May 30, 2016

Presented at the CIUTI Assembly:

Relevance of the Erasmus+ Project "TecCOMFrame" for the Translation Sector

Daniela Straub

As part of the TecCOMFrame consortium, Daniela Straub (tekom Germany) presented the Erasmus+ project to members of the CIUTI General Assembly 2016 in Trieste. The TecCOMFrame project is of high relevance for the academic training of translators.

TecComFrame presentation at CIUTI

The CIUTI General Assembly 2016 took place on May 23-24 in Trieste, Italy. CIUTI is an organization dedicated to excellence in translation and interpretation — in research as well as training. CIUTI is multinational by nature, accommodating members from all continents with different national and cultural settings.

Daniela Straub
, responsible for certification and training at tekom Germany, presented the EU-funded project "TecCOMFrame", emphasizing the relevance of the tasks in the development of information products in the source language for later translation and localization.

TecCOMFrame was initiated in September 2015. It aims to establish an appropriate academic qualification and competence framework from which standard curricula for the training in technical communication, including a curriculum for translation, will be derived.

Correlation Between Information Volume and Need for Translators and Interpreters 

The rapidly growing volume of information to be translated creates a continually increasing need for translators and interpreters. Many translators are involved in the field of technical translation, many of whom are working in the field of technical communication or in software localization.
Again, the demand determines the requirement: Technical communication is experiencing an increasing need for localization and translation services. A recent study (Schmitz and Straub, 2016) shows that in businesses, an average of 11.0 different information products were being created in 2015, which in turn were translated into an average of 12.0 different languages. In comparison, the number of languages to be translated into was still at an average of 10 languages in 2010. Observed as a percentage, at least 45% of all documentation is currently translated into more than 10 languages.

Importance of Quality in Technical Translations

How important quality is in technical translations has been shown in a study on problems from a consumer perspective and approaches to improve technical instructions (conducted by tekom on behalf of the DIN Consumer Council). The result of this study: Bad translations and incorrect terminology are the main causes of communication problems or errors in technical documentation (Fritz and Straub, 2009).

Quality plays a central role in the purchasing of translation services, according to a further study led by tekom on the purchase of translation services in 2012: Translation services are a cost driver in the development of technical communication, but the focus is still on translation quality: A clear majority, 80%, indicates that the goal in the allocation of translation services is to maximize quality.

Content Output and Translation Input

The relationships between content output and translation input illustrate the interfaces between content creation in a source language and its translation into a target language. These are the decisive control levers for the subsequent translation services. It is not merely the linguistic quality of content in the source language that factors into the translation.
How efficient, effective and with what quality level a translation can be done in a target language is often determined before the creation or finalization of the content in the source language. But what are the control levers for translation quality and efficiency in the content creation process in the source language?
Sharing knowledge on the content creation process is especially relevant because, irrespective of the way in which the workflow of source content creation and translation and localization processes is organized, both translation and localization professionals typically use the output of the content creation process as an input for their own processes.

Transferring and Sharing Knowledge Between Technical Documentation and Translation via "TecCOMFrame"

To help meet the above-mentioned competence needs, the EU-funded follow-up project, "TecCOMFrame", was initiated last year. One curriculum will be for academic training measures for translators and localizers in technical communication specifically, which enables the transfer of knowledge between technical documentation and translation.  
The framework and prototype curricula will be a major contribution to any higher education institute planning to integrate a study program or specialization courses in technical communication. Whereas the demand for formally trained technical writers is high, at present only some European universities offer programs in technical communication. Given that, throughout Europe, a discrepancy has been found between the number of students graduating in technical communication and the number of open positions in the field of technical communication, the project will facilitate employment and job mobility, as students from related studies can be employed more easily with a specialization in technical communication.