Making Connections Through Knowledge Nodes in Translator Training: On a Computer-Assisted Pedagogical Approach to Literary Translation

Making Connections Through Knowledge Nodes in Translator Training: On a Computer-Assisted Pedagogical Approach to Literary Translation

Lu Tian, Chunshen Zhu
DOI: 10.4018/IJTIAL.20200701.oa2
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This study defines translator training as a pedagogical scheme to help learners build up a knowledge network that should sustain their professional competence. It explores specifically how a computer-assisted mode of training may contribute to systemizing such a scheme with special reference to literary translation. The tool used for such training is Textwells, an online translation teaching and learning platform that weaves textual and translation-related concepts, phenomena, and methods as “knowledge nodes” into a network to support teaching and learning in different settings. As such, different from the traditional way of arranging a literary translation course according to the subgenres of literature, this approach, facilitated by the online platform, organizes the teaching contents along a series of knowledge nodes that are deemed fundamental to the production of a literary target text. In particular, this paper gives a detailed report about the course design and teaching procedures, using the rhetoric component as an illustrating case.
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2. Computer-Assisted Translation Teaching And Learning

Against the backdrop of digitization and informatization, various computer-aided pedagogical approaches have emerged. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), SPOCs (Small Private Online Courses), corpora, mobile apps, and online platforms are all currently applied in translation teaching. According to what computers exactly aid with such approaches, the functions of computer technology in translation teaching and learning can be roughly categorized into three kinds.1

In the first kind, computers mainly provide an alternative medium where teaching and learning take place. In comparison to classroom teaching, this approach is theoretically free from the restrictions of time and space in conducting learning. Collection and organization of teaching content, however, still relies on individual teachers. MOOCs, SPOCs and the use of social networking software/applications belong to this category (see for example Blasco, 2016; Kim, 2017; Wang et al., 2017; Zhang & Tao, 2017). The second kind involves the application of corpora and all kinds of online learning recourses/mobile apps. This approach, taking advantage of computer technologies in data retrieval and sorting, excels in providing learners with abundant and targeted learning materials (Zanettin et al., 2003; Olohan, 2004; Wang & Qin, 2015; Zhu & Chen, 2015; Hu, 2016). Hence, it is highly effective in teaching specific language usage and linguistic features (See e.g. Tian, 2020). The third kind has the most intense involvement of computers in its operation. Apart from constructing online platforms and employing large authentic data, this approach features a knowledge management system based on domain-specific ontology for translation and substantiated with annotated parallel texts and exercises with in-depth explanations (Mu et al., 2018).

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