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T. Khomutova, O. Babina

South Ural State University (National Research University) (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
The paper addresses the issue of gaining professional competences by university students majoring in translation and computational linguistics via project-based learning. The research involves a case study in a multidisciplinary academic project-based learning centered on university students compiling a multimedia English-Russian biographical encyclopedic dictionary of cultural heritage. The entry list of the dictionary covers famous people who were born, lived or visited the city of Chelyabinsk (Russia). The academic project aims at mastering a wide range of students’ skills, such as professional skills in practical lexicography and translation, communication skills for effective author-reviewer-editor-translator cooperation in making entries for the cultural heritage dictionary, technical skills in operating with a front-end user interface for content management of the dictionary’s digital version, and transferable skills for analyzing texts and gaining knowledge from them. The research methodology comprises elaboration of an academic project roadmap followed by implementation of the project workflow through solution of an authentic problem in the field of digital lexicography by students in linguistics, and assessment of the students’ performance. The students’ part in the roadmap steps includes, first, making an entry in the students’ native (Russian) language which, in turn, consists in iterative processes of collecting data on the biography and creative work of a person from a ready list (particularly, information related to Chelyabinsk), writing an entry text, its reviewing and editing by a historian and a philologist. Then, the entry text is translated into English and edited by a native speaker. Next, domain-related lexical units are semi-automatically extracted from the entry texts and mapped onto categories and keyword tags associated with the entry to further enable the search and filtering in the web-based dictionary. And, finally, the body of the dictionary web-site is filled with the gained knowledge via a content management system. Each step is allocated to students majoring in the corresponding field of knowledge (translators or computational linguists) depending on the competences required for their professional activity. The steps are recursively repeated for each entry in accordance with the roadmap. On the basis of the assessment of students’ performance in the university project, we suggest that the described project-based technique is applicable for improving both linguistic problem-solving skills, which vary depending on the student’s major, and planning teamwork efforts to achieve the project goal most effectively and efficiently. We also discuss an opportunity to apply the suggested dictionary compiling methodology for real-world challenges connected with the development of digital encyclopedic resources.