1 Águeda School of Technology and Management - University of Aveiro, NOVA Linguistics Research Centre (CLUNL) (PORTUGAL)
2 Águeda School of Technology and Management - University of Aveiro, Institute of Electronics and Informatics Engineering of Aveiro (IEETA) (PORTUGAL)
3 Águeda School of Technology and Management - University of Aveiro, Research Centre “Didactics and Technology in Education of Trainers” (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 7355-7364
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.1975
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
In today’s globalised world, an accurate use of languages in specific, technical contexts has become increasingly important and valued by prospective employers. In Higher Education Institutions, particularly Polytechnic Schools, an interdisciplinary, job-oriented approach to language teaching can play a key role in the students’ preparation for a given profession, as it provides a framework for the acquisition and enhancement of both linguistic and technical skills.

This article presents the results of a project developed within the scope of English for Specific Purposes, which aimed to explore the potential of collaborative and multidisciplinary work by combining Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) and the use of authentic materials, namely interactive coding learning modules based on several programming languages available in the online platform Code Avengers (CA).

The participants were first-year students from two degrees offered at the Águeda School of Technology and Management – University of Aveiro, i.e. Information Technologies (IT) and Office Administration and Business Communication (OABC). These students were enrolled in the courses of Technical English (n=16) and English-Translation Technologies (n=24), respectively, in the 2016-17 academic year. The main goal of the tasks proposed to the students consisted of translating a set of CA’s open-access modules and respective lesson plans from English into European Portuguese (EP). The format of the files to be translated (Javascript Object Notation – JSON) posed an additional challenge, especially to the OABC students, who also had to learn how to work with a code editor (Brackets ® or Notepad++ ®), in order to help them fully grasp the technical syntax of the content.

The strategy consisted of two different stages: firstly, the IT students created a bilingual glossary containing the relevant English terms and their respective equivalents in EP, as well as a definition, thus following ISO 1087-1 and 704 standards. Afterwards, the OABC students translated the selected modules directly in the JSON files, bearing in mind Gouadec’s translation process (2007) and resorting both to CAT tools – such as dictionaries, terminological databases, parallel corpora, translation memories – and to their colleagues’ glossaries.

A questionnaire was applied to students to gather their perceptions as to the use of the aforementioned teaching/learning strategy in the development of not only language skills but also soft skills (e.g. working with coding tools, in group, under pressure, etc.). A first analysis of the data points out that students acknowledge the added value of such a project – i.e. they stressed the importance of working with authentic materials and of knowing that their work will be integrated into a resource used worldwide. Nonetheless, students also emphasised the need for a closer interaction and articulation between both groups in future editions.

[1] Gouadec, D., Translation as a Profession. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2007.
[2] ISO 1087-1:2000, Terminology work – Vocabulary. Part 1: Theory and application. Geneva: ISO, 2000.
[3] ISO 704:2009, Terminology work: principles and methods. Geneva: ISO, 2009.
ESP, CAT, teaching/learning strategies.