Formation Of The Digital Competence Of The Translator


The article analyzes and systematizes digital technologies used in the process of special translation, in the course of which it has become possible to identify three main groups of translation resources: digital translation programs, lexicographic resources, and network technologies. Within the framework of these groups, it has also become possible to analyze the possibilities of using machine translation, translation memory systems, search engines, terminology databases, dictionaries, encyclopedias, electronic libraries, electronic magazines, digital programs that allow the translator to create, format, and correct the text being created (text and image editors, convertors, etc.), to correspond with the customer, colleagues, etc. The conducted analysis revealed that today the professional environment of the translator’s activities involves not only the use of appropriate translation programs, but is also mediated by the communication of the translator with the employer, fellow translators, consultants, and experts in the professional field. This approach allows us to talk about a digital translation environment, which will determine the norms of communication corresponding to this environment, i.e. availability of digital literacy. Within the framework of professional competence, a future translator must also have a digital component for a successful career growth; this component, as analysis has shown, represents the willingness and ability to use safe information technologies in the process of special translation. The conducted interviews of translators showed the presence of information resources at all stages of this complex activity, which allows integrating these translator resources into the phased process of creating a digital competence of a translator.

Keywords: Digital environmentdigital competence of a translatorspecial translationdigital literacy


The components of the communicative situation are described quite adequately in available translation studies. The knowledge of these components is necessary for the translator, as it enables an adequate understanding and translation of the statement. However, there is another “external” factor, which is of great importance, but, as a rule, is underestimated. These are the “working conditions” of the translator, these are the conditions under which the translation process takes place.

Problem Statement

Due to the fact that the professional environment can change under the influence of technological, economic and organizational factors, in the era of informatization of society, within its framework, researchers began to isolate the information environment, which is a combination of computer-mediated communication and information technology in the form of hardware and software storage, processing, transmitting information that the translator uses to solve the tasks he or she is facing” (Alferova, 2010, p. 45). An important role in the translation environment is played by the automated workstation / electronic workplace of the translator, which combines many service programs and dictionaries focused on the specific work of the translator, allowing them to speed up and improve translation. These information tools represent the subject subsystem and are an integral component of the professional translation environment. Today, this subsystem as part of the professional translation environment involves digitally mediated communication with the employer, fellow translators, consultants, and specialists in the professional field. Therefore, we can talk not only about the information translation environment, which implies the use of appropriate technologies in translation, but about the digital translation environment, which will determine the communication standards appropriate to this environment.

The digital environment is a concept that is based on the presence of a certain number of concepts that do not have a humanitarian dimension, but a natural-scientific or mathematical one (Moroz, 2017). When training translators, it is important that students understand the rapidly changing experience of humanity in the field of technology and take into account the opportunities for further professional growth.

Research Questions

In order to teach students how to make special translations using digital technologies and present a sequence of incorporating these technologies into the educational process the following seems to be necessary:

  • analyze the digital technologies allocated by the researchers, which the translator can use in his or her work,

  • correlate them with the tasks the translator is facing at various stages of their activity,

  • propose the sequence of formation of the digital competence of the translator in the process of teaching special translation.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the study is to determine the concept of “digital competence” of the translator and to develop a sequence of presentation of digital technologies in the process of its formation.

Research Methods

The study raised the question of the sequence of formation of the digital competence of the translator. The solution of the tasks set in the work was carried out on the basis of a theoretical analysis and generalization of the results of studies of digital technologies in the activities of a translator. Based on a generalization of the obtained data, three main groups of digital translation resources were identified, which made it possible to interpret the concept of digital competence and consider its components. Also, surveys were conducted among professional translators in order to determine the sequence of presentation of the allocated digital resources in the learning process.


An analysis of the research on the use of digital technologies in the activities of a translator (Alferova, 2010; Garbovsky, 2019; Gambier, 2016; Leonova, 2016 etc.) made it possible to group the used modern technologies:

  • digital translation programs,

  • lexicographic resources,

  • network technologies.

