three types of processes: localization of products, software localization, Internet sites localization (Gouadec, 2009; Langue et localization…, 2009; Pym, 2018).

Sometimes this term is used as a synonym for "internationalisation" or "globalisation." In case of translation into Russian, the more appropriate term would be "Russification", a term that refers to the adaptation of the translation text into the context of Russian culture. Any "Internet site localizer" is by definition a specialised translator. Like any translator, he must have a broad knowledge in various fields, but especially in the fields of computer science, graphics, and information architecture. To all this is added a deep knowledge of the possibilities of communication on the Internet. The general trend of a translation bureau is to provide a "final product", i.e. an Internet site that is fully tested and functions in various languages. This means that today translators must be able to create web pages, just as a regular translator creates a translation text using information resources. The product of localization can be a mobile phone app, video game, design, food, etc.

Close to localization is the term "adaptation", which is a broader concept implying the adaptation of the text at the grammatical, lexical and stylistic levels of the language. While localization is the process of adapting a foreign text to the cultural context of the country into which the text is translated. Therefore, localization can be defined as one of the types of adaptation.

Translation researchers distinguish four levels of website localization: text level; graphic elements; site structure; cultural features. (Mazza & Bertaccini, 2006, p. 124). For example, when translating the site text and adapting it to the features of the target audience in the Microsoft Word document format, the translator has to have the following skills:

  • html layout (the result is html pages, including translation of a hidden text);

  • replacing text in images and flash files, as well as in other multimedia formats (the result is files in the appropriate formats).

In the process of a site localization, a special attention is paid to presenting those content elements that may be misinterpreted in a certain cultural environment. These elements include:

  • numbers, dates, and times;

  • monetary units, currency;

  • graphic symbols, signs, and colors,

  • proper names;

  • address format, etc.

Anthony Pym sees localization as a new paradigm of a translation theory that has emerged thanks to the key role of internationalisation: creating a universal version of a product for translation into different languages and adapting it to different cultural preferences. Defining the concept of product localization, the author introduces the concept of "local" - the country or region and language in which this product will be used or sold. The author notes that "the more global and instantaneous the medium, the more the medium welcomes internationalization plus localization. The more traditional, monocultural and diachronic the medium (sending messages across centuries, for example, as in many literary ideologies), the more you find traditional binary models, where translation moves from start to target each time" (Pym, 2018, p. 180).

All of the above allows to consider technical/specialised translation as a specialty within the framework of a professional activity. According to the subject of work, this activity can be attributed to the type of "Man-Sign System"; when interpreting, there will be a "Man-Man" relationships. The use of information technology defines such relationships as "Man-Technology". When preparing students for specialized translation, they should be introduced not only to the specifics of oral or written translation, but also to such specialties as translator-cum-terminologist, project manager, translator-cum-localizer, etc. This approach will allow graduates to better understand the ways of their professional growth, take into account their personal qualities when choosing a specialty.

Didactics goals of translation activity

At the beginning of the twentieth century, researchers in the field of linguistics began to actively involve the psychological component for the analysis of language and communication. In this regard, one of the leading linguistic and methodological categories become a linguistic personality, related to training foreign languages - the secondary linguistic, and when training a professional, the main goal is to create a specialist's personality, who effectively carries out labor activity and most fully realizes himself in labor, i.e. formation of professional competency. In our opinion, while training a technical/specialised translator this approach determines the priorities of the training process – the formation of his personality, which allows to formulate the main goal of training in specialised translation – the formation of professional competency in this field.

The training goal is the combination of three interrelated and interdependent aspects: pragmatic, pedagogical, and cognitive. These aspects of training were considered by researchers in relation to teaching a foreign language. For example, when teaching a foreign language, the pragmatic aspect of the goals correlates with the practical aspect of training as a whole and is related to the requirements for the level of practical language proficiency due to possible future contacts of students (Galskova & Gez, 2009). In relation to a specialized translator's activity, this aspect will be associated with mastering the relevant translation specialties. Now the chairs are faced with the problem to distinctly select from the professional standard those specialties for which they can actually prepare students. Above, we briefly reviewed these specialties. This approach is somewhat different from a traditional one, when the types of translation from the classifications accepted in translation studies were taken as a basis. Over the past time, the profession of a translator has changed a lot, especially this affected the activities of a written specialised translator, who was mostly influenced by the development of information technology. Therefore, an important pragmatic aspect of a specialised translator training goals will be concrete specialties selected from the professional standard by the specialised chair.

