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INTEGRATING A TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION COURSE INTO THE CURRICULUM OF STUDENTS MAJORING IN TRANSLATION

E. Zakharova1, A. Bogdanova1, I. Zabrodina1, M. Komandakova2, I. Lilenko2, S.S. Tran Dinh1

1National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
2National Research Tomsk State University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
In the modern, ever changing world traditional professional training in translation is challenged by a variety of external factors. Among these are the globalization of economy and science, diversification of the industry, and rapid development of computer and information technology. As a result, in the current context there is a huge demand for more specialized translation services that meet the global communication needs in a wide range of fields, optimizing the specific content in the source language either for the multicultural audience or the audience of specific ethnicity, and presenting this linguistically and culturally adapted content in a variety of document templates and digital interfaces.

To respond to these challenges the education providers may need to reconsider the existing programmes in translation and make them more practically relevant and up-to-date. It is believed that this could be achieved through combining traditional instruction in translation techniques and teaching some aspects of technical communication (particularly, issues of user-centered communication, the impact of culture on different rhetorical patterns and document design patterns, culture specific terms, localization of web-based information, etc).

This paper discusses an attempt of National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU), Russia, to extend a translation degree with an expertise in technical communication. It should be emphasized that technical communication has not yet fully established itself as a separate academic course at Russian universities. Nor has it yet been recognized as a separate professional field. However, the awareness of technical communication principles is appreciated by employers. Thus, hypothetically, the competitiveness of graduates able to cope not only with the usual translation tasks, but also with some extra professional tasks (localization, document design, etc.) can be much higher.

The course in technical communication for the students majoring in translation at TPU was piloted in the 2013 – 2014 academic year. Results were encouraging: students demonstrated enthusiasm in class activities, creativity in doing individual and group projects, and provided a positive feedback about the course content.