Today we look at the south, more specifically at the Istanbul 29 Mayis University, which is located in the largest city of Turkey: Istanbul. Işın Öner has worked there for several years as a professor in the translation department and is involved in the work of the Association for Technical Communication in Turkey (tekom Türkiye).
She can explain why technical communication is one of the basic courses in translation studies there. Furthermore, we will publish some of tekom Türkiye’s exploratory work on technical writing in the next few weeks.
Guest Author Işın Öner
Technical writers aim to organize and produce technical information that accompanies the product at hand in such a way that the information meets the basic expectations of the users from an instructions-for-use perspective. It is hard to generalize about how these instructions are prepared and to what extent they meet the expectations for audiences in different situations and countries. Although the general tendency seems similar, especially in an era when importance is placed on quality standards, research on such instructions may still reveal the contrary.
The reason for differences in approach that reflect on the differences in the product obtained, i.e. instructions for use, is at least twofold:
- one draws from differences in the audience addressed and the culture where the product is used, and
- the other draws from the versatile use of discourse in technical documentation.
While at first glance we would correctly think it is the informative function, i.e. the expository and the descriptive, that is fulfilled in a technical document, close scrutiny into the documentation proves that expressive function, i.e. narrative, convincing, and persuasive functions, is also at work in instructions for use.
It is this very nature of technical documentation that makes it worth studying as one of the basic courses at translation studies departments.
Are there events in Europe that consider and discuss the similarities of Translation and TechComm?
Yes there are … for example the ‘Bridging the Gap between TC and Translation’ Workshop last year.
It was the first joint workshop by TecCOMFrame / tekom Europe / EMT / LindWeb, “Translating Europe”, which took place at the tcworld conference, provided proof of the necessity of common understanding and learning methods shared by translators/localizers and technical communicators. The main points focused on how to integrate technical communication into study programs for translation and options for joining forces in technical communication and translator training.
As tekom Türkiye,
we started technical writing courses at undergraduate and graduate levels at the Istanbul 29 Mayıs University Translation Studies Department. These courses serve different purposes depending on the level:
- While at the undergraduate level, the basic aim is to create an awareness of the characteristics of technical writing texts,
- the graduate level courses are more geared towards doing exploratory work in technical writing, such as
(i) preparation of material,
(ii) preparation of course programs and
(iii) preparation of syllabi to be used at vocational translation programs or undergraduate level translation studies programs in Turkey.
I hope such endeavors not only raise awareness of translators and young researchers-to-be as to the importance of the discipline, but also train future technical writers and translators of technical documentation.
I am personally witnessing an ongoing interplay of competences and skills between those necessary for technical writers AND translators.
This month we want to contribute to Intelligent Information with two samples from the coursework that were carried out by Alper Zafer Güneş and Kerem Geçmen, PhD students at the Istanbul 29 Mayıs University. In his research titled “Factoring in Culture in Technical Communication”, Güneş gives the guidelines of an exercise he prepared for a 3-hour coursework for undergraduate students, while Geçmen, in his paper titled “Developing Audience Awareness in Technical Writer Training Through Games”, will summarize an activity that can be used as a training tool for younger students in particular dealing with technical writing.
We will post both articles in the next weeks.. keep watching and feel free to enter a comment and share your experiences on translation studies in your country.
About the Author:
Işın Öner is a founding member of tekom Türkiye and tekom Europe. She is professor of Translation Studies Istanbul 29 Mayis University and the president of Diye Global Communications.
Türkiye’s exploratory work on technical writing:
- Introduction: Why Technical Writing is One of the Basic Courses in Translation Studies by Işın Öner
- Factoring in Culture in Technical Communication by Alper Zafer Güneş
- Developing Audience Awareness in Technical Writer Training Through Games by Kerem Geçmen
- Information about tekom Türkiye