The highlighted digital technology groups are considered briefly below:

Digital translation programs

Digital translation programs are the software that the translator can use during the translation process. One of the above is the software Translation Memory.

Machine translation. The European Machine Translation Association gives the following definition: "Machine translation is the translation of texts” (What is Machine Translation?, 2019). Today, the most famous machine translation systems are Retrans Vista (Vista and Advantis) and Socrates (Arsenal). With the help of automating the translation process, the efficiency of the translator more than doubles. The translators note that machine translation is possible not only with qualified “post-editing” of the translation made by the machine, but also “pre-editing”, which when working with the machine includes such operations as, for example, setting specifications and profiles of the MT program, creating user dictionaries, working with terminology (creating your own glossary), setting up principles for translating your own names, etc. (International Standard ISO, 2017).

CAT systems. At the end of the last century, the Japanese researcher M. Nagao proposed the concept of machine translation. The author suggested that with the accumulation of a sufficiently large number of previously translated phrases for specific types of narrowly professional texts, it is likely that most of the subsequent texts will be similar to those already translated manually. This concept was implemented in Machine Translation based on pre-made translation examples - the Example-based Machine Translation .

A striking representative of this approach are CAT (Computer-Aided Translation) tools. CAT systems include those systems that operate on the basis of the “Translation Memory”, therefore they are often called TM tools. TM programs are effective due to four main functions:

  • dividing the text to be translated into segments (sentences);

  • saving of the original of each segment along with the translation;

  • saving translation units in the database and the ability to use them when translating other texts;

  • automatic search in terminology bases (Borisova & Knyazheva, 2017, рp. 215-216).

In 2005, two of the largest developers of translation memory systems - SDL and TRADOS - merged. And now SDL-TRADOS release a joint product - Translation Memory, which is considered to be the market leader in translation storage.

In the fall of 2014, the Russian company Abby Lingvo launched the SmartCAT cloud-based online platform, which combines dictionaries, glossaries, a TM program and other smaller functions, such as spellchecking, saving formatting styles, etc. The advantage of TM programs is that they do not need to be updated and many users can use memory bases. Nevertheless, cloud resources are still low in demand due to issues of confidentiality, copyright, reliability of Internet connection, etc.

Lexicographic resources in the work of a translator

Lexicographic resources help the translators at various stages of their work. These include search engines, terminology databases, dictionaries, encyclopedias, digital libraries, electronic journals, etc. The Internet has placed at the disposal of the translator a huge layer of information that allows one to quickly solve the problems, which significantly improves the quality of the translation.

Specific terms play a significant role in the activities of the translator. The largest terminological base in Europe is EURODICAUTOM, where more than 5,000 EU translators could introduce new materials. In 2008, the European Parliament decided to unify this process by creating the EuroTermBank databank, which covers all languages of the European Union and Latin. This resource combines 133 local resources, 2,650,976 terms, 710,705 dictionary entries, 221,512 definitions in 33 languages (Belyaeva, 2016).

Electronic dictionaries and databases play an important role in the translator’s work with terminology. The most popular electronic dictionaries among translators are ABBY Multitran and ABBY Lingvo dictionaries .

When searching for the necessary information, translators actively use electronic encyclopedias, projects, and reference books.

Separately, it is necessary to highlight the informational applications which are created by the translators themselves in the process of their activity. By systematizing these copyrighted applications, which are an electronic reference database of a translator, the following can be distinguished:

  • corpus of texts , which are an individual reference system based on a collection of texts in a certain language in electronic form (Kaibao, 2016)

  • concordances, which are the result of the search for lexical units by electronic means - concordance

  • terminological dictionary (Alferova, 2010)

Digital technologies in the work of the translator

Today, quite high demands are placed on digital translation support. The estimated computer life is an average of three years, and upgrading instead of replacing it is not recommended.

Digital programs allow the translator to create, format, correct the text being created (text and image editors, text converters, etc.), to correspond with the customers and colleagues. The most common software for working with text, tables, graphs, presentations, spellcheckers, styling, etc. is considered to be the Microsoft Windows operating system.

