THE CHALLENGE IN EDUCATING TRANSLATORS OF TECHNICAL TEXTS OR WHAT PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCIES ARE VALID IN A CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY (LITHUANIAN CASE STUDY)
Organizers, administrators and professors of the university study programs no longer can take a status quo position in the education process. The changing labor market requires flexibility from the university administration board and firstly, from Lithuanian ministry of education. Although, the concept, role and competencies of a translator as a profession and mediator have been identified by many authors and practitioners, the open world, access to information and development of innovation in technologies have predetermined the fundamental change in the general philosophy of translation in the open multi-cultural.
The rapid changes in the systems of languages (new terminology, discourses, genres, etc.) and in the promotion of new competencies of a translator insisted on rethinking the old notion. Do translators need special education, training and/or couching Is it enough for a translator to know how to cluster technical terms into glossaries or use a machine translation? At the beginning, all these unanswered questions opened an unoccupied niche for the possibility to create a new study program at the university (Lithuanian case). A translator of technical texts has become a major that required not only proficiency in languages, intercultural competencies but the knowledge in technical fields. In 2000 an ambitious and complex Bachelor’s program “Translation and editing of technical language” was launched at Kaunas University of Technology, Faculty of Humanities.
It had a three sided purpose: to teach native and foreign languages and give the basics in technical sciences (house constructing, mechanics, light industry, etc.). As Kaunas University of Technology is highly involved into technical research a new program preparing translators of technical texts could be a perfect mediation between the science and the local (or global) society. Recently, the economic and the labor market conditions have changed all over the world. The changes in the strategy of the university curriculum and the staff have been predetermined by the decreased number of students and the shift of priorities in choosing foreign. The program went under several reforms (or transformations) that today are reflected in the study modules and the targeted major competencies. In order to reveal the changing/ed competencies and translators’ demand in the Lithuanian market the research has been performed in 2013. It is based on quantitative (26 four year students’ questionnaires) and qualitative (3 experts’ interviews) research methods.
The results have revealed students’ need in developing the competencies in the translator’s work management, the shift in the demand of different technical knowledge, encyclopedic competencies, the rejection of the non-technical subjects and a critical attitude towards some teaching methods.