Altogether, the traditional highlighting the translation types - oral/written, and their specific features - will also affect the pragmatic aspect of training goals. Both written and oral consecutive translation will be present at the language university. Whereas, when training a specialised translator by an additional program in a non-language university, due to the limited number of hours, priority will be given to written (to a limited extent – oral) translation from a foreign language into the native one. In this case, it seems appropriate to use those types of translation that prevail in the translator's activity in the process of specialised translation training from a foreign language into the native one. Surveys of professional translators have shown that most often translators deal with written texts, however, their activities include both off-hand translation and consecutive interpreting. Therefore, the pragmatic goal of training will be to develop the ability to perform written translation, off-hand translation and consecutive translation of specialised texts. It should be noted the importance of the personal component of students when considering the pragmatic aspect of the technical/specialised translation training goal. It is advisable to conduct testing that would allow to determine the propensity of students to oral or written translation. A small number of hours allows you to lay down only the basics of a consecutive interpreting. In his future professional activities, the graduate will be able to obtain additional qualifications and to perfect them in consecutive, liaison interpreting.

Another important pragmatic aspect of training goals should be taken into account when determining the goals of a specialised translator's professional activity. Today, according to economists, the need for multi-skilled specialists is increasing significantly. We conducted surveys among specialised translators, which showed that highly specialised texts of a certain profile (over 70%) prevailed in their activities. In their activities there is also a translation of general scientific and official texts relating to various fields of science and technology. It should be added that some translators translate specialised texts from time to time. Thus, when training a specialised translator, the pragmatic aspect of the specialised translation training goal involves preparing students both for the translation of highly specialised texts, and for the translation of texts of a general scientific and official character.

When training a foreign language, the cognitive aspect of training goals acts as a developmental aspect of training and operates with such categories such as knowledge, thinking and understanding processes used in the process of associating the student with the culture of the country of the language being studied (Didactique du plurilinguisme…, 2016; Galskova & Gez, 2009).

When training a specialised translator, the cognitive aspect will be correlated with the formation and development of his professional competency, which includes a number of key competencies, by forming theoretical knowledge, procedural knowledge about the translator's actions algorithm, and ways to solve professional problems. To do this, the program must include knowledge from various academic disciplines that represent a unified system with an interdisciplinary structure. According to the representatives of the Club of Rome, "integral thinking" is extremely important today, which differs from system thinking by its ability to involve, coordinate, organise and connect individual fragments of reality in order to fully understand the reality (Weizsäcker & Wijkman, 2018). The distinguishing of integrative knowledge is also important when training translators in non-linguistic universities, when the profession of a specialised translator is an additional one to the main profession. In this case, in the training process, it is important to teach students to select and use knowledge from their main specialty in a new additional specialty of a translator.

The cognitive aspect of the specialised translation training goals will also take into account the transformation processes in education that are associated with digitalisation.

"The digital economy requires that every student (not only the best) has mastered the competencies of the XXI century (critical thinking, self-learning ability, ability to fully use digital tools, sources and services in his daily work) and could creatively (not according to a template) apply existing knowledge in a rapidly developing digital environment" (Trudnosti i perspektivy…, 2019, p. 15). Digitalisation has shown itself most strongly in the field of specialised translation. The translator has already been actively using a machine translation (MT) when working with standard documentation, preparing texts for MT and post-editing of such translations.

Thus, when training a specialised translator, the cognitive aspect of the training goals will be integrative knowledge and skills related to the development of a particular field of knowledge, the development of students integral thinking and the ability to adapt to the digital environment.

When teaching a foreign language, the pedagogical aspect of the training goals determines the personal qualities of a student that should be formed in order to be able to communicate at the intercultural level (Galskova & Gez, 2009). Correlating this aspect with the specialised translator training goal, it should be a formation of students' personal attitude to the material they are learning, the needs and motives associated with their future profession, and the personal qualities that will be necessary for performing professional translation. Analysis of technical/special translation from the position of activity and cognitive approaches confirms that professional knowledge and skills constitute the basis of this activity, but it is not enough. For professional translation, the translator must have certain personal qualities.

This aspect is particularly important for teaching translation. Translation education should be value-based. The system of values is actively formed at the student's age and has a great influence on the formation of the personality of the future professional translator. Values are social values shared by the individual, which are the goals of life and the main means of achieving them. The training of future translators should be based on universal values and, what is particularly important, respect for cultural differences. Such an approach supposes the formation of a “harmonious translation worldview” among students as a kind of a professional picture of the world (Kushnina, 2019), which will allow students to form a bilingual and bicultural language personality and teach them to perceive two language norms (Yаzykovaya lichnost' perevodchika:…, 2011).