In addition to the digital resources listed above, the actual translation sites, portals of translation associations, groups, e-mail, forums, chats, etc. may be important for a translator. Databases of translation agencies allow you to receive orders, projects, job offers in Russia and from abroad. Freelance translators can find important information, tips on organizing work, news on the websites of translation agencies.

One of the universal translation lists is Lantra-L. In addition to Lantra-L, there are many specialized mailing lists dedicated to specific aspects of translation, to individual languages. We may also note the oldest translation portal Aquarius, which presents a database of translators and agencies (free registration), news, forums, links []. The ProZ portal [] is also well organized and convenient for translators, other translation portals are also available [;; http: //www.translatorsbase].


The use of digital technologies discussed in this article in the process of performing special translation requires the following skills from the translator:

  • digital literacy, which dictates certain rules and communication strategies when using these technologies;

  • knowledge of certain ethical standards of communication on the Internet;

  • responsible attitude to the content used.

The analysis and systematization of digital technologies allowed us to define the digital competence of the translator as the willingness and ability to use safe information technologies in the process of special translation. This competency is not a homogeneous concept and includes three important components: technical, informational, organizational, and communication competencies.

It seems expedient to formulate the digital competence of a translator in stages in the process of solving translation problems. A number of surveys of practicing translators conducted made it possible to correlate the digital technologies used with the tasks facing the translator. This approach allows you to build the digital competence of the translator sequentially, starting from the stage of preparation for the upcoming translation and ending with the correction and editing of the translation. At the same time, it should be understood that new translation tools should be logically entered into the methodological approach chosen by the teacher, and the generated knowledge and skills should be constantly updated (Carrió-Pastor, 2016).


In conclusion, the importance of an integrative approach to the formation of the digital competence of the future translator should be noted. In accordance with the personal-activity approach, the selected groups of digital resources for special translation can be integrated into the contents of the phased education of students studying this complex professional activity. In this case, the formation of students' knowledge and skills to use digital resources in special translation is carried out in the context of professional tasks that a future translator should be able to solve.


  1. Alferova, D. A. (2010). Modular training in the translation of scientific and technical texts using information technology (Doctoral Dissertation). Moscow.
  2. Belyaeva, L. M. (2016). Network resources in translation technology. Vestnik of St. Petersburg State University. Philology. Oriental studies. Journalism, 9(4), 45-53.
  3. Borisova, L. A., & Knyazheva, E. A. (Eds.) (2017). Training for translators in a modern labor market. R.Valent.
  4. Carrió-Pastor, M. L. (Ed.). (2016). Technology Implementation Second Language Teaching and Translation Studies: New Tools, New Approaches. Springer Science And Business Media Singapore. 
  5. Gambier, I. (2016). Translation and Translation Studies at the Crossroads of Digital Technologies. Bulletin of St. Petersburg State University. Series 9. Philology. Oriental studies. Journalism, 4, 56–74.
  6. Garbovsky, N. K. (2019). “Digital Translation”. Modern realities and forecasts. In Russian language and culture in the mirror of translation, Vol. 1, (pp. 65-72). Higher School of Translation of Moscow State University.
  7. International Standard ISO (2017). Translation Services. Editing machine translation. Requirements. [electronic resource] ISO_18587-2017_EN.pdf
  8. Kaibao, H. (2016). Introducing corpus-based translation studies. Jiao Tong University Press, Shanghai and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
  9. Leonova, A. S. (2016). The development of informational and organizational competence of the future translator (Doctoral Dissertation). Kazan.
  10. Moroz, O. (2017). Norms of digital literacy. PostNauka.
  11. What is Machine Translation? (2019). European Association for Machine Translation (EAMT).

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

08 December 2020

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Linguistics, modern linguistics, translation studies, communication, foreign language teaching, modern teaching methods

Cite this article as:

Gavrilenko, N. N. (2020). Formation Of The Digital Competence Of The Translator. In & V. I. Karasik (Ed.), Topical Issues of Linguistics and Teaching Methods in Business and Professional Communication, vol 97. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 548-553). European Publisher.