Another important pedagogical aspect of the specialised translation training goal is not only the transfer of old knowledge, but also the formation of students' competent attitude to the future, to possible changes in the translator's profession. Today, in this rapidly changing world, the challenge for education is to create conditions that will allow young people to develop "literacy for the future", i.e. the ability to withstand the complexity and uncertainty for dynamic participation in the future that we will face (Weizsäcker & Wijkman, 2018). Therefore, the pedagogical component of the specialised translation training goal involves the formation of students' universal values, professional translation the picture of the world, respect for cultural differences and the development of their "literacy for the future".

Рrofessional translator standard

As a result of the research, the technical/specialised translation training goals were defined. The professional standard adopted by the Ministry of Labor will play an important role in developing uniform requirements for the educational standard of a technical/specialised translator. Unfortunately, this standard has not yet been approved, but in general it is possible to imagine a further scenario for training a professional translator.

It should be clearly understood that the professional standard is not equal to the educational standard. Professional standards are written by a community of professionals in this field of activity. They present generalized job functions that include the translator's job functions defined for each function, actions, knowledge and skills that a professional translator must possess.

Educational standards are based on a professional standard. The results of education should be oriented to the requirements for the professional standard, and they, first of all, determine the structure and content of the educational process. These educational standards are developed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation and Educational and methodological associations. Educational standards fix which competencies / competences will be formed in the graduate, determine what means will be used to form the desired competence, and identify the component of the variable part.

It is important to understand that on the basis of the professional standard, qualification certification centers will be created, and on the basis of educational standards, a credit system is being developed, and educational programs are being accredited.

When developing an educational standard for a translator, a university or faculty can choose one professional standard (then the educational standard will have the same name), or several professional standards (each of which reflects, for example, the specifics of an activity in a particular field or describes one of the qualifications that is mastered during the study of the program), or part of one standard, taking, for example, one job function. This approach allows universities to choose from a mosaic only those job functions that are in demand at this stage of economic development of a society and for which the university can prepare their graduates.

Below in Table 01 is a comparative table of the concepts of professional and educational standards.

Table 1 -
See Full Size >

Unfortunately, the draft of a professional standard "Specialist in the Field of Translation" is currently being approved by the Ministry of Labor, but there is an earlier version that has been published (Perevod i lokalizatsiya:…, 2019). Of course, this document has undergone a number of changes over the past time, nevertheless, it can be used as a basis for analyzing the goals of translation activities training.

Let's consider one of the job functions presented in the published project - "Plain vanilla (non-specialised) translation." It is possible to single out one of the job functions in the project - "Translation of standard documentation." In this article, we consider the issue of the translation activities training goals. If we analyze the necessary actions of the translator presented in this project, we can determine the students training in this specialty goal as the formation of a professional personality of the translator, his professionalism, which will be achieved by forming the ability of students to perform a professional translation of standard documentation in the field of notarial office work, including the reception and preparation of the received task, determining the type of the text and its genre, translating the source text based on existing templates, self-editing of the translation text, preparing documents and passing the procedure of notarizing the authenticity of the translator's signature on the translation of the document. Further, the document presents the knowledge and skills that a graduate who acquires this profession should have. It is also important to note the need to develop students' ability to use computer and Internet technologies for formatting and processing translations in accordance with the norms of the translation language and the requirements of the customer


Summing up all the above, the goal of technical / specialised translation training can be defined as the formation of a professional personality of the translator, his professionalism, which is achieved by forming the ability of students to perform various types of translation at a professional level, depending on the field, environment or situation that are defined in their training program, including the following specialisation fields: translation, pre-and post-editing, localization, etc. The goal of training includes three aspects: pragmatic, cognitive, and pedagogical.

The pragmatic aspect of the training goals for a specialized/technical translator includes: preparing students for specific occupations, which are selected by the specialised chair from the professional standard; forming the ability to carry out written translation, off-hand translation and consecutive translation of texts in the specialty; training students to translate both highly specialised texts and scientific and official texts of general nature. It is also important to note the need to develop the ability to interact with machine translation, which is now an integral part of a professional translator competence.

The cognitive aspect of the specialised translation training goal is an integrative knowledge and skills related to the development of a specific area of knowledge, the formation of students' integral thinking and the ability to adapt to the digital environment.

The pedagogical component of the specialized/technical translation training goal involves the formation of students' universal values, professional translation of the world picture, respect for cultural differences and the development of their "literacy for the future."

The proposed goals of technical / specialised translation training allow us to define more precisely the approaches, principles and content of training this translator activity.


Copyright information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About this article

Publication Date

03 August 2020

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, translation, interpretation

Cite this article as:

Nikolaevna, G. N. (2020). Didactics Goals Of Technical/Specialised Translation. In N. L. Amiryanovna (Ed.), Word, Utterance, Text: Cognitive, Pragmatic and Cultural Aspects, vol 86. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 230-241). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.08.28